Top 30 things to do in the July 2018 winter school holidays
Auckland for Kids pick of the 30 BEST things to do with kids in the July school holidays in Auckland, New Zealand
1. Visit the free Butterfly exhibition at Auckland Museum
Auckland Museum, Auckland Domain, Auckland
Saturday 7 July 2018 onwards
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
2. Visit the Winter Gardens and explore the Auckland Domain
Auckland Domain, Park Road, Grafton, Auckland
Choose a sunny day to take the kids for a picnic and discover all the hidden gems in the Auckland Domain. Don’t miss the duck ponds, the Wintergardens and the fishpond, or the band rotunda. Go for a short native bush walk, choose from “Lovers Walk”, “The Nikau Walk” and more. Visit the kiosk for an ice cream or coffee. Then if you bring a ball from home, you can play a game on one of the sports fields.
Cost: FREE family day out (apart from your food and drinks)
3. Go to the theatre to see a live family show
There are lots of entertaining shows on in the July school holidays for children.
- Big Bad Wolfat the Bruce Mason Centre
- Auckland Live Pick & MixFREE fun performances and workshops in the Aotea Centre, Mangere Arts Centre and Bruce Mason Centre:
– Sugar Plus Family Fun by the Royal New Zealand Ballet
– Baggage by Jandel J and the Funky Friends
- The Wizard of Ōtāhuhu at Q Theatre
- The Owl and The Pussycat at The Wintergarden in The Civic
- Baby Baroque FREE kids concert at St Lukes Church
- The Gruffalo and the Gruffalo’s Child performed live by the APO at the Aotea Centre and Bruce Mason
- Peter Pan at TheatreWorks in Birkenhead
- Fame The Musical Junior at Te Oro
4. Visit the free light festival and light trails to celebrate Matariki
Stellar Festival of Lights
Smales Farm, 72 Taharoto Road, Takapuna
Friday 13 July 2018 to Sunday 15 July 2018: 5:00pm to 10:00pm each evening
Immerse yourself in an abundance of light installations that will dazzle, delight and impress with their unique colours and designs. Join the community to celebrate Matariki, the Māori New Year, with lights, bites and a wide range of entertainment.
Te Ara Rama Matariki
Maybury Reserve, 96 Line Road (behing te Oro), Glen Innes
Saturday 14 July to Saturday 21 July 2018: 6:00pm to 9:00pm nightly
Celebrate Matariki by reviving the Māori tradition of giving thanks for the harvest, welcoming the new year planting season and remembering loved ones by experiencing Matariki-inspired light sculptures.s. The final night includes a spectacular fireworks display and Māori music for the whole community.
Auckland Zoo, Motions Road, Western Springs, Auckland
School holidays is the perfect time to tune in to nature and Amaze Your Senses! at Auckland Zoo. Grab your activity sheet before heading off on a sensory adventure, where you’ll not only learn about the zoos animals and their senses.
Visit KidZone to collect your ‘scratch and sniff’ sticker and explore the sensory zone – you’ll be amazed by what you hear, see, touch, taste and smell at the zoo these holidays.
Cost: Normal Zoo admission prices apply.
6. Go on an urban park crawl
Public playgrounds in Auckland, New Zealand
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: visit our Top 10 Playgrounds Page.
Cost: FREE (apart from your transport costs)
7. Take your little super heroes to the library for free holiday fun
Auckland Public Libraries
Saturday 7 to Sunday 22 July 2018
Auckland Libraries have put together a great range of events to keep kids busy these holidays, all related to the theme “Building Heroes“. Choose from Star weaving, Superhero science, Heroix with Asterix, Superhero boot camp, and more. Find out what activities are on at your local library here.
9. Teach the kids how to cook
Teach your kids how to cook their favourite dishes at home these holidays.
Fancy going out for lunch, you can go with them to Pizza making class at Goode Kid’s Club.
Go on a cooking class together with your older kids at Pasta School at Goode Brothers
Auckland Museum, Parnell, Auckland
Saturday 7 July (Sold out), Sunday 8 July (Sold Out), Monday 9 July (Tickets available), Wednesday 18 (Tickets Available), Thursday 19 (Tickets Available) and Friday 20 July (Sold Out) 2018
Things are going bump in the night at Auckland Museum. Voices are heard. Shadows are moving. The objects are coming to life!
Grab a torch, wander the darkened galleries and come face to face with a multitude of characters with stories to tell. You may meet a dinosaur, a Pacific navigator, a suffragette, an ancient Egyptian servant, a warrior princess, a statue with attitude, a nurse, some soldiers and a whole lot more. Who knows what you might discover!
Tickets: $30 per person.
Todd Foundation Creative Learning Centre, Auckland Art Gallery
Saturday 7 July to Sunday 16 September 2018: 10:00am to 5:00pm
Take the kids to make a recycled cardboard home at the lastest exhibition From Pillars to Posts: Project Another Country by artists Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan. You can leave the cardboard homes you create to be part of the model city in the exhibition, or you take them home with you.
Rainbow’s End, 2 Clist Crescent, Manukau, Auckland
Saturday 7 to Sunday 22 July 2018: 10:00am to 5:00pm daily
School holidays is all about creating fantastic memories with your family and friends and what better place to do this than Rainbow’s End. There’s something for everyone these holidays with live entertainment everyday, a brand new show in the Motion Master and of course all the rides!
Child Superpass $49, Adult Superpass $59, Kidz Kingdom Pass: $32. Family discounts available – please see Rainbow’s End website
Auckland Botanic Gardens. 102 Hill Road, The Gardens, Auckland
Saturday 7 July to Sunday 22 July 2018
Gardens open 8:30am to 4:30pm.
Drop in holiday activities: 10am to Noon on certain days, refer to their website at:
www.aucklandbotanicgardens.co.nzThere are lots of FREE DROP IN SCHOOL HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS on most days at Auckland Botanic Gardens. Choose from: Creating your own mini terrarium or sprout creatures, nature walk treasure hunts, making forest leaf creatures, learn about Kauri and more. Plus pack a picnic lunch to enjoy relaxing in the gardens.
Cost: Entry to the gardens and the holiday activities are both FREE
Aotea Square Ice Rink, Aotea Square, Queen Street, Auckland
Saturday 7 July to Sunday 22 July 2018: 10:00am to 10:00pm
Aucklandlive.co.nz Tickets available at the rink
Your winter wonderland in Aotea Square Ice Rink is back with a series of fun events. Skate or slide against the backdrop of downtown Auckland and experience the magic. For the first time, an Ice Bar will be open to all ages offering cocktails and mocktails.
Aotea Square Ice Rink Tickets*: Children (under 12 years) $16; Adults; $21; Family pass (1 adult + 2 children) $49; Family pass (2 adults + 2 children or 1 adult + 3 children) $55.
15. Celebrate Bastille Day
Remuera Village, Remuera, Auckland
Saturday 14 July 2018
Bastille Day in Remuera with a kids designated area with a bouncy castle, face painters, glitter artists and balloon blowing. For the adults there is a French food market, stage entertainment, market stalls, Citroen show, music, street entertainment, fashion show and loads of scrummy street French food.
Cost: FREE family event
16. Take part in the Dino Quest up Sky Tower
Sky Tower, Corner Victoria and Federal Streets, Auckland
Saturday 7 July to Sunday 22 July 2018: 10:00am to 3:00pm
Go on a quest to become a ‘DINO ranger’, uncover bones and be immersed in dinosaur activities up Sky Tower.
- See where the dinosaur foot prints lead you
- Save the baby dinosaurs from the lava flowing volcano
- Be brave – don’t get ‘eaten’ by the lift
- Uncover bones in the pit of sand and complete huge dinosaur puzzles
Plus, look ‘out’ there might be someone watching you… Then accept the coveted DINO Ranger badge for bravery. Have a roaring good time these school holidays!
Cost: Usual Sky Tower admission fees apply. Children under 6 are FREE;
Children aged 6 to 14 years $12; Adults $29
Torpedo Bay Navy Museum, 64 King Edward Parade, Torpedo Bay, Devonport
Museum opening hours: Daily from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Holiday fun sessions on weekdays at 10:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm and 2:30pm
navymuseum.co.nzOn weekdays take the kids to take part in the “Dazzle Bugs” school holiday activities at the museum. Plus afterwards the museum has a fun outdoor playground right next to their cafe to keep everyone happy. You can turn up on the day for the holiday activities, but bookings are recommended on 09 445 5186 or email email@example.com to get the time slot you would like.
For more ideas of what else you can do in Devonport read more here.
Cost: Entry to the museum is FREE. “Dazzle Bugs” holiday activity is $3 to $8.
18. Visit one of Auckland’s black sand beaches
Who doesn’t love going to one of Auckland’s wild black sand beaches on a winters day? If you are lucky your family may even have the beach almost to yourself. There are plenty to pick from, some of our favourites are:
- Piha for a walk on the beach and a short climb up Lion Rock for a stunning view, Bring your lunch or try The Piha Cafe.
- Bethells -Te Henga for a play on the beach and in the enormous sand dunes. The Bethells Cafe is shut during winter, so make such you bring some food from home with you.
- Muriwai to explore and to see the ganet colony. If you get hungry the Sand Dunz Beach Cafe is only a short stroll back from the beach
- Whatipu is at the end of a long gravel road, but it is worth the drive. Keep a look out for the caves to explore on your walk too.
- Karekare for a walk and play on the beach.
Remember to dress warmly and to watch the tides so you don’t get stuck.
Cost: FREE apart from your transport to get there.
19. Check out the school holiday fun at Butterfly Creek
Butterfly Creek, 10 Tom Pearce Drive, Auckland Airport
Saturday 7 July to Sunday 22 July 2018: 9:30am to 5:00pm
Keep the kids entertained these School Holidays at Butterfly Creek and Save 10% when booking online! Butterfly Creek is the perfect place to hang out these holidays. There’s heaps to do regardless of the weather as they are mostly under cover. There is an amazing array of animals to see – plus fun Arts & Crafts, the roaming dinosaur and special entertainment including Epic Entertainers (Spiderman & Spidergirl) & Monty the Monkey!
Cost: Usual admission charges apply. Book online to save 10% off an all attractions pass
20. Explore a different part of Auckland: Orewa & Silverdale
Instead of leaving Auckland for the holidays, take the family on daytrips to discover a different part of Auckland and be a tourist in your own city.
These holidays spend a day discovering Orewa and Silverdale. Here are our pick of the Top 11 things to do in Orewa & Silverdale on a family day out.
Snowplanet, 91 Small Road, Silverdale, Auckland
Saturday 7 to Sunday 22 July 2018
Have fun together as a family snow tubing at Snowplanet. Its the perfect winter family activity that everyone in your family will be able to do. Snow tubing is easy to do and fun for all ages.Or you could try skiing or snowboarding at Auckland’s only indoor ski slope Snowplanet.
Cost: Usual admission charges apply
Sunday 8 July 2018
10am to 4pmTakaparawhau Reserve / Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park, 19 Hapimana Street, Orakeimap AND
11am to 4pm: Pukewīwī / Winstone Park, 1129 Dominion Road, Mt Roskill map AND
Noon to 4pm: Manu Tukutuku / Randwick Park 137 Shifnal Drive, Manurewa map
Manu Aute Kite Day celebrates the universal tradition of kite flying across Tāmaki Makaurau, with events happening simultaneously in Ōrākei, Puketāpapa (Mt Roskill) and Manurewa. Watch the sky fill with kites of all shapes and sizes, symbolically connecting heaven and earth. There are plenty of opportunities for kite flyers of all ages to send their messages to the heavens.
There are lots of other events on for Matariki in the school holidays. To see them all go to: www.matarikifestival.org.nz
Cost: FREE family event
23. Go out for a family dinner
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 Auckland’s best kid friendly restaurants here.
24. Go to Ambury Farm for a free family day out
43 Ambury Road, Mangere Bridge, Auckland
Open daily: 8:00am to 6:30pm
Take the kids to see sheep, goats, pigs, turkey, cows, chickens, peacocks. Plus the Ambury lambs are due in mid July so if you visit at the end of the holidays, you may be lucky and see the baby lambs. Plus there is plenty of bird watching opportunities. Bring your picnic for lunch and a ball to play some games. You may want to bring your gumboots in winter. For family farm walk and foreshore walk maps click here
25. Visit the FREE Enchanted Winter Snowglobe
SKY City Main Plaza, 90 Federal Street, Auckland
Saturday 7 July to Sunday 22 July 2018: 10:00am to 8:00pm
Opens until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays
Walk inside the giant seven meter high snowglobe, complete with a snow machine to experience an enchanted winter. With magical lighting, park benches, trees and blowing ‘snow’, Aucklanders will be able to take a snapshot of the winter magic by grabbing a shot on the photo booth inside the snow globe. Each snowglobe experience is for up to 15 minutes.
Ballerinas will be performing every Friday and Saturday from 5:30pm – 7:30pm, along with classical pianist and singer, Olivia Drake, performing from 5pm – 8pm every Friday and Saturday night. An ice sculptor will also be on site every Friday from 6pm, creating a new sculpture each week.
Cost: FREE entry.
26. Learn about science at the fun Science Roadshow at MOTAT
MOTAT, 806 Great North Road, Western Springs, Auckland
Saturday 7 July to Sunday 22 July 2018: 10:00am to 5:00pm
Celebrating 30 years of science on the roads of New Zealand, the Science Roadshow is making a stop at MOTAT for the July school holidays. There are hands-on science experiments, activities and live demonstrations including some brain-stretching, stomach-churning, and mind-blowing learning.
Cost: Normal MOTAT admission fees apply
Book a table to sell their toys at one of these Auckland Kids Markets:
- The Kids Only Market in Western Springs on Saturday 7 July
- Takapuna Kids Market on Saturday 14 July
- re: Generate Kids Market in Birkdale on 5 August
- Howick Kids Market
Or they can donate their toys that are in good condition to:
28. See the Bug Lab at Auckland Zoo before it closes
Auckland Zoo, 99 Motions Road, Auckland
Saturday 7 July to Sunday 26 August 2018
Don’t miss the blockbuster science exhibition from Te Papa and Weta Workshop at Auckland Zoo. Featuring massive 3-D bug models within four magical chambers, Bug Lab is a spectacularly immersive and interactive experience for all ages that offers visitors the unique opportunity to learn from the genius of bugs.
Read about our visit to Bug Lab hereTickets to Bug Lab: Kids under 4 years old are FREE; Children $13, Student $16.50; Adult $18.50; Family Pass – 1 adult and 2 children $36.
29. Enjoy a free school holiday activity at a shopping centre
Visit one of Auckland’s shopping centre for some FREE school holiday fun.
- Superhero Craft Activity at Silverdale Mall
- Community & I – Live street art event and arts for kids at Hunters Plaza
- Superhero craft activity at Highbury Shopping Centre
- Craft fun with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,apparances from Monty the Monkey and more at Westfield St Lukes and Westfield Albany
- Pirate craft activity at Coast Plaza
- My Little Pony Play Zone at Northwest Shopping Centre
- A scavenger hunt at Lynnmall
- Out of this world fun in week 1 and Lego parties in week 2 at Shore City
- Free movies and popcorn at 10:30am on weekdays at Milford Centre
- School holiday fun with HEIHEI at Westfield Manukau
- Too Cool For School fun with cartoon drawing and more at Glenfield Mall
- Magical school holidays at Botany Town Centre
Cost: FREE, but bookings required for some shopping centres.
30. Watch a family movie
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:
- The Incredibles 2
- Belle and Sebastian: Friends for Life
- Hotel Transylvania 3 – A Monster Vacation
- Duck Duck Goose
- Show Dogs