The BEST things to do in the October school holidays with kids


25 of the BEST things to do in the October School holidays 2019 in Auckland for Kids

Auckland for Kids pick of the top 25 fun things to do in the October school holidays 2019 with your kids and teens in Auckland, New Zealand.

1. Visit the Auckland Diwali Festival of Light

Auckland Queen Street and Aotea Square Shore, North Auckland
Saturday 12 October to Sunday 13 October 2019
Event info

Auckland’ s Queen Street and Aotea Square will be transformed into a colourful and mouth-watering spectacle when the 18th Auckland Diwali Festival takes place.  Kids can enjoy the bright lights, energetic dance performances, incredible Indian delicacies culminating in an incredible fireworks display on Sunday evening. This free, family-friendly event is a highlight of Auckland’s major events calendar, and one of New Zealand’s largest cultural festivals.

Cost: FREE entry

Auckland Diwali Festival
Auckland Diwali Festival

2. Take the kids to the fun FREE spring school holiday activities at the Auckland Botanic Gardens

Auckland Botanic Gardens, 102 Hill Road, Manurewa, South Auckland 

Drop in holiday activities differ each day, and include:
– Epic voyages adventure hunt sheet
– Make a calendula (marigold pot) Event info
– Make rope from cabbage tree and harakeke leaves and create your own mini raft Event info
– Create a map of a new place never discovered Event info
– Make a bird kite to fly Event info
– Epic voyages adventure hunt sheet is available to complete after each activity.

Cost: FREE

Butterfly and calendula flower
Calendula (marigold) flowers

3. Colour in the Sky at the world’s highest colouring wall up the Sky Tower

SKYCITY, Victoria Street & Federal Street, Central Auckland
October 2019 school holidays

Make your mark on the world’s highest colouring wall at the Sky Tower in the October school holidays!  Sky Tower unveils its giant 6.5-metre-long colouring wall, 186 metres above the ground. Complete with dinosaurs, animals, magical fairies, sports themes and even space aliens, this will be an exciting new fun event for the whole family. You can bring the kids for just $6 each by booking online here.

Boys up the Sky Tower overlooking Auckland City
View from the top of Sky Tower.

4. Check out the FREE Kids Japanese Festival – Hello Japan

Ellen Melville Centre, 2 Freyberg Place, Central Auckland
Thursday 3 and Friday 4 October 2019: 10:30am to 3pm each day
Event info

Explore Japanese culture at the Japanese Kids Festival.  Watch the Japanese films which will be shown in English from Studio Ghibli and Studio Chizu. Try your hand at the Yo-Yo balloon game, Japanese calligraphy and oragami. Look at the Mangas in the bilingual reading room. Watch the Taiko Drum performance and attend a mini Japanese lesson.

Cost: FREE admission

Japanese Festival
Kids Japanese Festival - Hello Japan

5. Join in the “Top Secret” FREE kids activities at your local Auckland library

Local Auckland Libraries
Central Auckland, North Auckland, South Auckland, East Auckland, West Auckland
October school holidays

Investigate mysterious events and check out intriguing reads these school holidays.  Bring in your young spies to make gadgets, delve into programming and solve all kinds of mysteries at your local library. Pick up a Top Secret Spy Handbook and the kids can carry out more spy missions at home too.

Cost: FREE holiday activities for kids at your local library.

Girl hiding behind a curtain
Top Secret

6. Teach your kids how to ride a bike

Get the kids riding bikes in the school holidays. Learning to ride a two-wheeler is one of those big childhood milestones, and being part of that experience as a parent is a thrill.  If you are wondering how to get started, come along to one of Auckland Transport’s bike events in the school holidays: 

  • Kids learn to ride in Avondale Event info

  • Kids learn to ride at Greville Reserve in Forrest Hill Event info

  • Biketober in the new space 38HURSTMERE in Takapuna  (shown in the lead image) Event info

Kids learn to ride a bike in Avondale
Parents teaching their children to ride at Avondale Learn-to-Ride Track

7. Explore the Auckland Museum at night with the kids

Auckland Museum, Park Road, Grafton, Central Auckland
Tuesday 1, Wednesday 2, Thursday 3, Sunday 6, Friday 11 and Sunday 13 October 2019: 6pm to 8:30pm
Event info

Grab a torch and join the adventurers and suffer a sailor’s life on-board, and navigate the southern oceans with Cook and company at Auckland Museum.  Discover stories and traditions of tangata whenua as encountered by that first bewildered bunch of seafarers. 

Tickets: $30 per person.

Night at the Museum 2019
Night at the Museum

8. Take the kids for a FREE swim

Auckland indoor heated pools
Central Auckland, North Auckland, South Auckland, East Auckland, West Auckland
October school holidays.  (Please check the operating hours for the pool on the day you are going.)

Enjoy visiting one of the Auckland Council operated indoor pools where children and teenagers aged 16 years or younger get to swim for FREE.

Albany Stadium Swimming Pool in Auckland, New Zealand
Albany Stadium Pool

9. Explore your way to wellbeing and learn how animals keep themselves well at Auckland Zoo

Auckland Zoo, Meola Road, Western Springs, Auckland, Central Auckland
Saturday 28 September to Sunday 13 October 2019: 9:30pm to 4:30pm each day.

These holidays, through Wildlife Wonders, the Zoo is proud to be supporting Mental Health Awareness Week, and its wonderful theme ‘Explore your way to wellbeing’ – Whāia te ara hauora, Whitiora. On arrival, kids can collect the Wildlife Wonders activity sheet to start exploring the Zoo and the ‘five ways of wellbeing’ stops. At each stop you can get active, learn, connect, or give (to yourself and others!) and also learn about how animals keep themselves well.

After your outdoor exploration, venture inside to The Domes. Dance to your heart’s (and lungs!) content at the silent disco, build giant foam homes, enjoy cool craft activities, contribute to the community artwork wall and support a conservation project, or just chill out!

Book your tickets in advance online and SAVE up to 20% on same-day prices.

Family with Kereru bird at Auckland Zoo
Family watching the Kererū (New Zealand pigeon) at Auckland Zoo

10. See a live family show or concert 

Choose one of these fun live theatre shows or concerts to enjoy with the kids in the winter school holidays:

  • The Little Yellow Digger at the Bruce Mason Centre Show info

  • Tu Meke Tūī! at the Herald Theatre in the Aotea Centre Show info

  • Zoe and the K-Pop Kids at the Bruce Mason Centre Show info

  • Alice in Wonderland at TAPAC Show info 

  • Aladdin at Hawkins Theatre Show info

  • Auckland Youth Orchestra free concert Show info

  • Shrek the Musical at Centre Stage Theatre Show info

  • PJ Masks stage show at NorthWest Shopping Centre Show info

Zoe and the K Pop Kids 2019
Experience Zoe and the K-Pop Kids live at the Bruce Mason Centre in the school holidays.

11.  Let the kids try surfing at the FREE Have a Go Surf Day

Te Arai Beach, 708 Te Arai Point Road, Te Arai, Auckland
Sunday 6 October 2019: 9:30am to 3pm. (Bookings are essential.)
Event info

Give your kids aged 4 to 16 years old the opportunity to try surfing when they are young. All surfboards, wetsuits, sunscreen and coaching will be provided by internationally qualified and experienced instructors, from Aotearoa Surf School for free on the day. 

Learning to surf at Aotearoa Surf School
Learning how to surf at Aoteroa Surf School at Te Arai Beach in Auckland

12.  Go on a FREE guided farm walk of Cornwall Park

Cornwall Park, Auckland Central
Event info

Join Cornwall Park’s farmer Peter to chat all things agriculture.  Cornwall Park has rich history of farming and is a unique site to see in the middle of a bustling city.  Take a walk through the farm paddocks, the kids (and adults) will learn about the urban farm and get up close with a few of the animals. 

Numbers are limited and registrations essential, please email with your name, contact details and number of people.

13. Go on a heritage cruise aboard the tugboat William C Daldy steam tugboat

Queens Wharf, Auckland.
Saturday 5, Sunday 6, Saturday 12, Sunday 13: 10am, 12:30pm and 2:30pm tours
Event info

Cruise back in time, touring Auckland’s busy port aboard the historic William C. Daldy steam tug on a family-friendly tour. The kids can discover the inner workings of the steam tugboat by visiting the engine room, the heat of the boiler room and the wheelhouse up top.

Price: Children under 2 go FREE; Children over 2 years are $5; Adults $15

William C Daldy steam tugboat in the Ports of Auckland

14. Have dinner at one of Auckland Night Markets

Various Auckland locations

Take the family out for dinner at a night market. The Night Markets are in different Auckland suburbs each night. You can find them at:
Sylvia Park (under PK Furniture) on a Monday night from 5pm to 11pm
Mt Wellington (under Countdown) on a Tuesday from 5pm to 11pm
Botany Town Centre (under Hoyts) on a Wednesday from 5pm to 11pm
Henderson (under Kmart) on a Thursday night from 5:30pm to 11:30pm
Papatoetoe (under Kmart) on a Friday from 5:30pm to Midnight
Pakuranga (under the Warehouse) on Saturday from 5:30pm to Midnight
Glenfield Mall on Sunday from 5:30pm to 11pm

Dumplings at the Night Market
Dumplings at the Night Market

15. Go on an urban playground crawl​

Auckland playgrounds

You don’t always get time to take the kids to playgrounds outside of your local neighbourhood during the school term. Make the most of the spring school holidays and discover new playgrounds to explore across Auckland for the day.

Cost: FREE apart from your petrol or public transport fares.

Takapuna playground (Credit Auckland for Kids)
Auckland for Kids visits Takapuna Beach Resrve Playground

16. Enjoy a family picnic and playing old time games at Tui Glen Reserve

Tui Glen Reserve, 2 Claude Brookes Drive, Henderson, West Auckland
Sunday 6 October 2019: 10am to 3pm
Auckland Heritage Festival event info

Celebrate 175 years of Henderson as a destination for journeys great and small – from kauri timber headed east to the harbour to Aucklanders headed west to buy fruit or wine, picnic, or have family days out. Tui Glen, New Zealand’s first AA-registered motor camp, will be the stage for the 175 Henderson Heritage Picnic. Enjoy a picnic on the banks of Oratia stream and admire veteran, vintage and classic cars, play old-time games like sack races and egg and spoon races,  listen to live music and sample the delights from the food stalls.

Cost: FREE

Picnickers enjoy a day at Tui Glen Henderson
A party of happy picnickers enjoy a day at Tui Glen, Henderson

17. Go to the movies to see a family movie

Auckland movie theatres

Head to the movies on a wet cold spring day in the holidays to keep the kids entertained. New family movies showing in the October school holidays include:
– Dora and The Lost City of Gold Editors Pick
– Abominable
– The Angry Birds 2 Movie

Dora and The Lost City of Gold

18. Go out for lunch at on one of Auckland’s kid friendly cafes

Auckland family friendly cafes and restaurants

Take the family out for lunch at one of Auckland’s best kid  friendly cafes and restaurants here.

The Parkhouse Whenuapai (Photo by Auckland for Kids)
Auckland for Kids visits the Parkhouse Cafe in Greenhithe

19. See the planets, stars and constellations over Auckland by Looking Up

Stardome, 670 Manukau Road, One Tree Hill Domain, Central Auckland
Saturday 28 September to  Sunday 13 October 2019: 4pm show

Kids shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to explore the celestial sights above Auckland simply because their bedtime is too early to see the stars twinkling above the city lights.  Looking Up gives you the opportunity to keep the kids happy on this late-afternoon, immersive adventure of the cosmos, which mirrors the real night sky in a 360-degree planetarium dome experience. They’ll be taken on a guided tour of what to spot in the real-night sky, fly out to our Solar System, visit neighbouring planets and learn how to spot constellations and characters hidden among the stars.

Tickets: Children $10; Adults $12; Family (2 adults and 3 children) $40.

Looking Up at Stardome
Stardome planetarium

20. Encourage your kids to donate or sell their unwanted toys

Encourage your kids to part with their toys that they no longer want by selling them at a Kids Market or donating them to charity.

Donate their toys that are in good condition to:
– Auckland Women’s Refuge
– Salvation Army Family Stores
– Red Cross Shops
Or book a table to sell their toys at kids market after the holidays, such as the Howick Kids Market on Saturday 19 October.

Spider toys
Toy spiders

21. Take the kids for a FREE horse and carriage ride in Onehunga

Starting point: Outside Onehunga Police Station, 126 Onehunga Mall, Central Auckland
Event info

Celebrate Onehunga’s rich heritage with a free horse and carriage ride along historic Onehunga Mall. There’s free face painting and balloon twisting for the kids while you wait too. Book your  timeslot for your horse and carriage ride on the day.

Cost: FREE

Horse and carriage rides in Onehunga town centre, Auckland, NZ
Horse and carriage rides along Onehung Mall

22. Climb to the top of one of Auckland’s mountains and take in the view

Choose from Mount Eden, Mount Roskill, Mount Wellington, Mount Albert, One  Tree Hill, North Head, Mount Victoria.

Open during daylight everyday in the school holidays

Pack a picnic and take the family for a walk to the top of one of Auckland’s mountains. Or if the kids have lots of energy, then you could always try climbing a few of them in one day.

Cost: FREE

Visit the summit of Mt Wellington | Photo Credit: Auckland for Kids
Auckland for Kids visits Mt Wellington

23. Visit the Huge Day Out at the 50th Kowhai Festival

Wharf Street, Warkworth Town Centre, North Auckland 
Sunday 13 October 2019: 9am to 5:30pm
Event info

Enjoy the Huge Day Out at Warkworth’s annual Kowhai Festival which celebrates the arrival of spring and flowering kowhai. Watch the dog shows, walking parade and street entertainers.  Enjoy the performances, music and kids entertainment.

Cost: FREE entry

Kowhai Festival event
Kowhai Festival in Warkworth

24. Vist the Rainbow’s End Spooky School Holidays

Rainbow’s End, South Auckland
Event info

It’s thrills and chills with treats and sweets these spooky school holidays at Rainbow’s End. Experience the pop-up walk-through attraction Manic Manor; The Witches Lair (great for preteens and teens), and under 8’s will love the Monster Mash Disco, Storytime with Witchy-poo, and Tricks for Treats in the Kidz Kingdom zone. 

Carousel Kidz Kingdom Rainbow's End
Having fun in Kidz Kingdom at Rainbow's End.

25. Take the kids to enjoy a FREE holiday activity at your local shopping centre

Local Auckland shopping centres

Lots of Auckland shopping centres have fun FREE things for the kids to do in the school holidays. Choose from:

  • LEGO Star Wars School Holiday Zone at Westfield St Lukes Event info

  • PJ Masks Stage show at NorthWest Shopping Centre Event info

  • Ready, Set, Fun! sunflower planting activities at Silverdale Shopping Centre Event info

  •  LEGO City Play Zone at NorthWest Shopping Centre Event info

LEGO Star Wars school holiday zone
LEGO Star Wars