BEST things to do in the Summer School holidays at Orange in Auckland with kids
December 2021 and January 2022 New Zealand School Holidays
It’s the Summer School Holidays! To help you plan what to do with the kids over the break, we’ve put together our favourite summer activities and ideas for you to enjoy together as a family.
1. Cool down at one of Auckland’s Splashpads
The good news is that Auckland’s splashpads will be operating this summer. Take the kids (and yourself) to cool down at one of our favourite Auckland splashpads. You can find them at Myers Park in the Auckland City Centre, Tōia Ōtāhuhu splashpad in Otahuhu, Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa splashpad in Mangere, Potters Park in Balmoral (pictured below), Stanmore Bay splashpad, Lloyd Elsmore splashpad, Waterview Reserve splashpad or Hobsonville Point Water Park. With the holidays stretching out after the lockdowns, you could even aim to visit all of the splashpads before the kids head back to school.
2. See Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium at Auckland Museum
Auckland Museum, The Auckland Domain, Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand
On daily until Sunday 28 February 2021 (excluding Christmas Day)
Ready to meet a plesiosaur? How about getting to know an Anomalocaris or come close to a Kronosaurus?
Take a deep dive millions of years back in time to meet some of the most incredible creatures to ever swim the ocean depths in Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium at Auckland Museum in the January school holidays.
Dive in and get up close to these incredible prehistoric sea creatures in a fun, immersive introduction to the fascinating world of palaeontology. Big, and unmistakably ‘alive’, the animals of Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium will delight curious minds from ages 5 years and up.
Tickets: FREE for children aged 0 to 4, No seat, Children aged 5 to 13 are $15; Adults $19 or Family Pass (2 adults and 2 children) $62.
3. Find the 80 giant whale tail sculptures throughout Auckland City in the Whale Tales 2022 Art Trail
The FREE public art trail Whale Tales, is surfacing in Tāmaki Makaurau in the last week of the school holidays on 24th January 2022. Your family can find the 80 Tails telling 80 tales which will be dotted across Auckland streets, parks, and open spaces for 12 weeks.
Each giant tail is inspired by a healthy ocean and designed by some of Aotearoa’s most talented artists. Follow the outdoor trail for some fabulous family fun, or wander through with friends to find your own favourite.
The sculptures will be auctioned on 2 May 2022 to raise funds for WWF-New Zealand’s vital work to protect and restore the Hauraki Gulf and the Bryde’s whales that call it home.
Cost: FREE event.
4. Enjoy the buskers performances at the Auckland International Buskers Festival
An unmissable line-up of local performers who have performed across the globe will hit the streets over Auckland Anniversary Weekend with energetic displays of Mexican wrestling, hula-hoops, contortion, fire stunts, magical illusions, acrobatics and so much more!
The Auckland International Buskers Festival 2022 returns to Auckland’s CBD and Waterfront for another year, with four full days of crowd-pleasing delights from 28 January to 31 January 2022.
Cost: FREE but remember to put some money in their collection at the end of their performance as a sign of appreciation.
5. Enjoy one of the FREE Families in Parks Summer Fun sessions
Take the family to one or more of the FREE summer fun family sessions on the North Shore in the summer school holidays. Family in Park Sessions at Rewi Allery Reserve, Marlborough Park and Little Shoal Bay Reserve on selective days in January 2022.
6. Pick your own strawberries
Take the family for a fun day out to one of the BEST places to go strawberry picking in Auckland.
7. Take a day trip to Waiheke Island
Book a ferry from the city or Half Moon Bay to go to Waiheke Island for the day. If you are going for a short stay then we recommend taking your car on the car ferry to make it easier to get around the island. There are lots of fun things to do with kids on Waiheke Island. Visit Oneroa Beach which also has a children’s playground. Stop off for an ice cream at one of our kids favourites, the Island Gelato store in Oneroa Village. If your kids are over 10 years old, then you can each hire an electric bike to get around the island for the day. Visit Wild on Waiheke which is a kid friendly winery with a playground, trampoline, petanque and giant chess set to the keep the kids entertained and you can go claybird shooting and do archery together as a family. If your kids like adventure then check out the EcoZip flying-fox ziplines too. If you are staying for more than a day then it’s also worth visiting the Man O’ War Vineyard which is at the eastern end of the island on a metal road with lovely views over the beach, and brunch on the weekend.
8. Eat out with the family at a local Food Truck Market Night
There are lots of Food Truck Markets over the summer school holidays to visit with the family:
– Manly Food Truck Evening Market on 27th January 2022,
– Coyle Park Food Truck Evening Market on 28th January 2002, and
– Milford Reserve Food Truck Collective on 29th January 2022.
Cost: Entry is free, but you will need to pay for any food or drink purchased at the night markets.
9. Take the kids for a swim this summer at one of Auckland’s outdoor pools
Aucklanders aged 16 years and under have FREE access to all council-operated pools across the region during standard operating hours too.
10. Enjoy a family day trip to Matakana
Head up to Matakana for a fun family day out, or stay for a few days. See the outdoor art sculptures and animals at Sculptureum. Check out the Matakana Village township which has a Saturday Farmers market, boutique cinema, shops and cafes and restaurants.
Visit the beautiful white sand beaches nearby of Omaha and Pakiri Beach for a swim with the family. Pakiri Beach is a good place to go surf casting, especially near the river mouth.
Get out on the water in a Clearyak, Glass Bottom Boat or Kayak at Goat Island Marine Reserve in Leigh which is only a short drive from Matakana. Don’t forget to visit the Goat Island Marine Discovery Centre run by the University of Auckland so the kids can get up close to the marine life you have seen and learn about New Zealand’s marine life.
11. Go on a family bike, scooter or skateboard ride
There are lots of fun places to go for a family bike, scooter and skate board ride in Auckland. Pack a picnic and head to your favourite bike track, pump track or park with the kids scooters, bikes and skateboards. The picture below is of the Skatepark in Waterview.
12. Watch a live game of cricket at Eden Park
Eden Park, Auckland
Select days in the Summer school holidays
Take the kids to watch a live cricket game at Eden Park. There is the Hallyburton Johnston Shield one day women’s domestic matches on the 3rd and 4th Jan 2022 and entry is FREE. Enjoy the Double Header Super Smash games on the 7th, 15th, 20th January and 22nd January 2022 to see the Aces, Canterbury, Otago, Wellington Firebirds, Wellington Blaze CD and Hearts cricket teams compete.
13. Visit Auckland’s very own beautiful Lavender Farms
Make a day trip out to see the bright blue purple lavender flower at CCT Lavender Farm in Karaka (pictured below) or the Lavender Farm in Riverhead. Here is our pick of New Zealand’s most beautiful lavender farms including 2 from Auckland.
14. Take part in the FREE Level Up Summer Reading Challenge at your local Auckland Library
Local Auckland Libraries
Auckland Library summer reading registration
Sign up for Auckland Libraries’ FREE summer reading programme for children aged 5 to 12. Kids can log their reading and complete activities on Beanstack to earn badges and go in the draw to win a summer prize pack from their local library. Plus, they are giving away a free book bag to the first 4,000 kids that register for the Level Up challenge on Beanstack.The Level Up Summer Reading Challenge runs from 13 December 2021 to 28 January 2022.
16. Rediscover Auckland’s past
Visit some of the heritage properties in Auckland with the kids to see what living in Auckland used to be like.
Howick Historical Village (pictured below) is an open air museum of what Howick was like in the mid to late 1800s.
Go on a self guided tour of Highwic House in Newmarket, which is one of New Zealand’s finest timber Gothic homes built in 1862.
Visit Alberton House and it’s gardens in Mt Albert, which was built in 1863.
Discover MOTAT’s village which brings the colonial Pākehā history alive. You’ll be taken back in time as you explore the original cottages, schoolhouse, chapel, washhouse and forge.
Cost: Admission fees apply for entrance to each of the historical properties
17. Cool down with an ice creams and gelato
Treat the kids (and yourself) to some ice cream and gelato at one of our Favourite Ice Cream and Dessert Stores in Auckland.
18. Discover Auckland’s best waterfalls
Take the kids on a day trip to one of Auckland’s hidden waterfalls. Some of our favourites are Kitekite falls (pictured below) in Piha, Wainamu Falls in Bethells Beach, Hunua Falls in the Hunua Ranges, Lucas Creek Waterfall in Albany, Karekare Falls in Karaka, and the urban Oakey Creek Waterfall in Waterview.
19. Go on an Auckland playground crawl
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. The photo below is of the playground in Devonport.
Cost: FREE (well apart from your petrol to get there)
20. Experience white water rafting with your family at Vector Wero
Vector Wero Whitewater Park, 770 Great South Road, Manukau, South Auckland
Kids aged 8 years plus can go rafting on the Grade 1-2 Tamariki River white water course. Rafting guides will guide your family through the gentle 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.
21. Magical bookstores for children
Visit one of Auckland’s best children’s book stores to find books to inspire your children and young adults. Our favourite bookshops dedicated to children are the Little Unity Children’s Bookshop in Auckland CBD and The Dorothy Butler Children’s Bookshop in Ponsonby.
Cost: FREE (well apart from your petrol or public transport fares to get there)
22. Explore one of Auckland’s stunning regional parks this summer
Auckland Parks and Gardens
Take the family for a free day out to visit one of Auckland’s best gardens and parks that they have never been to before. Pack a picnic so the kids don’t go hungry. If you visit one of the Regional Parks like Duder Regional Park in Clevedon in South-East Auckland (pictured below) there won’t be any shops close by. Remember to pack some sunscreen and water too for those hot summers days.
Lots of the Regional Parks border the ocean so pack your togs for a swim, and some of the regional parks have good surfing like Te Ārai Regional Park where you can learn to surf or bring your own board.
Cost: FREE (well apart from your petrol or public transport fares to get there)
23. Treat the kids to High Tea
Treat the kids and their grandparents to High Tea in the school holidays at one of Auckland’s hotels. The Cordis has a special Barbie Dreamtopia High Tea where the kids get to take home a Barbie™ doll too. Visit the Park Hyatt Hotel’s Living Room for a modern take on high tea where it is served over five courses from Wednesdays to Sunday afternoons.
24. Take a Day Trip to Rotoroa island to see the endangered New Zealand wildlife
Visit Rotoroa Island for the day on a ferry from downtown Auckland to see the endangered wildlife and beautiful white sand beaches. The island is 80 hectares so it is small enough to explore in a day.
25. Explore Cornwall Park and Maungakiekie
Cornwall Park, Espom, Auckland
Cornwall Park was gifted by Sir John Logan Campbell to New Zealand in 1901 for New Zealanders to enjoy and experience nature in Auckland for free. Cornwall Park is 425 acres of New Zealand’s living history, weaving together our heritage, ecology, agriculture, wildlife, mauri and community. Kids can enjoy the self led Holiday Tree Trail at Cornwall Park these school holidays.
Maungakiekie, One Tree Hill is next to Cornwall Park where you can go for a walk up to the summit and visit the children’s playground and Stardome for a planetarium show.
Cost: Cornwall Park entrance is FREE.
26. Have fun with the kids out of the sun whilst burning off some energy
If you want to keep the kids out of the sun on a super hot day, but want to do something sporty together that you can burn off some of their restless energy, we recommend going Snowplanet to learn how to ski or snowboard in the cool, JUMP indoor trampoline park in Avondale, the North Shore or Takanini.
27. Where to see animals with the kids in Auckland?
For the animal fans in your family, there are plenty of places to go in Auckland. Go for a day out to Butterfly Creek, Kelly Tarltons SeaLife, Auckland Zoo, Ambury Farm and High Field Donkey Reserve.
28. Visit one of West Auckland’s black sand beaches and go for a bush walk in the Waitakere Ranges
Auckland’s West Coast Beaches are stunning and a fun place to go for the day with the kids. Some of our favourite beaches are:
– Muriwai with a visit to the Gannet colony;
– Bethells Beach with a walk around Lake Wainamu;
– Piha with a stop at the Piha Cafe for lunch; and
– Karekare with a visit to the nearby waterfall too.
Stop by at the Arataki Centre on your way out and talk to the rangers to find out what bush tracks are open and suitable for your family to combine with a trip to one of the beaches.
29. Challenge the family to a game at an Escape Room, Arcade, Bowling or Virtual Reality Studio
Tweens love to challenge adults to test their skills in a family game in the holidays. Pick what your tweens favourite type of activity is and then head off to see whose team wins. Some of our favourite places to go for a family challenge are Rainbow’s End Playlab for arcade games; VR Voom for Virtual Reality games and the Escape Masters in Auckland CBD and Manukau and Escape HQ in Takapuna for well I think you can guess, Escape Rooms.
30. Celebrate Auckland Anniversary Weekend before the kids go back to school
It is Auckland Anniversary on the 31 January 2022 and the last long weekend before most of the kids have to go back to school. Celebrate Auckland’s Anniversary with your family at one of the weekend’s popular events.
Watch the Ports of Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta (pictured below) on Auckland Anniversary Day, Monday 31 Jan 2022 as hundreds of vessels take to the water at Auckland’s one day regatta.
Vist the Extravaganza Auckland Anniversary Fair in Orakei Domain. Check out the Mission Bay Craft Market. Watch the talented buskers perform at the Auckland International Buskers Festival in Auckland City over Auckland Anniversary Weekend.