Top 10 family friendly activities in New Zealand

Experience the best of New Zealand during weekends and school holidays with a wide selection of activities for kids.

Choose from unforgettable wildlife experiences, interactive cultural activities or thrill-seeking adventures. Here are the top 10 things to do in New Zealand with your family.

1. Learn about ‘the story that started it all’ at Manea Footprints of Kupe

Reconnect the family with Aotearoa's history and visit Manea Footprints of Kupe, an interactive cultural and heritage centre telling New Zealand’s first story - the story of Kupe, New Zealand’s first explorer. Learn about the beginnings of Māori nationhood, the story of Kupe’s voyage and the national significance it holds.

2. Zipline through an untouched native forest with Rotorua Canopy Tours

Take the family out for a day of adrenalin and fun with Rotorua Canopy Tours. Offering a range of packages, this unique eco-experience has highly trained guides that take you through swing bridges, get you up close and personal with rare native birds and show you first-hand the positive impact of their conservation efforts. It’s an exciting and rewarding experience the kids won’t forget.

3. Unleash the family’s creativity at Wētā Workshop Unleashed

Found in the heart of Auckland city, Wētā Workshop Unleashed offers a fantastical film FX experience that’s fun for the whole family. Their guided experience takes you through an imaginative world full of creatures, castles and creative activities. Part film set, part creative workshop, this unique activity lets you dabble in robotics, create sculptures, and even get close to a giant galactic robot!

4. Explore ZEALANDIA, an ecosanctuary filled with extraordinary wildlife

Venture into New Zealand’s wildlife at ZEALANDIA Ecosanctuary, set in a picturesque reservoir less than 10 minutes’ drive from Wellington. Try and spot some of the many native species such as the tuatara, tīeke, tūi and kākā as you wander through the sanctuary. Make the most out of your visit and book a guided tour, with tours available during the day, night or at twilight.

5. Chill out with the family and experience a slice of Antarctica

If you’re looking for a family-friendly activity that thrills, excites, educates and inspires then be sure to add the International Antarctic Centre to your list of things to do. With several different experiences, you can meet penguins, ride a Hägglund, brave an arctic storm and walk through decades of history in the Antarctic gallery, it’s sure to be a hit for the whole family!

6. Create memorable animal encounters at Orana Wildlife Park

Explore the country’s only open-range zoo at Orana Wildlife Park, which is only 15 minutes’ drive from Christchurch airport. Hand-feed majestic giraffes, get up close to gorillas, meet some meerkats or if the family’s feeling a little bit more adventurous, travel through the Lion Reserve. Take your kids on a wildlife adventure and your kids may even see their favourite animal in real life!

7. Go on an adventure and visit Middle‑earth™

Discover the enchanting world of Hobbiton™ with a Hobbiton™ Movie Set tour. As you are guided through the lush pastures of the Shire™, learn how the movie magic was made as your guide explains filming techniques and the intricate detail put behind building the set. Challenge the kids and see if they can spot any hobbits or see how many Hobbit Holes™ they can count!

8. Bee a beekeeper at Huka Honey Hive

Delve into the world of bees, see them up close and watch them as they work at Huka Honey Hive. The Honey Shack beekeeping tour offers an exciting guided experience through the gardens and the beehives. Zip into a bee suit, meet the bees, learn how honey is made and discover the importance of bees in the ecosystem. This fun and educational experience is a must-do for the family and will keep the kids buzzing for days.

9. Meet photogenic alpacas

Just about an hour's drive from Christchurch, you can find Shamarra Alpacas, home to over 170 alpacas. Guided farm tours are available throughout the day where you can more learn about these inquisitive animals and their quirky habits. Be sure to grab some home-baked biscuits and check out the Alpaca shop which offers a range of natural 100% dye-free alpaca knitwear. Make it a family day out and head over to Akaroa and explore the rest of the Banks Peninsula.

10. Visit the wonderful, weird and bizarre Puzzling World

From Roman toilets, Illusion rooms, to the Great Maze, Wanaka’s Puzzling World is sure to confuse, impress and entertain the whole family. Explore the Sculptillusion gallery that’s filled with architectural trickery and local artistic talent or spend time at the unique café and try out dozens of puzzles and brain teasers. Rain or shine, it’s an easy and fun way to spend the afternoon with the kids.

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