The Top 30 things to do in the October 2018 school holidays

Secret World of Butterflies at Auckland Museum

The Top 30 things to do with kids in the October school holidays

Our pick of the best things to do with kids in the October 2018 Spring school holidays.

1. Learn about Auckland's heritage

Oratia Wild Walk Auckland Heritage Festival Event

Various Auckland locations
Saturday 29 September to Sunday 14 October 2018

Auckland Heritage Festival has lots of fun activities for the whole family in the October school holidays.  Choose from:Gold Prospecting at Alberton, Grey Lynn Heritage Walk, Manukau Heads Lighthouse, Free horse and carriage rides up Onehunga Mall, Pah Homestead Community Day, Oratia Wild Walk, Hands on volcanoes and earthquakes at University of Auckland, Auckland Museum Rooftop tour and more.

Cost: Most family events are FREE or low cost.

2. Go to the theatre to see a live family show

Airplay live theatre

There are lots of shows on in the October 2018 spring school holidays for children. Choose from:

  • AirPlay at the Bruce Mason Centre

  • Caterpillars live theatre show at Auckland Museum

  • The Cat in the Hat at Bruce Mason Centre

  • The Composer is Dead – A Symphonic Murder Mystery at the Bruce Mason

  • Beauty & The Beast at TAPAC

  • Bad Jelly the Witch at The PumpHouse Theatre

  • Honk Jr at Uxbridge

  • Tempo Dance Festival – Metamorphosis by BoyzDance2  and Second Thought’s by HighJinx Aerial Arts Youth Company both at Q Theatre

For more information on shows for children in the October 2018 holidays click here.

3. Explore the beautiful beaches at Te Arai Regional Park

Te Arai Beach

Te Arai Regional Park, Te Arai Point Road, Te Arai, Auckland map

Take the family for a day out to enjoy the white sandy beaches at Te Arai Regional Park, just 60 mins north of Auckland CBD. Go swimming in the surf or the old quarry swimming hole at Te Arai Point, one of New Zealand’s 10 best beaches. If the kids are up for more of a walk you can try Black Swamp or Forestry, the beaches on either side of Te Arai Point.  Bring your picnic lunch from home.

If you and/or the kids want to learn how to surf or paddle board, the team at  Aotearoa Surf School run family lessons to teach you how and has boards and wetsuits to hire.

Cost: FREE  access to the beach. Charges apply for Aotearoa Surf School lessons.

4. Discover the master builders at Auckland Zoo

Lion at Auckland Zoo

Auckland Zoo, Western Springs, Auckland
Saturday 29 September to Sunday 14 October 2018

Majestic male lions, cotton-top tamarin and spider monkey babies are just some exciting reasons to visit Auckland Zoo these October school holidays! On arrival kids can pick up the ‘Master Builders’ activity sheet to learn about the amazing construction (animal) heroes. Journey through the Zoo and collect all the master builder stamps.

Tickets:  Children under 4 are FREE; Children aged 4 to 14 years $13; Student $19; Adult $24. Book in advance and save up to 20%.

5. Go on an urban park crawl

Western Park Playground in Ponsonby, Auckland

Public playgrounds in Auckland

Instead of going to your local park, take your family on an urban park crawl to discover some new or different parks in Auckland.If you are looking for ideas on parks to try: see UPDATED 10 TOP PLAYGROUNDS  or visit our friends at Playground Auckland who always has lots of videos of the newly opened Auckland parks.

Plus to add a bit more fun to you day, why not add in a lunch time stop at the top of one of Auckland’s mountains such as Mount EdenMount WellingtonOne Tree Hill or North Head. At North Head kids can complete a Kiwi Guardians adventure and receive a certificate and medal (you need to print off the adventure map before you go).

Cost: FREE  (apart from your transport costs)

6. Try one of Auckland's best ice creams

Boy eating an ice cream

The best ice cream places in Auckland

Take the kids (and yourself) out for an ice cream treat at one of Auckland’s best places for ice cream.

7. Become a Time Turner at your local library

Time Turner at Auckland Libraries

Various Auckland Public Libraries
Saturday 30 September to Sunday 15 October 2018

Your local library is turning back time, travelling into the future and everything in between these school holidays.  Visit your local library these holidays to create crafts, discover dinosaurs, crack codes, code robots, take the Hogwarts Express and more!  

Cost: FREE events and activities for children

8. Visit the Auckland Botanic Gardens

Butterfly at the Botanic Gardens

Auckland Botanic Gardens, Auckland
Open daily in September 2018 from 8am to 6pm and in October 2018 from 8am to 4:30pm

Free Spring school holiday sessions are on 10am to Noon on the following days.
Tuesday 2 October – Make a flying seed and bee hummer
Thursday 4 October – Pollinator paradise
Thursday 11 October – Pollination puzzle
Friday 12 October – Spin a spooky spiderweb
You don’t need to book for these sessions, just turn up.

On Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 October Celebrate Spring and experience Chinese culture at the gardens over the weekend with free demonstrations and activities. Don’t forget to take your picnic and see the Potter Children’s Garden too.

Cost: FREE  family day out.

9. Go for a swim at one of Auckland's public pools

Otahuhu swimming pool

Local Auckland Swimming Pools
Find your local Auckland swimming pools here

It’s not quiet beach weather in the October school holidays. Take the kids for a swim and play at your local pool, or venture further from home to try out a different Auckland swimming pool that the kids haven’t been to before.

Cost: FREE  for children 16 and under at Auckland Council operated pools.
(Note: Mt Albert Pool and The Olympic Pool are NOT free for children)

10. Check out one of Artweek's free kid friendly events


Artweek Auckland 2018 is on in the spring school holidays from 

Here is our pick of the best FREE kids event on at Artweek this year:

Cost: FREE  events

11. Have fun at the free Workshops on the Wharf

Kids playing at Wynyard Quarter

Sunday 30 September to Sunday 14 October 2018
For times and programme see:

Kids will enjoy the fun activities from creative arts and crafts, Open Fort street games, circus workshops and cut it out workshops.

Cost: FREE  

12. Learn about our Puzzling Planets at Stardome

Puzzling Planets school holiday programme at Stardome

Stardome Observatory Planetarium
Monday 1 October to Friday 5 October 2018: 10am; 1pm & 2pm sessions
Monday 8 October to Friday 12 October 2018: 10am and 1pm & 2pm sessions

Come and learn about our planets in the spring school holidays. Make Martian icecream, swoop across the foreign surfaces with augmented reality and virtual reality headsets or play with the Jupiter plasma balls in the Space Room. Watch mini rockets launching if the weather co-operates and then watch the Night Sky show in the planetarium.

If you are looking for something to do after your visit to Stardome, there is a  fun playground right next to Stardome, or you can take the kids on a  loop walk.

Tickets: Children $12; Adult $10; Seniors $10

13. Take a boat tour of the Auckland Port

Ports of Auckland Boat Tours - AUCKLAND FOR KIDS

Ports of Auckland
Tuesday 2 and Tuesday 9 October 2018: 12:30pm

Take an hour long tour past the busy commercial wharves and see the big ships, cranes  and other machinery at work to learn about the Auckland Port.
Bookings are essential as these sell out at 360 Discovery on 09 307 8005.

Tickets: Children under the age of 16 are FREE; Adults $5

14. Become a Tower Champ up Sky Tower

Become a Tower Champ at Sky Tower

Sky Tower, Victoria St West, Auckland map
Saturday 29 to Sunday 14 October 2018: 10am to 3pm (last entry at 2:30pm)

Enjoy School Holidays up the Sky Tower with The Tower Champs – Grand Finale! Get your official lanyards, compete in challenges and earn all three wristbands to become the ultimate athlete. In conjunction with Run, Jump Throw and Athletics New Zealand, you can enjoy lots of activities at the Sky Tower, including challenges on the secret level! 

Cost: Normal Sky Tower admission applies. Find out more

15. Take your family on an Amazing Race

Family at the Amazing Race

Out and About Auckland Amazing Race Days
Kingswood Road Reserve, : Tuesday 2 October 2018: 10am to Noon
Lloyd Elsmore Park: Tuesday 2 October 2018: 2pm to 4pm
Kerri Downs Park: Thursday 4 October 2018: 10am to Noon
David Lange Park: Thursday 4 October 2018: 2pm to 4pm
Ray Small Park: Tuesday 9 October 2018: 10am to Noon
Totora Park: Tuesday 9 October 2018: 2pm to 4pm
McCleans Park: Thursday 11 October 2018: 10am to Noon
Seaside Park: Thursday 11 October 2018: 2pm to 4pm
Facebook page: OutandAboutAKL

3 different race levels at each park means this event is a great way for the whole family to get out into your local park. You will follow your race clues around the park, collecting stamps and completing fun challenges along the way! Bring old sneakers or gumboots. Races take 30mins to 50mins to complete, so don’t arrive too late.

Cost: FREE family event

16. Take the kids for a family climbing challenge at Rocket Ropes

Boy at Rocket Ropes

Rocket Ropes, 12 Tom Pearce Drive, Auckland Airport, Auckland

Take the whole family for a fun climbing experience at Rocket Ropes and surprise your kids that Mum and Dad can still climb too. The Croc Course  is fun for adults and kids over 6 years old  levels and has three thrilling levels at 1.5m, 3m and 6m with other 30 exciting activities.  Younger kids aren’t left out either, they can try The Rocketeer Coursewith a viking ship, tunnels and wobble boards for kids aged 2 to 6 years old.Cost: Rocketeer Course $15; Croc Course $28 to $35.
Book online and save 10% 

17. Make and fly a kite

Kite flying in the sky

Out and About Auckland Kite Days
Brylee Drive Reserve, Papakura: Monday 1 October 2018: 10:00am to Noon
Keith Park, Weymouth: Monday 1 October 2018: 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Cockle Bay Reserve: Monday 8 October 2018: 10:00am to Noon
Murphy Park, Otahuhu: Monday 8 October 2018: 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Facebook page: OutandAboutAKL

Build and decorate a  kit set kite and then enjoy flying it at your local park.

Cost: FREE family activity

18. Make your own game and have fun on the playground at the Torpedo Bay Navy Museum

Fun Palace at the Navy Museum

Torpedo Bay Navy Museum, 64 King Edward Parade, Torpedo Bay, Devonport 
Museum opening hours: Daily from 10:00am to 5:00pm map
Holiday sessions on weekdays at 10:30am, 11:30am and 1:30pm weekdays take the kids to take part in the Actions Stations – Game on holiday activities.  Plus afterwards the museum has a fun outdoor playground next right next to their cafe to keep everyone satisfied. You can just turn up for the holiday activities, but bookings are recommended on 09 445 5186 or email to get the time slot you would like. On Sunday 6 October there is the first Fun Palace too.
For more ideas of what else you can do in Devonport read more here.

Cost: Admission to the museum and the Fun Palace event are FREE.
 “Action Stations: Game on” holiday activity is $3 per person.

19. Go out for a family dinner

Family friendly Mexico Restaurant

With no afterschool activities or school nights in the school holidays, its the perfect time to take the family out for dinner.

See our suggestions of kid friendly restaurants here.

20. Find out what kind of pet your kids would like the best

Pet Cat

ASB Showgrounds, 217 Greenlane West, Epsom, Auckland
Saturday 13 October 2018: 10;00am to 5:00pm the kids to the Auckland Pet and Animal Expo. Visit the puppy and kitten cuddle corner, farm yard, pony rides and dancing dogs.

Tickets: Children 5 to 16 years $5; Adults $14; Senior $11; Family pass $39

21. See one of the exhibitions with activities for kids

Secret word of butterflies exhibition at Auckland Museum

Secret World of Butterflies FREE exhibition
Auckland Museum, Auckland Domain, Auckland
Open every day during the school holidays.

Immerse yourself in a kaleidoscope of colours and patterns as new exhibition Secret World of Butterflies takes flight. View thousands of butterflies from the Shannon Collection, on display for the first time. Be amazed by these stunning insects in this family-friendly exhibition that reveals unbelievable butterfly facts and is packed full of interactive activities. Zoom in on nature’s designs or create your own butterfly and unleash it into a magical digital garden.

Cost: FREE for Aucklanders

MOTAT double decker tram

From the old country to our country holiday experience
MOTAT, Western Springs, Auckland
Saturday 6 October to Sunday 14 October 2018: 10:00am to 5:00pm

Diverse peoples and history have shaped the city we recognise today. MOTAT’s interactive experiences bring the past to life, revealing the stories of early migrants and what drew them to our shores. Get hands-on with history and become a settler for a day as you discover the realities of life on the gum fields, or experience the thrill of gold fever.

Cost: Under 5s are FREE; Children aged 5 to 16 years and students $10; Adults $19; Family Pass (2 children and up to 4 children) $45

Brooch me at Auckland Art Gallery

Brooch me holiday workshop at Auckland Art Gallery
Todd Foundation Creative Learning Centre, Auckland Art Gallery
Monday 1 October to Sunday 14 October 2018: 10:30am to 3:30pm
Drawing inspiration from Auckland Art Gallery’s current exhibition Gordon Walters: New Vision have fun creating your own Walters-inspired, wearable brooch. This is a wonderful opportunity for families to come in, sit down and create together.

Cost: FREE

22. Enjoy free school holiday activities at your local shopping centre

Westcity holiday activities

Visit one of Auckland’s shopping centre for some FREE school holiday fun.
(Please check the shopping centres website in the links below for times and more detail about the free childrens events before heading out.)

Cost: FREE, but bookings required for some shopping centres.

23. Go fishing with your family on an Auckland wharf

Cornwallis Wharf

ll you need is stale bread and a bait catcher for a cheap kids fishing rod for a fun day out fishing with your family. Here is our pick of The 10 Best Fishing Spots in Auckland for Kids

24. Watch a family movie

Small foot movie

Your local Auckland cinemas
See the trailers here

Head to the cinemas for a movie with the kids on a wet day. The new family movies out for the July school holidays are:

  • Smallfoot

  • The House with a Clock in its Walls

  • Paw Patrol: Mightly Pups – The Movie

  • Teen Titans Go! The Movie

  • Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

25. Take the kids to Ambury Farm to see a working farm


43 Ambury Road, Mangere Bridge, Auckland
Ambury Farm is open daily in the school holidays: 6:00am to 9:00pm the kids to see sheep, goats, pigs, turkey,  cows, chickens, peacocks, and watch the dairy cows being milked at around 10:00am. There are picnic tables and from the lookout paddock there is a superb view of the Manukau heads and the Waitakere Ranges.

Kiwi Guardians Family Fun Day is on Sunday 14 October 2018 from 10am to 1pm with games, activities and prizes to launch the new Kiwi Guardians Walk. Look out for the Bird Hide and find the special code to receive your Kiwi Guardians medal.

Cost: FREE

26. Visit the Arataki Visitor Centre

Bee Aware

Arataki Visitor Centre, 300 Scenic Drive, Oratia, Waitakere map
Open Monday to Friday: 10am to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am to 5pm
Facebook: Arataki Vistor Centre

Take your families photo in the golden frame by the Arataki Visitor centre with the Waitakere Ranges in the background. Then head into the Visitor Centre with the kids.

October school holiday programmes include:

  • Tuesday 2 October: School holiday bone carving workshop

  • Wednesday 3 October: School holiday outdoor challenge

  • Tuesday 9 October: Bee aware

  • Wednesday 10 October: School holiday outdoor challenge

  • Thursday 11 October: School holiday bone carving workshop

Holiday programmes have limited spaces, so please call to book on 09 892 4777.

Cost: FREE entry to Arataki Visitor Centre. School holiday workshops are $5 to $40 each

27. Check out the Chocoate and coffee show

Chocolate and Coffee show

The Cloud, Queens Wharf, Auckland
Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 October 2018: 9:00am to 5:00pm Chocolate & Coffee Show is a wonderful family event to bring the kids along to! Not only are there tasty treats at every turn but the place will be full of games, cute guide dog puppies and even people dressed up in costume. Sign the kids up to one of the Masterclasses where they can learn how to make their own chocolatey treats!

Tickets: Children under 12 are FREE; Student and Seniors $13.50, Adult  $17.50

28. Try your hand at Tuvalu mat weaving at Objectspace

Objectspace workshop for kids

Objectspace, Auckland
Wednesday 3 October 2018: 11:00am to 1:00pm

Fafine Niutao I Aotearoa will give a demonstration of Tuvalu pandanus mat weaving, and offer participants the chance to try several Tuvalu art forms; including pandanus weaving, and kolose. The event is suitable for children and adults, plus you can take home a lovely piece of work! No booking is needed just turn up on the day.

Cost: FREE event

29. Let the kids stay up late for the Night Rides at Rainbow's End

Night Rides at Rainbow's End - AUCKLAND FOR KIDS

2 Clist Crescent, Manukau, Auckland
6 October 2018: 6:00pm to 11:00pm the kids stay up late for a night of fun going on the rides at Rainbow’s End.

Cost: Child $40, Kidz Kingdom $22, Adult $45, early bird deals as well

30. Follow the Dots in the Dark Room at Uxbridge

Outside the box at Uxbridge

Uxbridge Arts & Culture
Tuesday 2 October to Saturday 13 October and be part of the interactive art installation by artist Lucy Olcese in the October school holidays. Visit the dark room and follow the dots which will reveal messages and thoughts left by the community.

Cost: FREE

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