Family-friendly Activities

If you’re looking for some activities in Northland to enjoy as a family this school holidays. Check out some of our recommendations belolw.

Pioneer Village, Kaikohe

A great place to stop and explore when you go to Kaikohe is Pioneer Village. It’s located just 200m off the cycle trail and houses of an evolving, dynamic museum that tells the story of the whole community, from the days of first contact between Māori and European, to our more recent shared history.

Along with all its treasures there are train rides available!

We recommend a guided tour to hear the facinating stories behind the taonga on display. Cyclists will find everything they need on-site including, secure bike stands, toilets, coffee and refreshments.

Website: pioneervillage.org.nz

Bay of Islands Vintage Railway, Kawakawa

You can ride the train as part of the cycle trail as it works as a connection between Kawakawa and Opua, or you can choose to do it as a separate activity.

The Bay of Islands Vintage Railway is a heritage railway in Kawakawa. It is unique as it is the only working railway in New Zealand where the trains travel down a State Highway and right through the middle of a busy town!

The train ride is a 1.5 hour return trip departing from Kawakawa Railway Station and stopping at Taumarere Railway Station, before going over Long Bridge to Lone Cow Station at Te Akeake.

Website: bayofislandsvintagerailway.org.nz

Waitangi Mountain Bike Park, Waitangi

After riding the Twin Coast Cycle Trial why not up the adrenalin and hit the Waitangi Mountain Bike Park.

Waitangi Mountain Bike Park provides the perfect introduction to mountain biking with lots of easy, scenic trails that you can take at your own pace. It offers 30 trails of varying difficulty with great flow and features, from introductory downhill riding, jump trails, cross country and beginner trails.

The trail network, designed by Jeff Carter from Southstar Trails, has grown rapidly over the past 2 years and the trails cater to all levels of ability. There are plenty of fast, flowing berms, rollers and jumps. Grade 2 and 3 runs are so well built, they’re still fun for more advanced riders.

Website: ridewaitangi.nz

Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Waitangi

No trip to Northland is complete without a visit to New Zealand’s most important historic site, Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Often referred to as the Birthplace of our Nation, Waitangi is home to the spot where the Treaty of Waitangi was first signed in 1840.

Explore the two contemporary museums, the historic Treaty House, Te Whare Rūnanga and traditional Māori waka taua. Admission includes a guided tour and cultural performance and is free for kids under 18!

Website: waitangi.org.nz

Pompallier Mission & Printery

Kororāreka/Russell, New Zealand’s first capital and once known as ‘The Hellhole of the Pacific’ is oozing with history! Just a short ferry ride from Paihia, this quaint seaside town has many interesting historic sites and heritage buildings. One such heritage building is Pompallier Mission and Printery. From 1839, Pompallier Mission and Printery was the hub of the Catholic mission in the country, its ground-floor printery producing prayer books in te reo Māori by the thousands. Gain a fascinating step-by-step insight into nineteenth-century printing and bookbinding.

Website: visitheritage.co.nz

Parrot Place, Kerikeri

Meet Elmo the dancing macaw and his friends at Parrot Place in Kerikeri as you wander through glorious subtropical gardens and enjoy the entertaining antics and colourful plumage of a huge variety of exotic parrots from around the world.

The Parrot Place is a Bird Display and Breeding Centre in Kerikeri. It’s home to approx. 300 birds from all over the world and a successful breeding and rearing programme.

You will find everything you need on-site including a picnic area with a playground and a kiosk serving up hot and cold drinks, snacks, and ice cream.

Website: theparrotplace.co.nz

Manea Footprints of Kupe, Opononi

If you’re spending time on the west coast, be sure to take a trip to Manea Footprints of Kupe and discover the story of the Kupe, the great Polynesian explorer.

Manea Footprints of Kupe offers you a unique cultural encounter, journeying into Te Ao Māori, the Māori world. Embark on a 75-minute multisensory journey of guided storytelling – through art, taonga (cultural treasures), film, performance, digital interaction, and the splendour of Hokianga’s natural surroundings.

Website: maneafootprints.co.nz

Otehei Bay, Urupukapuka Island

We wowed by the turquoise waters of Urupukapuka Island. Jump on a quick ferry transfer to Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island from Paihia or Russell. Explore this beautiful island recreational reserve with teeming birdlife, native bush and extensive walking tracks.

Pack a picnic or dine at the restaurant at Otehei Bay. Hire kayaks or paddleboards from Bay of Islands Kayaking.

Website: exploregroup.co.nz

Discover the Bay Cruise, Bay of Islands

Encounter diverse wildlife in their natural surroundings and keep an eye out for dolphins, whales, birdlife and seals on the Discover the Bay cruise.

Discover spectacular scenery and learn about the area’s rich culture and history with full commentary from a local skipper. When conditions permit, get up close to the dramatic cliffs at Cape Brett and travel through the iconic Hole in the Rock on Motukōkako.

Website: exploregroup.co.nz

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