Family friendly activities in the North Island

Whether it's during school holidays or a long weekend away, there's fun for the whole family.

Get inspired for your next family holiday and check out some popular family-friendly activities around the North Island.




An urban environment with plenty to do for kids of all ages.


  • Unleash the creativity at Weta Workshop
  • Stop by Giapo for ice cream
  • Meet wild marine animals

Top 10 things to do in Auckland

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Visit the Sky Tower and travel 328 metres up in glass-fronted lifts to the spectacular viewing platforms. Family members who are 10 years or over might like to do a Sky walk or Sky jump! If you’re after something a little closer to the ground, visit the Weta Workshop Unleashed and unleash the family’s creativity or learn all about what it’s like to be an All Black at the All Blacks Experience.

Check out the Auckland Zoo, where there are daily zoo encounters presented by informative zookeepers. Or get up close and personal with the underwater world at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s.

Hamilton and Waikato region



A magical region to play, connect and relax.


  • Explore the Hamilton Gardens
  • Admire glowworms
  • Wander through ancient native forest

Discover top 10 things to do in Waikato

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Take the family out and discover the animal kingdom at Hamilton Zoo, or wander through ancient native forest at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, or even meet a kiwi bird at Ōtorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park!

Make the most of the outdoors with all the attractions and places to explore around Waikato. Visit the Waitomo Caves, wander the Hamilton Gardens(opens in new window), or take the bicycles and cruise along one of Waikato’s many cycling trails.

Of course, no trip to the Waikato is complete without taking a stroll through the Shire™! Book a Hobbiton Movie Set™ tour and learn all about the movie-making magic behind one of the world’s biggest trilogies of movies.




A place where the passion of its people fuels its natural wairua (spirit).


  • Zoom down the Skyline luge
  • Zipline through a 119-year-old forest
  • Feel the warm embrace of Māori culture

Experience a farm tour where you can get up close and pet and hand-feed sheep, deer, cows and llamas at Rotorua Heritage Farm(opens in new window). Catch the gondola to the top of Mount Ngongotahā. Luge down the side of the mountain on the purpose-built tracks or scream your heart out on the Sky Swing.

Whakarewarewa Forest is a gem to explore, whether on foot or by bike. There are easy grade walks suitable for families and 14 beginner grade mountain bike trails. Rafting on the lower Rangitaiki River is available to families with children as young as five.




The heart of Aotearoa with extraordinary natural beauty and wonder.


  • Bee a beekeeper at Huka Honey Hive
  • Cruise on Lake Taupō
  • Cycle through Craters Mountain Bike Park

Top 10 things to do in Taupō

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Take in the fresh air on one of the many cycling and walking trails around Taupō. Learn something new by joining a tour at Huka Prawn Park or at Huka Honey Hive.

Enjoy one of the many water activities in the area, such as going on a thrilling jet boat ride with Hukafalls Jet or Rapids Jet, or take the family out on a cruisy boat trip on the beautiful Lake Taupō and see the rock carvings at Mine Bay.

During the winter holidays, take the kids up to Whakapapa Ski area and learn to ski at Happy Valley. Or soak in the hot springs at Taupō DeBretts Spa Resort.




Enjoy the greater outdoors with the whole family.


  • Visit Ohakune Carrot Adventure Park
  • Experience the thrill of quad biking
  • Enjoy the Whakapapa ski fields in winter

Top 10 things to do in Ruapehu

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Far from crowds and big cities, Ruapehu is the perfect destination for year-round family fun and your gateway to our greater outdoors in the central North Island. A natural wonderland filled with enchanting waterfalls, dramatic landscapes, and geological wonders to explore by walking, biking, or hiking.

A top family-friendly must-do in Ruapehu is a journey into the clouds on the Sky Waka Gondola ride – NZ’s most advanced gondola ride that takes you through the spectacular landscape of Tongariro National Park and up to New Zealand’s highest café for some delicious treats and dining.

Enjoy everything mountainside from horse treks to off-road buggy and quad adventure rides to a range of water activities on the mystical Whanganui River by kayak, canoe, or jet boat.




A little city with a big heart.


  • Visit ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary
  • Spend the day at Te Papa
  • Learn about movie-making magic

Top 10 thing to do in Wellington

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When in Wellington, you’ve got to make the most of the vibrant arts and culture scene. The capital is home to our national museum, Te Papa, with exhibits to keep you and the family engrossed for hours, and there are numerous other galleries and museums around the city.

Interested in wildlife? You can’t go past ZEALANDIA, which is home to some of New Zealand's rarest wildlife including kiwi and tuatara. There’s also Wellington Zoo - New Zealand's oldest zoological park – and Kāpiti Island Nature Reserve on an island off the coast.

Be sure to fit in a trip up the historic cable car from downtown to the Botanic Garden, too – the views are the top are magnificent, but the ride is half the fun. 

Popular family-friendly activities in the North Island

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