Visting Auckland with kids?
If you’re coming to Auckland with your family then we’re the best place to start. Our Hello Auckland tour reveals the legends of Auckland, the local laneways, the kid-friendly parks and we only walk in small-groups at a relaxed pace. We’ve shown heaps of kids around town on our boredom-free, laugh-filled tours and always provide local advice on what to do next.
We’re parents too so here’s a handful of other suggestions, both free and paid, which we as Aucklanders enjoy doing with our children.
Disclaimer: The author is not responsible for any whinging of “I’m bored” or “can we go now?” at any of the following activities.
Picnic in Myers Park. Auckland’s CBD, access off 381 Queen Street.
If Charlie and the Chocolate Factory had a playground it would look like this. Nestled in the green valley of Myers Park, this recently upgraded funky-coloured kids’ space features fantail sculptures, climbing frames and a giant swing. Hard to believe it’s in the heart of Auckland’s business district. Avoid park during lunch hour if you want the place to yourself as the nearby school uses it on sunny days and you’ll have to stand in line for a swing. Grab a pizza or kebabs from Queen Street and picnic in the park while the kids play.
With lunchtime queues out the door this Kiwi burger joint, with outlets in both Fort Street and Federal Lane, is really popular with the locals. Its Big Bird Burger is not made out of the long-extinct Moa bird, but delicious grilled chicken breast, salad, bacon, brie cheese with aioli and lashings of apricot or cranberry sauce. What’s more the adults can choose from a range of New Zealand beers, something refreshingly different and more wholesome than the Golden Arches.
The Escape Masters
Wet day in Auckland? No problemo. Unless you get into a heated argument over indeciperable clues with your teenager. The Escape Masters in Queen Street offers a range of fun-themed cells like the Gangsters or Alien Abduction rooms to break out of. In order to ‘escape’, you are required to problem solve and crack a series of puzzles as well as logical mind games while utilizing a wide array of technology to decipher codes and locks, all the while racing against the clock! Whew, who knew family game time could be so challenging?
The Volcano House at the Auckland Museum
If your kids are interested in volcanoes, shakes and quakes then head for the excellent volcano exhibit at the Auckland Museum. Sit in the living room of a purpose- built house as a TV newsreader reports the imminent build-up to a volcanic eruption. Watch the action unfold across the harbour as the ash and debris heads towards your home. Feel the impact of the earth shaking. This simulation will captivate budding geologists and anyone interested in New Zealand’s unique geology.
Fishing under the Harbour Bridge
To view fish, penguins and sharks in spectacular underwater viewing tanks, you could visit Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium along the waterfront, east of the city. Or you could head 10 minutes west, pick up a couple of cheap handlines and bait at a local marine store and try catching a fish or two for yourself. Park up under the Harbour Bridge alongside the local recreational fisherman and cast a line while admiring the channel views and listening to the terrified yells of the Bridge bungy jumpers. And yes, there’s a good chance you’ll catch a good-sized keeper, although it needs to be longer than 27cm under New Zealand fishing regulations.
Auckland’s not known for its theme parks, but Rainbows End is popular with families and kids aged under 15. Based down the Southern Motorway, you can race, swoop, crash and splash on rides like the Log Fume, Stratosphere and the Corkscrew Coaster. Afterwards If your stomach can handle it, pop across the road to the Manukau mall to eat at the local foodcourt.