Auckland Attractions for Children
(Auckland, North Island, New Zealand NZ)
The city of Auckland is certainly a reliable holiday destination for families, with plenty of attractions to fully occupy children for days on end. Based within the central Western Springs area, alongside the Jaggers Bush Reserve and the Seddon Fields, Auckland Zoo really is a must-see attraction for families. This 40-acre / 16-hectare zoo was established in the 1920s and has changed greatly from its early days.
The Glenbrook Vintage Railway and Farm is another reliable bet for families, as is Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World, which lies within the grounds of the MJ Savage Memorial Park / Orakei Domain. Water parks in New Zealand don't come much better than the Mount Albert Aquatic Centre, while for thrills and excitement close to Auckland, the Rainbow's End theme park in nearby Manukau City comes with plenty of funfair-style rides and fun attractions.
Based roughly an hour to the north and within the town of Warkworth is Sheep World, where the wool heritage of New Zealand is very much celebrated. Hamilton Zoo is further away and to the south, suiting those prepared for an early morning start.
Address: Motions Road, Western Springs, Auckland, 1002, North Island, New Zealand NZ
Tel: +64 (0)9 360 3800
Auckland Zoo houses its innumerable animals in modern, spacious enclosures, with species being roughly grouped into themed zones. In total there are now more than 850 different animals (almost 150 species) living here, attracting in the region of 700,000 visitors each year. Worth looking out for are the kiwis and other indigenous creatures living in the BNZ Kiwi Nocturnal House, the lions and tigers in 'Pridelands', the Hippo River and the Native Frog Research Centre. Also particularly popular is the Sea Lion and Penguin Shores exhibit, along with the Primate Trail and its Bornean orangutans. Visits can be enhanced with a backstage pass, photography workshops and even 'Safari Nights', where you sleep over in the grounds, enjoying a BBQ and a guided tour at night.
Open hours: daily - 09:30 to 17:30
Admission: charges, discounts available for children, students and seniors, children five years old and under are free
Glenbrook Vintage Railway and Farm
Address: Glenbrook Station Road, Waiuku, Auckland, 1852, North Island, New Zealand NZ
Tel: +64 (0)9 236 3546
Located within the southern Glenbrook neighbourhood and next to Pukekohe, the Glenbrook Vintage Railway and Farm is a popular attraction for children of all ages. With a lovingly restored steam locomotive, countryside train journeys, friendly farmyard animals, picnic facilities and a playground, this is a great place to visit on a sunny afternoon, being reachable in approximately 50 minutes by car.
Open hours: October to May, Sunday - 11:00 to 16:00
Admission: charge, charge, discounts available for children and families, children five years old and under are free
Address: 183 Brymer Road, Hamilton, 2001, North Island, New Zealand NZ
Tel: +64 (0)7 838 6720
Founded in 1969, Hamilton Zoo is a fair trip from the city, being located around 112 km / 70 miles to the south and reached via the Waikato Expressway and the Auckland-Hamilton Motorway. These spacious zoological gardens cover approximately 62 acres / 25 hectares and have much to be proud of, including the country's biggest walk-through aviary, a renowned white rhino conservation programme, some rare wildfowl and an African plain with giraffes, zebras, ostriches and waterbuck. There are also two large reptile houses and a rainforest walkway, with capuchins, tamarins, lemurs and red pandas.
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, discounts available for seniors, children and families, children two years old and under are free
Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World
Address: 23 Tamaki Drive, Orakei, Auckland, 1005, North Island, New Zealand NZ
Tel: +64 (0)9 528 0603
Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World awaits visitors on the eastern side of the city, being found next to the Mission Bay Reserve. Opened in 1985 and offering views across Waitemata Harbour, this aquarium attraction features a lengthy underwater tunnel, which is some 110 metres / 360 feet long and comes with its own moving walkway, to avoid queues and prevent overcrowding. There are usually several different species of sharks, large stingrays and almost 2,000 other marine creatures living here, together with a colony of penguins from the Antarctic, housed in a chilled enclosure. Visitors will also be able to enjoy feeding demonstrations and a recreation of the hut that Captain Robert Falcon Scott used during his ill-fated Antarctica expedition.
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to 21:00, winter months - 09:00 to 18:00
Admission: charge, discounts available for seniors, children and families, children five years old and under are free
Mount Albert Aquatic Centre
Address: 38 Alberton Avenue, Mount Albert, Auckland, North Island, New Zealand NZ
Tel: +64 (0)9 815 7001
Formerly named the Mount Albert Aquatic Centre, the Philips Aquatic Centre is one of the biggest and most popular of all the water parks in New Zealand. Attractions include a large swimming pool and an additional leisure pool with inflatables, slides, a lazy river and waves. Youngsters will enjoy the toddlers' pools, while parents may like to spend some time in the sauna or steam room.
Open hours: Monday to Thursday - 06:00 to 20:00, Friday - 06:00 to 21:00, Saturday and Sunday - 07:00 to 21:00
Admission: charge, discounts available for seniors, children and students
Address: Great South Road, Wiri Station Road, Manukau City, Auckland, 1702, North Island, New Zealand NZ
Tel: +64 (0)9 262 2030
Rainbow's End is to be found a little more than 23 km / 14 miles to the south-east of the city centre, where it is a large theme park featuring many fast and thrilling rides. Notable attractions include the Invader - a giant spinning disk, the Power Surge - a big wheel with rotating seats, and the Fearfall - a controlled ascent and fast drop. Also popular is the Corkscrew Coaster, the Golf Rush mine kart ride and the Enchanted Forest Log Flume, as well as miniature golf, bumper boats and go-karts. It is worth noting that most rides feature height restrictions, which often mean that young children will usually need to be accompanied by an adult.
Open hours: daily - 10:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, discounts available for children and familles, children two years old and under are free
Address: 751 New North Road, Mount Albert, Auckland, 1003, North Island, New Zealand NZ
Tel: +64 (0)9 379 2020
Located on the south-western side of the city and sited in the Mount Albert neighbourhood, Rocket Park is a large outdoor playground with swings, slides and climbing equipment shaped like space rockets. Parents will appreciate the benches and picnic tables.
Open hours: daily - 24 hours
Address: State Highway One, Warkworth, 1241, North Island, New Zealand NZ
Tel: +64 (0)9 425 7444
Sheep World is located within driving distance of Auckland, being found just over 60 km / 37 miles to the north of the city and close to the small town of Warkworth. Families coming here will find that the journey will take approximately one hour by car and plenty of free parking is available onsite. You will be able to learn all about the New Zealand wool story, with twice-daily sheep dog shows, lots of friendly farmyard animals, a 'Wonderful Wool' exhibition and a short Eco Discovery Trail, featuring wetlands and native bushland. There is also a picnic area and Adventure Terrain, where children can run around on logs and let off steam whilst you enjoy a sandwich.
Open hours: daily - 08:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, discounts available for children, children three years old and under are free
Address: One Tree Hill Domain, 670 Manukau Road, Royal Oak, Auckland, 1005, North Island, New Zealand NZ
Tel: +64 (0)9 624 1246
The Stardome Observatory is a state-of-the-art attraction, with enormous powerful telescopes and fascinating astronomy displays. Based within the One Tree Hill Domain Park and alongside Cornwall Park, the observatory features a planetarium area, regular talks, seasonal activities and a well-stocked gift shop. A useful point of reference close by is the Dorrento in the Park conference venue.
Open hours: Monday - 09:00 to 17:00, Tuesday - 09:00 to 20:00, Wednesday to Friday - 09:00 to 21:00, Saturday - 14:30 to 16:30, 19:30 to 21:00, Sunday - 12:30 to 16:00
Admission: charge, discounts available for seniors, children and families