The BEST things to do in the 2020 July school holidays with kids

Devonport playground | Photo: Auckland for Kids

25 of the Best things to do in the July School holidays 2020 with kids

Auckland for Kids pick of the top 25 things to do in the July school holidays 2020 with your family and children in Auckland, New Zealand.


1. Go on an urban playground crawl

Devonport playground | Photo: Auckland for Kids

Auckland playgrounds
Central  Auckland, North Auckland, South Auckland and West Auckland.

In the last school holiday we weren’t allowed to go to the playgrounds with COVID restrictions in play. Now we can make up for it try out all the new and kids favourite playgrounds in Auckland. Why not make a day of it and go on a playground crawl. 

If you are looking for ideas of playgrounds to visit with your family, check out Auckland for Kids review of Auckland Playgrounds here.

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


2. Let the kids stay up late and go to the Matariki Star Light Trail

Smales Farm Matariki Star Trail

Smales Farm, Teheroto Road, North Shore, North Auckland
Daily 1 July to 15 July 2020: Recommended time to go is in the evening once it get’s dark
Matariki Star Light Trail event info

Search for the 7 giant stars that form the Matariki cluster that are beautifully illuminated by renowned light designer, Angus Muir at Smales Farm.  Although the Stars are there in the day time, we think it is easier to find them when it’s dark, so you are best to go with the kids in the evening!

There are also other light shows for Matariki like the Vector Lights on the Auckland Harbour Bridge on Sat 4 July, Sun 5 Jul and Fri 10 July, Sat 11 July and Sunday 12 July.

Cost: FREE


3. Go on a Treasure Hunt at MOTAT and see the new exhibitions

MOTAT treasure trail

MOTAT, 805 Great North Road & Meola Road, Western Springs, Central Auckland
July 2020 school holidays: 10am to 4pm daily

There’s plenty of fun activities to occupy the whole family for a day out at MOTAT throughout the winter school holidays! 
 – Treasure Hunt: Hidden in Plain Sight holiday activity;
 – MOTAT’s LIVE Village Day on Sun 19 July;
 – Science Photographer of the Year exhibition;
 – Slice of Life: The World Famous Dunedin Study exhibition; and 
 – Take a tram ride between MOTAT’s two museum site

Cost: Usual MOTAT admission charges apply and include all school holiday activities and exhibitions.

4. Shine Bright at Auckland Libraries FREE kids Matariki inspired activities

Local Auckland Libraries
Saturday 4 July to Sunday 19 July 2020
Central Auckland, North Auckland, South Auckland, East Auckland, West Auckland

Shine bright these school holidays with fun activities at your local Auckland Library involving light and illumination, opportunities to be a star and Matariki inspired events for school-aged tamariki.

Cost: FREE activities for kids at your local library.

5. Take the family snow tubing at Auckland's own Winter Wonderland

Tubing at Snowplanet

Snowplanet, 91 Small Road, Silverdale, Auckland, North Auckland
Saturday 4 July to Sunday 19 July 2020

Have fun together as a family playing in the snow and snow tubing at Snowplanet’s Winter Wonderland complete with snow capped trees without having to leave Auckland. Its the perfect winter family activity that everyone in your family will be able to do.  Snow tubing fun for all ages and requires no skill. Or if you are up for something more challenging you could try skiing or snowboarding at Auckland’s only indoor ski slope Snowplanet.

Cost for 1 hr snow tubing with entry to Winter Wonderland: Kids under 2 are FREE; Children aged 5 and under are$19; Children over 5 and adults $35, Add on an extra hour for $12 to $17 per person.

6. Have a laugh with the kids at a family improv-comedy show

Covert Theatre, 51 Mackelvie Street, Grey Lynn Central Auckland,
Sunday 5 July,  Sunday 12 July and Sunday 19 July : 3:30pm to 4:15pm

Sunday Giggles is a new fun family show at Covert Theatre’s for all ages. Mums and Dads you can bring your kids to a show and don’t need to worry if it’s going to be age appropriate. The language is clean and the comedy is clean AND funny!

Tickets: $5 per person

7. Take the kids for a FREE swim

Boy at a swiming pool

Auckland indoor heated pools
Central Auckland, North Auckland, South Auckland, East Auckland, West Auckland
July school holidays.  (Please check the pools operating hours before you go.)

Yay, the swimming pools are open to enjoy again for the July school holidays.Enjoy one of Auckland Council operated indoor pools where children and teenagers aged 16 years or younger get to swim for FREE.

8. Take a ferry and walk to the top of Rangitoto, Te Rani-i-totonga-a-Tama-te-kapu

Fullers 360 Ferries go to Rangitoto each day in the holidays. 
Check out their timetable here before you go:

Rangitoto is only a 25 minute ferry ride from the city centre. You can walk to the top of Rangitoto on foot, or if the kids are tired then there is a 4WD train tour to the top that travels through the lava crops and pohutakawa forest. Then the kids just need to walk part of the way to the top of the summit. At the top you get a superb view of the Hauraki Gulf, Waitakere Ranges and Hunua Ranges.

Tips: There are no places to buy food on the island so remember to bring your lunch from home.  You are best to bring a backpack or baby carrier for young children and leave strollers at home.

9. Visit the miniature houses at The Warkworth Museum

Miniature hogwards castle

Daily in the holidays:10am to 3pm
Event details

See the miniatures at Warkworth Museum and their interpretation of the famous “Hogwarts Castle” from the Harry Potter series of books.

Price: Children $3, Adults $7 and a Family is $15

10. 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.

Book a table to sell their toys at one of these Auckland Kids Markets:
– The Kids Only Market at Sandringham Community Centre on 18 July 2020.
– Howick Kids Market on 18 July 2020
Regenerate Kids Market in Te Atatu Peninsula on Saturday 29 August 2020

Or they can donate their toys that are in good condition to:
Red Cross Shops in Browns Bay, Henderson, Mt Eden, Onehunga, Orewa, Panmure, Royal Oak, Sandringham, Takanini, Waiheke Island and Wairau Park
– Salvation Army Family Stores in Albany, Avondale, Balmoral, Birkenhead, Botany Downs, Browns Bay, Clendon, Glen Innes, Glen Eden, Glenfield, Henderson, Howick, Manukau, Manurewa, Massey, Mt Eden, Mt Roskill, Mt Wellington, New Lynn, Onehunga, Otahuhu, Papakura, 

11. Have dinner at one of Auckland Night Markets

Food at the Auckland Night Market

Take the family out for dinner at one of the night markets in Auckland during the school holidays. 

The Auckland 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 on a Wednesday from 5pm to 11pm
Henderson (under Kmart) on a Thursday night from 5pm to 11pm
Papatoetoe (under Kmart) on a Friday from 5pm to 11pm
Pakuranga under the Warehouse on Saturday from 5pm to 11pm
Birkenhead (Highbury Centre) Sunday from 4:30pm to 11pm

The Winter Special Te Atatu Night Markets are on Fri 17 July at the Te Atatu Peninsula Community Centre.

The Catalina Bay Farmers Mid-Winter Night Market is on Sat 18 July at the Catalina Bay Farmers Market in Hobsonville Point.

12. Check out the new exhibitions and events at Auckland Art Gallery

Auckland Art Gallery, Corner Kitchener and Wellesley Streets, Central Auckland

Auckland Art Gallery has lots happening for kids and families in the school holidays. Entry to the gallery is FREE, however some activities and exhibitions have extra charges.

 – Sara Hughes: All my favourite shapes interactive exhibition in the Creative Learning Centre.
 – 1000 Paper Cranes challenges
 – Japanese Woodblock workshops
 – Zine Lino Printmaking workshop
 – Zine Zone Drop in
 – Civilisation, Photography, Now exhibition
– Enchanted Worlds: Hokusai, Hiroshige and the Art of Edo Japan
– Honestly Speaking: The Word, the Body and the Internet

13. Climb to the top of one of Auckland's mountains and take in the view

Mangere Mountain

Choose from Mangere, Mount Eden, Mount Roskill, Mount Wellington, Mount Albert, One Tree Hill, North Head, and Mount Victoria.
Open during daylight everyday in the school holidays

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 a family challenge of visiting a few of them in one day.

Cost: FREE

14. Take the family to the Drive-In movie

Motat Drive-in movies

MOTAT, M2, Meola Road, Western Springs Central Auckland

Enjoy a memorable movie experience with your family on the largest outdoor screen in the country at MOTAT. There are food trucks on site, or you can bring your own food from home!

MOTAT Family Saturday night Drive-In Movies on in the school holidays are:
 – Jurassic Park – Saturday 4 July
 – The Goonies – Saturday 11 July
 – Babe – Saturday 18 July

If you are wondering what going to a Drive-In Movie with the kids in winter is like, read about Auckland for Kids visit to MOTAT’s Drive-In Movie here.

Tickets are $30 per vehicle.

15. Go on a miniature train ride

Manukau Live Steamers

Manukau Live Steamers, Mangere Centre Park, Robertson Road, Mangere South Auckland
Sundays (weather permitting) 11am to 3pm
Event info

The Manukau Live Steamers is one of Auckland best-kept secrets. Kids will enjoy the miniature train rides. There’s plenty of space in the park for a picnic, and a train ride is great fun for the whole family.

Cost: $2 per person.

16. Enjoy a family creative upcycling workshop at The Re-Creators

Re Creators woodwork holiday workshop

Various dates and locations in the July school holidays

ReCreators is a social enterprise that runs a variety of fun craft and woodwork classes for children and families over the school holidays. The fun classes are lead by a diverse and talented collective of upcycling artists who offer a variety of workshops that promote creativity, mindful making and sustainability. Kids get to reuse a variety of materials including: wood, cardboard, plastics, tin as well as natural fibers and materials.

17. Take the kids to the cinema

Trolls movie

The movies are open again for these school holidays! Head inside to the movies on a wet and cold wintery day to keep the kids entertained .

New family movies showing in the July school holidays include:
– The Trolls World Tour
– Red Shoes & The Seven Dwarfs
– SamSam

18. Go to Ambury Farm for a FREE family day out

Fathers Day Picnic at Ambury Regional Park

43 Ambury Road, Mangere Bridge, Mangere South Auckland

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. There is always plenty of bird watching opportunities. Bring your picnic for lunch,  a ball to play some games and your gumboots if its a wet day. 

Plus if you are looking for more to day have a read of Auckland for Kids recommendations of the best things to do in Mangere and Manukau.

Cost: FREE

19. Go on a FREE bike or scooter family adventure

Auckland for Kids visits Pink Bike Path

Try out some new places to ride the bike with the kids in the school holidays. 

Our favourite places foryoung kids are: Western Springs Park, Tole Reserve Ponsonby, Onepoto Domain in Northcote, Avondale learn to ride track and  Greville Reserve Forest Hill. For all ages we like pink Lightpath in the City, Westhaven Boardwalk, Waterview Shared Path and Tamaki Drive.  

Cost: FREE

20. Go horse riding on one of Auckland's beaches

Horse riding

Two of our favourite places to go horse riding on Auckland Beaches are Muriwai Beach Horse Treks and Pakiri Beach Horse Rides.

Both horse treks cater for all levels of experience and have friendly guides who help your children gain confidence on a horse. Plus both rides go through stunning scenery and along the beaches.

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

Inflatable basketball game

Visit one of Auckland’s shopping centres for some FREE school holiday winter fun for the kids.  

Glenfield Mall: Basketball  Challenge, Wave Rider, Face Painting, Magic Show, Bouncy Castle, Paw Patrol and Craft Area.
WestCity: Learn about the life cycle of butterflies and create your own wind chimes

Cost: FREE

22. Take a tour of the Chelsea Sugar Factory

Chelsea Sugar Factory, 100 Colonial Road, Birkenhead, North Auckland
Tours run from 10am to 4pm from Monday to Friday and are one hour long, bookings are required.

Take a tour of the sugar factory, then enjoy the free interactive kids zone. Plus afterwards you can enjoy coffee in the Sugar Cafe while watching the kids play in the playground outside.  They also have classes available for kids in the school holidays at the Edmonds Baking school onsite.

If you don’t want to go on a tour, you can just go and enjoy the playground and interactive kids zone too.


23. Learn how to surf


Aotearoa Surf, Te Arai Beach, North Auckland
July school holidays: limited times available

Ever wished you had learned to surf? Well it’s never too late.

Why not take your whole family on a private or group surfing lessons at Te Arai in Auckland. Although it’s winter you will be given wetsuits and a rash vest to wear during your lesson to keep warm! You don’t need a surfboard either as you will be provided with one to use during your lesson.


24. Check out all the new things happening at Auckland Museum

© Ralf Schneider - Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Auckland Museum, Auckland Domain Central Auckland
Open daily in the July school holidays: 10am to 5pm

There is lots happening at Auckland Museum for the kids and teenagers in the July school holidays. Plus remember it is FREE entry for Aucklanders to visit the Auckland Museum. Charges do apply for some of the additional experiences, but it is still a fun visit event if you don’t add these onto your visit.

– See the Wildlife Photographer Exhibition | FREE.

– Make paper stars for the Matariki Paper Star | FREE

– Go on a Secret Museum Tour | $30 per person and bookings are required.

– Older kids will enjoy the Virtual Reality Antarctica VR Experience | Tickets from $10 per person & bookings are required.

– Go on a Wildlife Selfie Safari | $15 per person

25. Visit a Butterfly House

Butterflies at Butterfly Creek

Butterfly CreekSouth Auckland
4 to 19 July 2020: Open daily in the school holidays 9:30am to 5pm

Take the kids to see the butterflies in the warm Butterfly House at Butterfly Creek these school holidays.  There are daily animal encounters in the school holidays so you can see the other animals.  Butterfly fans can make a butterfly mask to take home too. 

You can save 15% for the July school holidays at Butterfly Creek when you book an individual all attractions pass online too.

Read more about Auckland for Kids visit to Butterfly Creek here.