Visiting 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 in Fort Street 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.
If you are feeling bit more adventurous, take a day trip over to Auckland’s iconic Rangitoto Island. New Zealand’s youngest volcano offers incredible 360-degree views. Walk the one-hour summit track through forest and lava fields while taking in natures beauty. Or if you have little ones in tow, hop on the guided 4WD road train to the top.
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 food court.
This re-energised space provides something for the whole family. Filled will salvaged materials, a basketball court and a great sand floor, the kids will love the funky maritime-themed play space. Or feed the family by dining at one of the many sea-side restaurants or grab a budget kiwi bite from the local Auckland Fish Market.
On summer weekends, Silo Park is bustling at night with its outdoor cinema (a must-do experience in Auckland). The night markets are filled with an array of nibbles for the kids, along with cool vintage clothing and contemporary art from local Aucklanders - a great pit stop on route to the outdoor cinemas.
Western Springs Park
With Auckland Zoo and the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) as it's neighbour. Western Springs is the ideal place to unwind after an eventful day and treat the family to a picnic or stroll the lawns to its popular playground. Also do not forget to visit the famous swans and ducks that roam the open lawns and call the lake-side home.
After your stroll through western springs, it would be rude not to visit Auckland’s premier zoo. With everything from brown kiwis to elephants to the fur seal, this sanctuary has the largest number of native and exotic animals in New Zealand.
The zoo cares for their animals and is sprawled across 17 hectares of parkland - providing plenty of space for the animals to roam.
Auckland Zoo is the best place to spot our local and famous flightless bird, the Kiwi. A proud supporter of the Department of Conservations Kiwi recovery programme - Operation Nest Egg. Witness the programme in full operation as rescued eggs from the endangered brown kiwi are able to hatch and grow in a predator free environment. Once they have grown and are strong enough they are released back into the wild.
Every visit helps secure a future for wildlife in the zoo, New Zealand and abroad.
Explore the grounds with your family between 9:30am - 5:30pm daily but a quick warning - admissions stop after 4:15pm. Ticket prices cost $24 for adults and $13 for children aged 4 - 14. A perfect day out for those families with a keen eye for wildlife.
City Swimming Pools
The Tepid Baths - 100 Customs Street West
An iconic part of Auckland history, ‘The Teps’ proudly stand after a refurbishment in 2012. A design that pays tribute to its 100 year history, also boosts a sleek, modern flare. Being an upmarket affair, it is probably not the best spot for young kids.
The Parnell Baths - 25 Judges Bay Road
The Parnell Baths have been enjoyed for over 100 years. The largest of the pools being 60metres makes it the largest saltwater pool in the country. A great day out for the kids with colourful water equipment in the interactive aqua playground or tackle the 60metre pool for those more confident.
Still looking for ideas? Contact us for a custom private tour covering all the things kids love. An ice cream stop, tree-climbing, bookstores or water features - the choice is yours! Or check out specialist website Auckland for Kids or send us an email with questions.