Many holiday makers are heading across the ditch to explore our beautiful island neighbour, New Zealand. The country’s largest city, Auckland is fast becoming a popular spot for families, with its gorgeous harbourside location and many kid friendly attractions. If you find yourself heading to Auckland with the kids in tow, check out our list of family favourites that are guaranteed to keep everyone happy.
Touted as the best in New Zealand, Auckland Zoo hosts the largest collection of native and exotic animals in the country. Set on 17 hectares of lush parklands, just minutes from central Auckland, kids will love seeing all their favourite animals including tigers, elephants, lions, giraffes, cheetahs and chimps. Enjoy the daily zookeeper talks or choose from the many behind-the-scenes experiences on offer, from walking with cheetahs to feeding giraffes or patting rhinos. For a wild night time adventure, join the zoo’s popular safari, where you can tuck into a classic Kiwi barbeque and watch many nocturnal animals come out to play.
One of the most eye-catching features of Auckland’s spectacular skyline is the impressive Sky Tower. At 238 metres, the tower remains the tallest man-made structure in the country. Head on up to experience breathtaking 360 degree views of the entire city and beyond. You can also dine at the tower’s unique revolving restaurant, Orbit. If its adrenaline pumping fun you are after, take a stroll along the dizzying SkyWalk – all fully harnessed of course, or consider venturing on the free falling SkyJump, but try not to blink or you might miss it.
Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium
Check out New Zealand’s largest collection of sharks, stingrays and seahorses at Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium. Set on the waterfront of Okahu Bay, the aquarium showcases over 30 live animal exhibits, including an impressive penguin colony. The kids will love exploring the unique underwater viewing tunnel where they can come face to face with sharks or the touch pools where they can hold a real live starfish. The brave can even jump in the shark tank to go swimming with these incredible ocean predators, while the penguin discovery enocunter can have you getting up close and personal with gorgeous penguins.
Auckland is proudly home to New Zealand’s first and only all year indoor snow resort. Just 20 minutes drive north of the city, Snow Planet is a winter wonderland for all ages. Enjoy skiing or snowboarding in the Terrain Park or try whizzing down the slopes on a toboggan or in a snow tube. If you’re a bit wobbly on the skis, visit the Snow Planet School for a lesson from an experienced instructor. There’s even a special place for the little ones to learn called Skiwi. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, you can enjoy a bite to eat from the onsite restaurant.
Whale and Dolphin Safari
If your kids are a little more grown up and have a good pair of sea legs, take them on a whale and dolphin safari. The enjoyable ferry ride will take you through the beautiful Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, considered one of the most biologically and geographically diverse marine parks in the world. Always keep your eyes peeled for the chance to see playful dolphins and majestic whales, while enjoying the picturesque surrounds. Included in the tour will be live commentary, featuring interesting facts about the culture and history of Auckland’s Hauriaki Gulf.