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Best things to do in the Summer school holidays

Best things to do in the Summer school holidays 2019

Our pick of the best events on in the January 2019 school holidays for children and families in Auckland, New Zealand


Take the kids for a swim this summer at one of Auckland's outdoor pools

Auckland Outdoor Pools
Find your local outdoor pool here

Aucklanders aged 16 years and under have FREE access to all council-operated pools across the region during standard operating hours too. ​

Unicorn at Butterfly Creek in Auckland, New Zealand

Visit the new Mythical Creatures at Butterfly Creek

Butterfly Creek, 10 Tom Pearce Drive, Auckland Airport, Auckland
Opens on Tuesday 1 January 2019

​See the world’s most fantastical legends come to life including Dragons, Unicorns, Serpents, Aliens, Mermaids, the mythical Kraken and more. Many of the creatures will be life-sized & some will even move & make sounds!

Cost:  Mythic Creatures will be included in the All Attractions pass.

Fun Fest Rides

Take the family on the free rides at Funfest 2019

Vodafone Events Centre, 770 Great South Road, Manukau
Thursday 10 to Sunday 13 January 2019: 9:00am to 5:00pm daily

Free Parking, Free entry, Free rides and Free stage prizes at Auckland’s biggest free family event.

Cost: FREE

waterslide mania at snow planet

Ride the pop-up waterslides at Snowplanet

Snowplanet, 91 Small Road, Silverdale, Auckland
Thursday 17 January to Tuesday 29 January 2019: 2 hour sessions starting at 10:00am, 12:00pm and 2:00pm

The Wild Water Slides are a pop-up waterslide park with 5 slides: King Cobra (60m), Two Downhill Dragsters (80m), Mega Mountain (20m) and Lightning Luge (16m).

Cost: Children $20; Adults $10 for a 2 hour session.


Pick your own strawberries

Take the family for a day out at one of the BEST places to go strawberry picking in Auckland.

Gardeners of the Galaxy at Auckland Botanic Gardens

Have fun at Gardeners of the Galaxy at Auckland Botanic Gardens

Auckland Botanic Gardens, Auckland

Find out how plants are essential for life in space this summer at the gardens. Start your space mission at our Visitor Centre – pick up a Mission Sheet for kids, visit our crash-landed rocket and take an astronaut selfie! Visit the Science Lab to check out the experiments and live plants being grown. Play fun games in our kids International Space Station and get creative with the Future Plants colouring wall. Head outside to try hands-on rocket power activities with MOTAT and take our Solar System Walk. ​

Cost: FREE

Chelsea Sugar Factory in Auckland, NZ

Visit the iconic Chelsea Sugar factory

Chelsea Sugar Factory, Birkenhead, Auckland
Monday 7 January 2019 onwards

Visit the Chelsea Sugar Factory. Take a tour of the factory bookings recommended, play a virtual baking game in the interactive zone and relax in the cafe afterwards while the kids play on the playground.

Dare to Explore at Auckland Library

Dare to explore holiday activities at Auckland Libraries

Local Auckland libraries

Sign up for Auckland Libraries’ FREE summer reading programmed for children aged 5 to 13. Go to a Dare to Explore activity in the holidays. To see what’s on at your local library click here

Cost: FREE

Dinosaurs at Dusk at Stardome

Explore the deadly rock that caused the dinosaurs last day on Earth at Stardome

Stardome, Auckland
Monday 14 to Friday 18 January 2019: 10am, Noon and 1pm sessions
Monday 21 to Friday 25 January 2019: 10am, Noon and 1pm sessions

​RAWWWR! How did the dinosaurs die? BOOM! CRASH! A giant rock from space! Start in the Space Room and have fun with interactive activities and crafts. Create dino origami, learn about the deadly rock from space, play with dino robots, catch a glimpse of a dino through virtual reality and more! Then, head outside and take part in the popular water-powered rocket launching. Finish your dinosaur discovery in the planetarium dome theatre and see 360-degree show Dinosaurs at Dusk.

Sherwood Reserve Playground in Browns Bay, Auckland, NZ

Go on an Auckland park crawl

​Auckland Playgrounds

Take the kids out for a day to visit some of Auckland’s best parks and playgrounds that they have never been to before. 

You could try one of the  Top 10 Auckland playgrounds or one of Auckland’s fenced playgrounds.

​Cost: FREE (well apart from your petrol to get there)


Hunt for Butterfly Eggs at Auckland Museum

Auckland Museum, The Auckland Domain, Parnell, Auckland
Friday 21 December 2018 to Monday 4 February 2019: 1000am to 5:00pm

Despite their virtual nature, it seems the butterflies from The Secret Life of Butterflies have been laying eggs around the Auckland Museum. Find them all before they start to hatch and eat the objects! Follow the clues and find out how many there to be humanely transported  to the nearest swan plant. Pick up a trail from the information desks. 

Cost: FREE for Aucklanders

Ted Ashby at NZ Maritime Museum

Go sailing on the Ted Ashby at the NZ Maritime Museum

NZ Maritime Museum, Corner Quay and Hobson Street, Viaduct Harbour
Sailings are on Tuesdays to Sundays at 11:30am and 1:30pm

Ted Ashby is a ketch-rigged deck scow, typical of the fleet of scows that once operated in northern New Zealand waters. You can climb aboard for a one hour experience with her knowledgeable crew. It’s a good idea to pre-book your ticket, although remaining spaces will be available for purchase from the Museum shop on the day.

Tickets: Aucklanders: Child $12; Adult $25; Family pass $50
Visitors to Auckland: Child $25; Adult $50l Family pass $95

Sounds of summer - AUCKLAND LIVE

Enjoy the FREE Sounds of Summer at Aotea Square

Aotea Square, Auckland CBD, Auckland
Saturday 19 January 2019

​Enjoy the summer of  FREE live music acts  in Aotea Square.

Cost: FREE 


Go on a family bike or scooter ride

Entry points are on Union Street or Canada Street (off Upper Queen Street) Auckland

​The Lightpath is not too long for young kids, and fine for scooters, bikes or to walk.  You will find that the fascination for the pink path, makes it all the more fun.

If you have already tried out the pink Lightpath then there are lots of other Kid Friendly Bike Rides in Auckland

Cost: FREE

1000 doors in Aotea Square

Take a journey through 1000 Doors

1000 Doors

​Aotea Square, Queen Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland
Saturday 10 January 2019 to Wednesday 6 February 2019: 10:00am to 8:00pm

From the masterminds behind the 2018 Auckland Arts Festival’s House of Mirrors comes a new invitation to lose yourself and find something else in the process. 

A door is a beginning and an end, a promise and a warning. What waits on the other side is limited only by the imagination and decided only by an action.  A seemingly endless series of doors, screens, portals and gateways give way to the many in-between spaces. Every entrance into this house of possibility will begin at the same door, but no two visitors will leave the same as they entered.

Tickets: $10 per person

Silo Park Movies

See a free outdoor movie at Silo Park

Silo Park, Corner of Jellicoe and Beaumont Street, Auckland
Fridays in January 2019

Take the older kids to one of the Friday night movies. Food and drinks start from 5pm and movies start at 9pm.

Choose from:
– The Incredibles on Friday 4 January for all ages
– Black Panther on Friday 11 January for ages 13 plus
– Isle of Dogs on Friday 18 January for ages 13 plus
-Whale Rider on Friday 25 January. (Rated PG)

Cost: FREE

Auckland for Kids visits Vector Wero

Try rafting at the Vector Wero Whitewater Park

Vector Wero Whitewater Park, 770 Great South Road, Manukau

For kids aged 8 years plus you can go rafting on the Grade 1-2 Tamariki River white water course. Your rafting guide will help you go through the gentle the dips and eddies of this 200m water course. Its perfect for beginners, kids and families.  

Cost: Rafting: $45 per child, $55 per adult; Wetsuit hire $10.
Park entry: FREE  so you can walk around and watch with family and friends.


Go to one of the FREE Music in Parks summer events for a family picnic

Music in Parks outdoor gigs

Various Auckland parks

Choose one of these FREE outdoor gigs to enjoy in the summer school holidays: 
Kids Music in Parks at Coyle Park on Saturday 19 January 2019
Music for Summer Camping at Omana Regional Park on Saturday 12 January 2019
A World Music Celebration on Sunday 13 january 2019
Jazz at Nathan Homestead on Saturday 19 January 2019
Jazz in the Auckland Domain Band Rotunda on Sunday 20 January 2019
Opera in Dingle Dell Reserve in St Heliers on Saturday 26 January 2019
New, Urban and Hip Hop at Riversdale Reserve on Sunday 27 January 2019
Local Sounds at Jellicoe Park on Monday 28 January 2019
Kiwi Gold Rock at Bledisloe Park in Pukekohe on Saturday 2 February 2019

Night Safari at Auckland Zoo

Go on a night safari at Auckland Zoo

Public safari nights at Auckland Zoo

Auckland Zoo, 99 Motions Road, Western Springs, Auckland
Saturday 19 January 2019: 4:30pm to 10:00pm

Explore the zoo after dark on a guided torch lit walk. Enjoy a barbeque dinner and if you are brave enough you can sleep over in the old elephant house too.
Minimum age 8 years. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Price: $50 per person ((includes BBQ)

Boy eating an ice cream

Visit the Ice Cream Sundae market and other free summer events at Silo Park

Summer at Silo Park

Silo Park, Corner of Jellicoe and Beaumont Street, Auckland
Saturdays in January 2019

Head down to Silo Park for games, puzzles, food trucks and FREE events from Noon to 6pm on the following Saturday and Sundays in January:
Ice Cream Sundae Market on Sunday 27 January 2019
Bubble Trouble on Saturday 5 January 2019
Cardboard City on Saturday 12 January 2019
Photo Laundry on Saturday 26 January 2019

Cost: FREE admission


Take a tour of the Pop Up Globe

Pop up Globe, 80 Ascot Avenue, Ellerslie Racecourse, Auckland

​Travel back in time to the 17th century with a special guided tour of Pop-up Globe.  This 45-minute tour will unlock the secrets of this unique performance space, explore the history of the playhouses Shakespeare wrote for, and explain the changes, modifications and innovations made over four seasons at Pop-up Globe.  Bookings are recommended.

Tickets: Children $10; Adults $15

MOTAT Above and Beyond

Discover the wonders of flight at MOTAT

Up and Away holiday experience

MOTAT, 805 Great North Road, Western Springs, Auckland
Saturday 19 January 2018 to Monday 28 January 2019: 10:00am to 4:00pm

Discover the wonders of flight this summer at the Up and Away holiday experience running in conjunction with Boeings international travelling flight exhibition, Above and Beyond.  Challenge your navigation and problem-solving skills with the Up and Away Trail, Construct and launch your own aircraft at the Blasting Off station, investigate the forces of weight, lift, and drag in the vertical air tunnel at the Flight Lab, and test the limits of your senses on the 360-rotation gyroscope.

Tickets: Under 5s are FREE; Children $10; Adults $19; Students $10; Family (2 adults and 4 children) $45