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

25 of the Best things to do in the July School holidays 2023 with kids

Visit the summit of Mt Wellington | Photo Credit: Auckland for Kids
Walking on the top of Maungarei / Mt Wellington | Photo by Auckland for Kids

Auckland for Kids pick of the top 25 things to do in the July school holidays 2023 with your family and children in Auckland, New Zealand. Lot’s of these are FREE or low cost too!

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

Choose from Mangere, Maungawhau Mount Eden,  Pukewīwī Mount Roskill, Maungarei Mount Wellington (pictured above), Owairaka Mount Albert, Maungakiekie One Tree Hill, Maungauika North Head, and Tangi Te Keo 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

2. Visit Auckland Museum to discover Ancient Egypt!

Night at Auckland Museum

Auckland Museum, Parnell, Central Auckland
Open daily during the July school holidays

Take your family on a journey back in time to explore the fascinating world of ancient Egypt in the spectacular new international exhibition Egypt: In the Time of Pharaohs featuring over 300 original artefacts at Auckland Museum.

The popular Night at Auckland Museum: Wonders of Egypt has now sold out for the July school holidays.

For the Dinosaur Fans you can still see Double Trouble, Peter and Barbara the T-Rex skeletons these school holidays. Plus the Treasure & Tales: Dino Wars FREE Storytimes are back for the holidays.

If you are working the museum is OPEN LATE on Tuesdays until 8:30pm so you can the kids after work.

Entry to the museum is FREE but entry to the exhibition is FREE for children under 5, $15 for children aged to 15 years and $25 for adults.


3. Celebrate Matariki in Auckland at one of these FREE events kid-friendly events

Enjoy one of the fun FREE outdoor Matariki events happening in the July School Holidays

Auckland has lot’s of FREE Matariki events happening in the July school holidays as Matariki falls on the last long weekend of the July 2023 school holidays.

Some of our favourite day time events are:
Matariki Ahunga Nui at Auckland Art Gallery 
Matariki – Ngā Whetū o te Tau Hou Stars of the New Year Planterium Show at Stardome
Matariki Hunga Nui at Auckland Museum
Matariki Live Day at Howick Historical Village

4. Visit your local Auckland Libraries for FREE Matariki inspired activities

Local Auckland Libraries
Saturday 1July to Sunday 24 July 2023
Central Auckland, North Auckland, South Auckland, East Auckland, West Auckland

Shine bright these school holidays  at your local Auckland Library and enjoy fun Ngā Tamariki o Matariki July school holiday activities for tamariki (children) and rangatahi (youth).

There are lots of fun events to choose from such as: Star Gazing with the Auckland Astronomical Society at Albany Library, Manu Aute Kite Making at Waitakere Central Library in Henderson, Jump, Jiggle, Jive at Pakuranga Library and more fun activities for kids.

Cost: FREE activities for kids at your local library.

5. Go tree climbing

Head to one of Auckland’s Parks and the kids an find the perfect tree to climb. Some of our favourite places to go tree climbing is Cornwall Park and Auckland Domain.

Cost: FREE activity


6. Take in some culture at one of the live kids school holiday shows

The Magic Far Away Tree Tim Bray

Enjoy one of the live theatre family friendly shows in the July 2023 school holidays. Choose from:

7. Take the family snow tubing and tobagganing at Auckland's own Winter Wonderland

Tobagganing at Winter Wonderland

Snowplanet, 91 Small Road, Silverdale, Auckland, North Auckland
Saturday 1 July to Sunday 16 July 2023

Have fun together as a family playing in the snow and going toboganning and snow tubing at Snowplanet’s Winter Wonderland complete with snow capped trees without having to leave Auckland. It’s the perfect winter family activity that everyone in your family will be able to do.  Snow tubing is 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 and toboganning with entry to Winter Wonderland: Kids under 2 are FREE; Children aged 5 and under are $20; Children over 5 and adults are $38 each, Add on an extra hour for $13 to $18 per person. Spectators are $11 per person.

8. Take the kids for a FREE swim

Auckland for Kids visits Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa Pool in Mangere

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.

Alternatively you can take the kids can check out the  Giant Inflatable WaterWorld flating waterpark at Cameron Pool for the July school holidays. (Note admission for the WaterWorld is $22 per person.)

9. Visit our Sea Museums and it's fun playground in Devonport

Devonport Navy Museum and Playground Photo by Auckland for Kids
Torpedo Bay Navy Museum & Playground and Cafe | Photo by Auckland for Kids

Torpedo Bay Navy Museum, 64 King Edward Parade, Devonport North Shore
Daily in the July 2023 school holidays:10am to 5pm

Bring the kids to the Torpedo Bay Navy Museum in Devonport to explore the history of New Zealand’s Navy. Meet the luckiest ship and find out how she survived three battles. Uncover the story of HMNZS Leander, hit by a torpedo in World War Two. Try on a naval uniform or two and have a go at creating a Morse code message. 

Plus when you have finished exploring the museum the kids will love playing in the nautical themed playground in front of the museum and next to the cafe. And not too far away is the fun Devonport Playground for the kids to enjoy playing at a different park.

Price: FREE but koha welcome.

Teddy Bear Picnic Sailing
Teddy Bear Picnic Sailing at the Maritime Museum

New Zealand Maritime Museum, corner Quay and Hobson Streets, Viaduct Harbour, Auckland.

There is plenty for the kids to see and do at the NZ Maritime Museum. During the holidays there is the FREE Sea Odyssey Silent Disco (now booked out). 

You won’t want to miss the Teddy Bear Picnic Sailing on the heritage Ted Ashby vessel from $18 per person.

Plus a Blocks on the Docks boat building adventure for $5 per child.

Price: Entry to the museum is FREE for Aucklanders, some of the holiday activities have charges as noted above.

10. Go on an urban playground crawl with the kids

Auckland for Kids on the colourful slides at Ariona Park

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

Go on a playground crawl with your kids for a fund day out. Discover some different playgrounds in Auckland to visit with the kids.  The rainbow coloured playground above is Aronia Park Playground.

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

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

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

Small dinosaur 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 the upcoming Kids Only Market on 22 July 2023.

Or they can donate their toys that are in good condition. (Note different shops accept different things and it changes from time to time so please call or have a look at their website to see what they accept before you go with the kids):
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, 

12. Go on an Auckland art hunt & take in the art galleries

Flox street art in newmarket photo by AFK
Flox Street Art in Newmarket | Photo: Auckland for Kids

Take the kids on an art hunt in Auckland. Discover some of Auckland’s best street art and sculptures in your neighbourhood and the City Centre.   

In Heard Park in Parnell there don’t miss the Deep Thought Winter Light Installation.

Or check out what is happening at the Arts House Trust Pah Homestead in Hillsborough or at the Auckland Art Gallery in Auckland City Centre. Or head up north and visit the Brick Bay Sculpture Trail.

13. Have dinner at one of the Night Market's in Auckland

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 PolyX Night Market is on at the New Lynn Community Centre in Auckland on Friday 7 July.

The Matariki Te Atatu Food Truck Fridays on Friday 7 July.

The Auckland Night Markets are in different Auckland suburbs each night. You can find them at:

  • Kelston (under Countdown) on a Monday from 4pm to 10pm

  • 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 5pm to 11pm

  • Papatoetoe (under Kmart) on a Friday from 5:30pm to 11pm

  • Pakuranga under the Warehouse on Saturday from 5pm to 11pm

  • Auckland CBD, North Wharf Waterfront on a Sunday from 4pm to 11pm

14. Make your own ceramics

Always wanted to have a go at Pottery, well you can now at this drop-in workspace at Clay Friends in Matakana in the school holidays Play with Clay Sessions you can have a go at making your own ceramic piece. The good news is parents can make their own piece of pottery too, not just watch the kids make it. 

July School Holiday Drop-in Sessions at Clay Friends is on Wed 10am to 5pm, Thursday to Saturday 10am to 3pm. Closed on Sun to Wed. 

Cost: $40 per person (includes 1 ball of clay, guidance, use of hand building tools, glazing and firing of 1to 2 pieces.

Make a day out of it and visit some of the other kid-friendly places in Matakana while you are visiting.

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

Ambury Farm Lamb

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

16. Go on a FREE bike or scooter family adventure

Children biking and riding scooters on the Pump Track at Grey Lynn Park | Auckland for Kids
Grey Lynn Park Pump Track | Photo by Auckland for Kids

Try out some new places go bike riding with the kids in the July school holidays. 

Our favourite places for young kids are: Western Springs Park, Tole Reserve Ponsonby, Onepoto Domain in Northcote, Avondale learn to ride track and  Greville Reserve Bike Path Forest Hill. 

For all ages we like Grey Lynn Park Pump Track, the pink Lightpath in the City, Westhaven Boardwalk, Waterview Shared Path and Tamaki Drive. 

Cost: FREE


17. Have fun at Rainbow's End Winter Lights Festival

Fairy Lights on Kidz Kingdom at Rainbow's End

Rainbow’s End, Manukau, South Auckland

Rainbow’s End is open in the school holidays on Fridays and Saturdays where you can watch the park come alive with 25+ kilmetres of fairy lights!

Winter Lights Twilights Ride are on each evening from Friday 30 July to Friday 14 July from 4:30pm to 8:30pm. Kidz Kingdom will be open for 2 to 8 year olds and accompanying adults as well as the main park for kids aged 2 to 13 years and adults.

Winter Lights Night Ride are on Saturday 15 July and Saturday  22, July in the school holidays.  Night Rides are recommended for ages 12 years plus and Kidz Kingdom will be closed.

18. Explore the Tropics at Butterfly Creek

Butterfly at Butterfly Creek, Auckland, New Zealand

Butterfly CreekSouth Auckland
Open daily during the school holidays:9:30am to 5pm in July 2023

Explore the tropics these school holidays at Butterfly Creek. Get creative with  tropical-themed arts and crafts activities to suit all ages. Pick up a Rainforest Range activity booklet with some fun colouring, word puzzles and a quiz. Make and decorate an origami bookmark to take home and learn how to draw a gecko.

Keep an eye out for our intrepid explorer entertainer who will be roaming the park on selected days, pointing out some of their exotic discoveries, sharing some fun jokes and posing for photos.

Butterfly Creek is 3/4 undercover and a fantastic place to visit no matter the weather! Keep warm in our tropical Butterfly House where you will feel the brush of fluttering butterflies all around you. Plus, you will see otters, farm animals, dinosaurs, mythic creatures, crocodiles, monkeys, and so much more.

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

19. Take the kids to the cinema

Head inside to the movies on a wet and cold wintery day to keep the kids entertained .New family movies showing in the July 2023 school holidays include: Barbie, and recently release movies include:  Elemental, The Little Mermaid, Argonauts, Cats in the Museum.

20. Let the kids choose a plant to grow in a pot indoors or in the garden

Boy gardening and watering the plants with a watering can

Let the kids discover looking after and watching a plant grow these holidays. Whether they want to plant strawberries now to eat in spring, or sweet peas to bloom into beautiful flowers, herbs for cooking there is lots of easy plants kids can enjoy nurturing and watching them grow.

If you don’t want to grow your own strawberries, the kids will need to wait until September to visit one of Auckland’s PYO Strawberry Farms.

21. Take a cruise on Auckland Harbour

Takapuna Beach looking out to Rangitoto Island in Auckland, New Zealand

Catch the ferry and walk to the top of Rangitoto

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 and get a superb view of the Hauraki Gulf, Waitakere Ranges and Hunua Ranges.

Note: The Volcanic Explorer train is no longer operating on Rangitoto, so you will need to walk to the top.

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.

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

Visit one of Auckland’s shopping centres for some FREE school holiday winter fun for the kids.  Don’t miss the Balloon Craft sessions with Trey from TV’s Blow Up! at Northwest Shopping Centre.

Cost: FREE 

23. 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.

24. Create your own Treasure Hunt at home

Family digging for treasure in the sand

Get the kids to create a fun treasure hunt throughout the house (or in the garden). Give each of your kids a few objects, prizes and toys to hide and then to make a map for their sibling to find all of the treasures.  Little kids will need your help to make the map. Once the map is made, swap it with your sibling or friends and see if they can find everything.

Don’t fancy making your own Treasure Hunt then there is a Family Treasure Hunt happening at Mission Bay  on Sunday 2 July. Entrance is by Koha to support GumBoot Friday.

Or if your kids are older and think this would be lame, then treat them to a visit at one of Auckland’s fun Escape Rooms. 


25. Cook together at home

Spend the day at home teaching the kids to cook their favourite food for lunch and/or dinner!

Kids cooking