A change of season means the end of hibernation. Gretchen Carroll sends us outside to explore. A day in nature is a cheap, easy and enjoyable way to spark kids’ imaginations, and can do wonders for parents’ wellbeing too! Getting into the outdoors …
Top 5 spots for outdoor family fun
Here are our picks for the top activities for outdoor family fun in New Zealand's main centres.
Parnell Baths A saltwater pool with a strong heritage on a historic site. It includes a toddler pool and interactive aqua playground.
Pt Erin Pool is a historic site that features a 33m pool, hydroslides, family spa and playground.
Manukau Live Steamers in Mangere, featuring miniature trains
Auckland Dockline Tram is a central city ride that starts at the Wynyard Quarter
Glenbrook Vintage Railway Take a trip back in time to when steam power ruled the rails! Based in Waiuku, the GVR features steam locomotives. Look out for Thomas the Tank Engine days out held regularly throughout the year.
3 Farm Parks
Ambury Farm Park, Mangere Bridge is a working farm that gives the kids plenty of opportunity to watch and feed the animals.
Kiwi Valley Farm Park offers feeding and petting of animals, pony rides, tractor rides, a maze, and has picnic facilities.
4 Take a Fullers Ferry over the water to Devonport. There's a playground five minutes from the ferry terminal and plenty of cafes or picnic spots for lunch. Check outt he naval museum, or walk up one of the volcanic cones for great views.
5 Butterfly Creek is just a stone's throw from Auckland Airport. There are not just butterflies here, but crocodiles, tarantulas and many other critters.
1 The Wellington Cable Car is a perennial favourite, starting at Lambton Quay.
2 Botanic Gardens The children's play area features a rocktopus and a flying fox, plus a toddlers' play area. See glow worm caves, follow nature trails and opening in 2017, a fantastic hands-on Children's Garden.
3 ZEALANDIA: An award-winning eco-attraction, featuring rare and extraordinary wildlife, and offering day and nighttime tours.
4 Wellington Zoo: Celebrate Children's Day at the zoo on 4 March.
5 Lindale Farm Head to this beautiful spot in Paraparaumu for a farm experience plus an indoor market, museum and more.
1 International Antarctic Centre See the penguins and brave an Antarctic Storm, every day at 9.30am.
2 Christchurch Botanic Gardens offers beautiful walks and picnic spots, plus a children's play area and paddling pool. which is open throughout summer.
3 New Brighton Pier: Attractions include the beach, bird-watching, a cafe and a community market on the first Saturday of the month. Earthquake repairs may limit some activities.
4 Willowbank Wildlife Reserve Experience New Zealand's endangered wildlife in a natural setting. Willowbank offers the chance to see and experience traditional Maori culture, nocturnal kiwi viewing (with no glass), and a host of native and exotic wildlife.
5 Punting on the Avon Summer or winter, glide along the tranquil Avon River in Christchurch, as a skilled punter (in traditional Edwardian attire) propels you slowly along the water.
Kids burn up a lot of energy, especially when they are out and about. Avoid lunchbox fatigue and ‘hangry’ meltdowns with these menu suggestions for dining on the run. 🥝 Make it colourfulPack snacks in an array of colours for maximum nutritional …
Alice Cranfield explores activity options for busy toddlers who are raring to get out and about! One day you’ll wake up to see that the face of your gorgeous wee baby has changed. A new face now looks at you –its shape has taken on more definition …
Clever new products and high-energy snacks take food-on-the-fly to new heights. Yumbox original BENTO lunchbox $44.95, thesleepstore.co.nz This clever lunchbox has six leak-proof compartments that can even seal in wet foods like yoghurt. …
Toddlers are masters of discovery. Every day they’re soaking up new experiences and on the look out for more. So, what better way to satisfy that urge than by absorbing the wonders of Taranaki’s three-day festival WOMAD? Sarah Bunker explains. The …
Kids and snow — sounds good in theory, but without preparation your enthusiasm could melt faster than a snowman in December. Take heed of these tips from Nicole Wyllie, mum of four seasoned young snow bunnies. What to wear • Polypropylene and …
Looking for a holiday destination that can keep the whole family active and entertained? Julia Wong suggests Rotorua may be the ticket. Being the home bodies we are, hubby Matt and I rarely venture out of Auckland with our two young children …
Escape for a mid-winter family break in New Zealand's own snow capital. Queenstown is the idyllic South Island winter holiday destination, with so much to do out-of-doors - walks, jet boating, skiing, and four-wheel driving. If you've been to …