Six weeks of summer holidays is a long stretch to keep the kids safe and entertained. While there's nothing wrong with a few quiet days at home, it's a great time to get out and about with the family, too. From zoos and castles to ziplining adventures and outdoor movies, there's something here for everyone, across all of Aotearoa. Best of all, many of the attractions are free. Please note that opening hours and prices are correct at the time of writing but you should double-check before you go.

Just remember that if you need support or someone to talk to over the holidays — or any time at all — our Sonder support team is available 24/7 to chat whenever you need it.


NORTH ISLAND: ACTIVITIES WITH FREE ENTRY


Auckland

Auckland Museum
Enjoy different displays & events around the themes of Maori, Family, Natural Science, History, Lecture, Performance, Science and Photography.

Where: Auckland Domain.
Price: Open General admission is free however additional tickets may be required for special exhibitions and events.

Opening hours: Mon, Wed-Fri: 10 am - 5 pm, Tues: 10 am - 8:30 pm, Sat-Sun: 9 am - 5 pm - Sunday 10 am - 4 pm.

New Zealand Maritime Museum

Visit different exhibitions and events, or head out sailing on one of their heritage vessels.

Where: Cnr of Quay & Hobson St, Auckland.

Price: Free for Auckland residents.

Opening hours: Daily: 10 am - 5 pm.

Movies in Parks
From January to March, enjoy free movies under the stars at your local park.

Where: Locations determined by your local board (visit website).
Price: Free.
Opening hours: Fri-Sat: Jan-March 2023 starting at sunset.

Wellington

Museum of NZ Te Papa Tongarewa
Rated by Lonely Planet as one of their top 500 places on earth, New Zealand's interactive national museum is an experience not to be missed.

Where: 55 Cable St, Wellington.
Price: Free entry for everyone, charges apply to some short-term exhibitions and activities.
Opening hours: Daily: 10 am - 6 pm.

Mount Victoria Lookout

Enjoy numerous walking tracks and lookouts, with fantastic 360-degree views of Wellington City.

Where: Lookout Rd, Hataitai.
Price: Free.

Opening hours: All day, every day.

Wētā Cave and Mini Museum

One for the film buffs, Wētā cave features exhibits of props for "Lord of the Rings" & other films, plus a documentary & studio souvenirs. You can do a free tour of the cave and mini museum and choose to pay for the workshop and additional tours.
Where: Camperdown Rd, Miramar.
Price: Free entry with additional paid options.
Opening hours: Daily, 9:30 am - 5 pm.

Wellington Waterfront
This popular harbourside trail features cute shops, waterside restaurants & kids' playgrounds, as well as stunning views and art installations. You can even try your hand at kayaking or fishing.
Where: Wellington Waterfront, Jervois Quay.
Price: Free.
Opening hours: All day, every day.

Wellington Botanic Garden

From ancient forests to colourful flower beds, the Wellington Botanic Garden is a beautiful day out for the family. You can book outdoor spaces or just go for a stroll. It also has great views of the city and harbour.

Where: 101 Glenmore St, Kelburn.
Price: Free.
Opening hours: All day, every day.

The Dowse Art Museum

The exhibits change regularly at this contemporary art museum, which also offers a children's activity space.

Where: 45 Laings Rd, Hutt Central.
Price: Free.
Opening hours: Tues-Sun: 10 am - 5 pm, Mon: Closed.

Wellington Museum

This museum shares the fascinating stories of the Wellington region, all housed within a beautiful 1892 heritage building.

Where: 3 Jervois Quay, Wellington.
Price: Free.
Opening hours: Daily: 10 am - 5 pm.

NORTH ISLAND: ACTIVITIES WITH PAID ENTRY

Auckland

Sky Tower

At more than 300 metres high, Auckland's SkyTower is the tallest structure in the Southern Hemisphere! Visit the world’s highest post box and wish zone for Santa, take part in Christmas workshops and Santa photos, or brave the SkySlide, SkyJump or Skywalk.

Where: Victoria St W, Auckland CBD.
Price: From $35 for adults and $18 for children 6-14. Children 5 and under are free.
Opening hours: Sun-Thurs: 9:30 am - 6 pm, Fri-Sat: 9:30 am - 8 pm.

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
Experience the real Middle-earth with a visit to the movie set, featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films.
Where: 501 Buckland Rd, Matamata.
Price: Tours from $89 for adults and $44 for kids.
Opening hours: Daily: 9 am - 5 pm.

Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Discover an ancient world 30 million years in the making and marvel at Mother Nature’s light display.

Where: 39 Waitomo Village Rd, Waitomo Caves.
Price: Entry and boat ride from $61 for adults and $28 for children.

Opening hours: Daily: 9 am - 5 pm.

Auckland Zoo
Auckland Zoo is home to at least 144 different species and over 1400 animals. That's the largest diversity of wildlife in Aotearoa! Don't miss the special shows, either.

Where: Motions Rd, Auckland.
Price: Tickets from $24 for adults and $13 for children.

Opening hours: Daily: 9:30 am - 5:30 pm.

Stardome

The Stardome Observatory and Planetarium is a definite must-see in Auckland for all aspiring astronauts. Visit the space gallery & exhibits for just $2, or stay for the Planetarium Shows and watch the creation of the Universe. Afterwards, you can view the night sky up close with free telescopes.

Where: 670 Manukau Rd, One Tree Hill Domain, Epsom.
Price: Entry to Space Gallery & Exhibits is $2 for adults and $1 for kids. The Planetarium shows are $15 for adults and $12 for kids.

Opening hours: Daily: 9:30 am - 5:30 pm.

Rock Climbing

Get fit and have fun at one of two climbing centres in Auckland.

Where: Vertical Adventures - Glen Eden, Clip n' Climb - Mount Eden.
Price: Various
Opening hours: Various

Butterfly Creek

More than a zoo, Butterfly Creek also features a butterfly house, a dinosaur exhibit area, a playground & train.

Where: 10 Tom Pearce Dr, Auckland.
Price: Adults $29, children $16.
Opening hours: Mon-Tues: Closed, Wed-Fri: 9:30 am - 4 pm, Sat-Sun: 9:30 am - 5 pm.

Kiwi Valley Farm Park
Have a day of interactive and educational family farm fun! Horse & pony mazes and tractor rides and animal feeding are all included in the cover price.

Where: 308 Henderson Valley Rd, Henderson Valley
Price: Adults $18, children $15.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun: 10 am - 4 pm (during school holidays - not open on Mon-Tues outside of this).

Trampoline Parks

These Auckland trampoline parks will have the kids jumping up and down with excitement!
Where: Jump - Avondale, North Shore & Takanini; Flippin Fun - Westgate, GravityNZ - Auckland.
Price: Various (see websites).
Opening hours: Various (see websites).

Auckland Adventure Park
Where else can you find a downhill luge, dual zipline, vertical bungy, cinema experience and kids' play zone all in one place?

Where: 2104 East Coast Rd, Silverdale.
Price: Individual prices per ride, starting at $8.
Opening hours: Mon-Tues: Closed, Wed-Sun: 10 am - 5 pm.

Rotorua Zipline
Explore ancient native forests on a network of ziplines and swing bridges - an adventure for all ages!
Where: Fairy Springs Rd, Rotorua Central.
Price: Individual prices per ride, starting at $8.
Opening hours: Daily: 8:30 am - 5 pm.

Wellington

Wellington Zoo
Wellington Zoo is home to more than 500 native and exotic endangered animals. Check out the daily talks and animal feedings, and get up close to red pandas, capybaras, meerkats, giraffes, and even a sun bear.

Where: 200 Daniell St, Newtown.
Price: Prices from $27 for adults and $12 for children.
Opening hours: Daily: 9:30 am - 5 pm.


Space Place
Nestled on the edge of Wellington Botanic Garden at the top of the cable car, step inside and learn about planets, galaxies, stars and constellations via interactive galleries and exhibits.

Where: 40 Salamanca Rd, Kelburn.
Price: Prices from $14 for adults and $9 for children.
Opening hours: Sun - Mon, Wed - Thurs: 10 am - 5 pm, Tues, Fri - Sat: 10 am - 11 pm.

Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne

An eco-sanctuary right in the heart of Wellington, Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne boasts over 32km of walking tracks where you can spot abundant wildlife in the regenerating forest. You can also check out the indoor exhibition and see a life-size moa and learn about the natural history of New Zealand.

Where: 53 Waiapu Rd, Karori.
Price: General admission and a self-guided tour is $24 for adults and $10 for children.
Opening hours: Daily: 9 am - 5 pm.


SOUTH ISLAND: ACTIVITIES WITH FREE ENTRY

Christchurch

Christchurch Art Gallery
Alongside local and international art exhibitions, this gallery hosts several school holiday activities including art workshops and a maze.

Where: 312 Montreal Street, Christchurch Central City.
Price: Admission is free for all permanent exhibitions. Extra fees for workshops and extra exhibitions.
Opening hours: Open daily: 10 am - 5 pm and Wednesday 10 am - 9 pm.

Christchurch Botanic Gardens

One of Christchurch's most popular and well-loved attractions, the gardens have a heap of activities on over the holidays alongside floral displays, such as a paddling pool, playground, workshops, tours and a train ride.

Where: Rolleston Avenue, Christchurch Central City.
Price: Entry is free to the gardens.
Opening hours: Open daily: 7 am - 9 pm.

Air Force Museum of New Zealand

Explore the national collection of the Royal New Zealand Air Force as well as interactive exhibitions.

Where: 45 Harvard Ave, Wigram, Christchurch.
Price: Free admission to museum. Extra fees for workshops and extra exhibitions.
Opening hours: Open daily: 7 am - 9 pm.

Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities
Explore more than three thousand years of human history through an amazing collection of artefacts from Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Near Eastern cultures.

Where: 3 Hereford Street, Christchurch.
Price: Free admission to the museum. Extra fees for workshops and extra exhibitions.
Opening hours: Open Wednesday to Sunday: 11 am - 3 pm.

Rutherford’s Den

Explore and learn about New Zealand Scientist Ernest, Lord Rutherford. The centre also features multi-sensory displays and hands-on experiences

Where: 2 Worcester Boulevard, Christchurch.
Price: Free admission to the centre. Extra fees for workshops and extra exhibitions.
Opening hours: Open daily: 10 am - 5 pm.

Dunedin

Otago Museum
Discover fascinating stories of nature, culture and science at this hands-on museum. Explore the galleries, Tūhura science centre and planetarium, and watch a daily butterfly release.
Where: 419 Great King Street, Dunedin.
Price: Free admission to the museum. Extra fees for workshops and extra exhibitions.
Opening hours: Open daily: 10 am - 5 pm.

Larnach Castle & Gardens

Take a guided tour of New Zealand’s only castle (requires booking) and sit down for delicate high tea.

Where: 419 Great King Street, Dunedin.
Price: Free admission for children under 15 but adults require paid tickets.
Opening hours: Open daily: 10 am - 5 pm.

Dunedin Botanic Garden

The Dunedin Botanic Garden is New Zealand's first botanic garden and holds the status of six star Garden of International Significance. There are lots of walks to explore, with the play trail featuring a range of activities and games for children.

Where: Cnr &, Great King Street North, Dunedin.
Price: Free admission.
Opening hours: Open daily: 7 am - 7 pm.

Otago Farmers Market

Explore various vendors selling local produce, artisanal goods and snacks.
Where: 5/27 Anzac Avenue, Central Dunedin.
Price: $10 entry fee for adults and children over 13.
Opening hours: Open Every Saturday: 8 am - 12:30 pm.

SOUTH ISLAND: ACTIVITIES WITH PAID ENTRY


Flips and Tumbles

More than just a trampoline centre, Flips and Tumbles is an innovative movement centre providing classes for all levels and abilities in tumbling, parkour and trampoline.

Where: 12 Musgrove Close, Wigram, Canterbury.
Price: Classes and workshops require payment and booking - see website for more.
Opening hours: Session times vary - see website.

Kelly Club
Kelly Club Sports run more than 75 holiday programmes throughout New Zealand, Kids are given the opportunity to do the things they enjoy in a supportive and encouraging environment.
Where: All over NZ - see website.
Price: Classes and workshops require payment and booking - see website for more.
Opening hours: Session times vary - see website.

International Antarctic Centre

Enjoy an incredible interactive experience at this educational museum. Experience ice and snow, meet Little Blue Penguins, buckle up for the famously exciting Hagglund ride, take an awesome simulated 4D Antarctic cruise and watch Happy Feet 4D. It's the closest you'll get to Antarctica without mounting your own expedition!
Where: 38 Orchard Road, Christchurch.
Price: General admission fee is required (from $49 for adults and $29 for children). Extra fees for additional workshops or exhibitions.
Opening hours: Open daily - 9 am - 4:30 pm.


Arion Farm Education Park
Get up close to a heap of farm animals including sheep, llamas and alpacas, pigs, goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, roosters and peacocks. You can also experience animal feeding and pony rides.

Where: 890 McLeans Island Road, McLeans Island, Christchurch.
Price: General admission fee is required (from $16 for adults and $7 for children). Extra fees for pony rides and animal feeding.
Opening hours: Open daily - 10 am - 3 pm.

Christchurch Gondola
Ride the gondola for views over the city, Lyttelton Harbour, and beyond, and enjoy walking Tracks around the Gondola Summit Station.

Where: 10 Bridle Path Road, Heathcote Valley, Christchurch.
Price: Price from $35 for adults and $15 for children.
Opening hours: Open daily - 10 am to 4 pm.

Museum of Toys and Collectibles
Collectors and history buffs will love this. See NZ military dioramas, a collection of automotive toys and doll collections.

Where: 36 Manchester Street, Christchurch Central.
Price: A general admission fee is required and extra fees for additional workshops or feeding sessions.
Opening hours: Open daily: Monday - Saturday 9 am - 5 pm and Sunday 10 am - 4 pm.

Dunedin

Penguin Place

Who doesn't love adorable little penguins? This conservation reserve offers guided tours to view yellow-eyed penguins. As the world’s first entirely tourism-funded conservation programme, Penguin Place offers a uniquely ethical tourism experience.
Where: 45 Pakihau Rd, Harington Point.
Price: A general admission fee is required (from $58 for adults and $18 for children) and there are extra fees for additional workshops or feeding sessions.
Opening hours: Open daily: 11 am - 6 pm.

Lan Yuan Dunedin Chinese Garden
Tour an authentic Chinese garden and tea house celebrating Chinese influence on Otago’s historical heritage.

Where: 39 Queens Gardens, Central Dunedin.
Price: $10 entry fee for adults and children over 13.
Opening hours: Open daily: 10 am - 5 pm.


If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.

Information sourced from: Tots to Teens, NewZealand.com, Wellington NZ.

Image credit: Hobbiton Tours.

All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.

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