10 Things to Do in Whangarei with Kids© Northland Inc
10 Things to Do in Whangarei with Kids

15 Things to Do in Whangarei with Kids [2024]

© Northland Inc
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
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Family Activities in Whangarei

New Zealand‘s northernmost city is more than just a quick escape from Auckland. Whangarei is the ideal family getaway thanks to its mix of adventure, educational, outdoor, indoor and free activities! From nature parks with kiwi birds to whimsical art galleries, there’s plenty to stimulate even the fussiest kids in and around the city of Whangarei. Check out some of the highlights of Whangarei’s family activities with this list of things to do in Whangarei with kids!

1. Cruise and Snorkel at the Poor Knights Islands

For the active family, one of the highlights in the Whangarei area is the Poor Knights Islands. This collection of 11 million-year-old islands harbours an array of wildlife both above and below the water’s surface. Join one of the dive operators in Tutukaka for a family-friendly cruise through the islands’ arches and giant sea caves formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago. Scuba diving, of course, is an option for the adults, but with snorkelling gear, kayaks and/or SUP boards also included in the trips, the whole family can enjoy these islands and their vibrant marine life. Dive! Tutukaka, Fish Tutukaka and Perfect Day offer trips for families.

Location: Tutukaka, approximately 28 km (17 mi) from Whangarei city centre.

10 Things to Do in Whangarei with Kids© NZPocketGuide.com

2. See Kiwi Birds at Kiwi North

What child doesn’t adore birds and animals? Kiwi North, Museum & Heritage Park offers viewings of kiwi birds in a special nocturnal kiwi house, the “living dinosaur” the tuatara, and geckos usually creeping up on unsuspecting flies. The complex also has a small indoor museum, as well as an outdoor heritage park, so you and your family can spend hours learning more about the local history.

Location: 500 State Highway 14, Maunu, approximately 6 km (4 mi) from Whangarei city centre.

10 Things to Do in Whangarei with Kids© NZPocketGuide.com

3. Get in Some Family Beach Time at Ruakaka Beach

You can find fantastic beaches in all directions from Whangarei, many of which are situated down the Whangarei Heads Road. However, if you venture south on State Highway 1, you’ll find the stunning 13 km (8-mi) long Ruakaka Beach and its quaint seaside village. The expanse of sand and shells features amazing views of the Whangarei Heads in the distance, which you can enjoy along with safe swimming thanks to the surfguard patrols in summer. See more beaches in the area in the 10 Best Beaches in Whangarei.

Location: Ruakaka Beach Road, approximately 30 km (19 mi) from Whangarei city centre.

10 Things to Do in Whangarei with Kids© Pxhere

4. Admire Whangarei Falls

Waterfalls are always a hit with kids and adults alike, and the 26 m (85 ft) Whangarei Falls is arguably one of the most memorable waterfalls on the North Island. Just 5 km (3 mi) from the city centre, the Whangarei Falls Walk has viewpoints from the top, side and the base of its plunge pool. You can extend your walk further along a flat forested riverside trail that’s suitable for strollers. Check out the 10 Best Walks in Whangarei for more information.

Location: Ngunguru Road, Tikipunga, approximately 5 km (3 mi) from Whangarei city centre.

10 Things to Do in Whangarei with Kids© NZPocketGuide.com

5. Let the Kids Loose at the Quarry Gardens

Quality outdoor time is what the Whangarei Quarry Gardens are all about! This old quarry-turned-sub-tropical oasis features an array of tropical plantlife, many of which are seen nowhere else in New Zealand, while the short walks here are suitable for strollers. A trip is not complete without a coffee at the cafe and a browse in the art gallery. Check out more free activities like this in the 20 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Whangarei.

Location: 37A Russell Road, Kensington, Whangarei, approximately 4 km (2 mi) from Whangarei city centre just off State Highway 1.

10 Things to Do in Whangarei with Kids© NZPocketGuide.com

6. Enjoy a Scenic Horse Trek

Take in the amazing coastal scenery and rolling farmlands of Whangarei and Whangarei Heads with one of Whangarei’s horse riding tours. Tours such as Tuidale Stables, Sandy Bay Glamping & Horse Tours and Coastal Riding Whangarei Heads offer short trips for first-time riders. These trips are best suited to children ages eight and over. See how these tours compare to the 10 Best Horse Riding Tours in New Zealand.

Location: Tuidale Stables – 51 Uretiti Road, Waipu. Sandy Bay Glamping & Horse Tours – 5 Mcauslin Road, Sandy Bay. Coastal Riding Whangarei Heads – 47 Harambee Road, Taiharuru.

10 Things to Do in Whangarei with Kids© NZPocketGuide.com

7. See Giant Kauri Trees at the AH Reed Kauri Park

You can’t visit Whangarei and the Northland region without admiring the largest trees in New Zealand! Kauri can only be naturally found in the north of the North Island, where the AH Reed Kauri Park allows you and your family to get up close to the giants of the forest. The treetop boardwalk takes only 25 minutes to complete, making it an easy one to tackle with the little ones. Learn more about this walk and others nearby the city in the 10 Best Walks in Whangarei.

Location: Whareora Road, Tikipunga, approximately 4 km (2 mi) from Whangarei city centre.

10 Things to Do in Whangarei with Kids© Northland Inc

8. Ride on “Monster Scooters” at Heads Up Adventures

More outdoor adventures await at this unique attraction along the Whangarei Heads Road. Heads Up Adventures is a mountain bike and monster scooter trail park with fun tracks to navigate the native bush with mountainous scenery. While older kids can enjoy the trails by bike, younger kids – even toddlers – will have a blast on the motorised “Monster Scooters”. For more adventures along the Whangarei Heads Road, check out the 15 Best Things to Do at Whangarei Heads.

Location: 189 Whangarei Heads Road RD4, Onerahi, approximately 11 km (7 mi) from Whangarei city centre.

10 Things to Do in Whangarei with Kids© NZPocketGuide.com

9. Be Intrigued By the Claphams Clocks Museum

Why do clocks tick? Why are there 24 hours in a day? Why do clocks go “clockwise”? How do cuckoo clocks “cuckoo”? You won’t know how much there is to learn about clocks and timepieces until you visit Claphams National Clock Museum. And with some hilarious and quirky pieces in the collection, kids will also be delighted and intrigued. Plus, at admission under NZ$5 for children, it’s too affordable not to take a look! For more like this, check out the 20 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Whangarei.

Location: 95 Dent Street, Quay Side, Town Basin, Whangarei city centre.

10 Things to Do in Whangarei with Kids© Samuel Mann on Flickr

10. Play Glow-in-the-Dark Mini Golf

A rainy day saviour or just a fun way to unwind at the end of the day, Extreme Mini Golf is a popular choice for families. The 16-hole glow-in-the-dark mini-golf course has you swinging in glowworm caves, ancient ruins and many more surprises.

Location: 2 Reyburn Street, Whangarei city centre.

10 Things to Do in Whangarei with Kids© NZPocketGuide.com

5 More Things to Do in Whangarei with Kids

And for all those honourable mentions, here are some more things to do in Whangarei with kids:

  1. Hātea Loop Walkway – Walk or cycle between sculptures, playgrounds, art galleries and more along this 4.2 km (2.6 mi)
  2. Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau Māori Art Gallery – Enjoy the whimsical art at this vibrant gallery in the Town Basin
  3. Town Basin Playground – Whangarei’s city centre and premier children’s playground – Town Basin
  4. Sprat Fishing – Pick up a handline from one of the harbourside stores and drop a line from the inner harbour jetties at Onerahi, Urquharts Bay or McLeod Bay
  5. Treat Them to an Ice Cream – At Bocky Boo (71 Cameron Street) or New Zealand Fudge Farm (Town Basin).

For more ideas, also check out the 20 Best Things to Do in Whangarei.

More About Whangarei

That’s it for our list of the best things to do in Whangarei with kids. For more travel advice, don’t forget to scroll through The Guide to Whangarei for Families. Otherwise, here are more helpful guides:

Finally, plan the rest of your adventure around the North Island with our North Island Family Itinerary: 1 Week and North Island Family Itinerary: 2 Weeks.


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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