North Canterbury, Family Activities

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  • Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools

    Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa includes relaxing rock pools, soothing sulphur pools - at varying temperatures, private pools, family pools and kids' activity areas, along with saunas and steam rooms.
    The network of rock pools are linked via gentle rapids and shallow waterways with the temperature varying between 33 to 37 degrees.  The  natural water comes straight from a nearby thermal bore and is rich in minerals such as sodium, chloride, boron, calcium and carbonate.

    There is also a kids' area for the little ones with two hydroslides, a dumping bucket, water fountain, cave, waterfall and lizard slide, you'll hear squeals of delight and see giggling children of all ages.  Under 3 year olds are FREE.

    Pass includes:

    • Use of all outdoor thermal pools
    • 4 Waterslides, Lap Pool & kids Activity Area
    • Family activity pool
    • Private Pools/Saunas & Steam
    • 4 Waterslides including New Zealand’s largest Aqua Thrill Ride
    • 22 Outdoor Thermal Pools
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  • Ages 3+

    Whale Watch - Kaikõura

    Situated against an absolutely stunning backdrop that takes in views from the alps to the ocean is a pretty special township called Kaikõura, where Whale Watch operates its tours year round.  This is NZ's whale watching capital and Whale Watch is NZ's only vessel based whale watching company that offers your family an exciting up-close encounter with the Giant Sperm Whale in their natural environment. With a purpose built vessel, from which you will enjoy your tour you are provided with great viewing and photographic opportunities, and limited not only to viewing whales but potential encounters with NZ Fur Seals, Dusky Dolphins, Albatross and other marine life.
    Note: Tour departures are weather dependent and the minimum age for children is 3 years and over.  We reserve the right to raise our minimum age requirement if we feel sea/weather conditions are not suitable for younger children

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  • Ages 5+

    Bird Watching - Albatross Encounter | Kaikoura

    The amazing albatross is one of the most recognised sea birds in the world. With an amazing wingspan of up to 3.4 metres (the largest wingspan in the world), these majestic birds are hard to miss but are still a fairly rare sight. Thanks to the Kaikoura Albatross Encounter by boat, it is easy to visit these remarkable pelagic birds in their natural habitat.  During your (twelve passengers maximum) boat tour, you will get up close to Northern and Southern Albatross, penguins, petrels, shearwaters and many other rare and common seabirds.

    The two and a half hour tour caters for ages five and up (although, if the conditions are suitable, 3-4 year olds may be admitted at the captain’s discretion) and is family friendly.

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  • Ages 8+

    Swim with Dolphins - Kaikoura

    Get up close to these wild marine animals on a 2.5 hour dolphin swim Kaikoura experience. Not a swimmer? You can still participate in the tour by choosing the spectator option instead!

    Dolphin Encounter Kaikoura offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to swim with the pods of Dusky Dolphins that call Kaikoura home. Along with the experienced and knowledgeable guides, you will embark on a scenic boat ride out to the open ocean onboard a purpose built vessel. The curious Kaikoura dolphins are usually interested in the boat and you may be treated to dolphins displaying their acrobatic abilities both above and below the water! If you have chosen the swimming option, now is your chance to jump into the water and swim alongside these incredible creatures!

    For the dolphin swim Kaikoura activity, it's important that you feel confident swimming in the open ocean, and having previous snorkelling experience is a plus. Floatation devices are available to use upon request and the expert Dolphin Encounter Kaikoura guides will provide you with all the necessary equipment and safety instructions for an enjoyable experience.

    There is a minimum age of 8 years for swimmers, although younger children can come along and stay on the boat (must be accompanied).

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  • Ages 3+

    Family Kayak Pedal Tour - Kaikoura

    Looking for some engaging Kaikoura family activities? Look no further than a family kayak tour with Seal Kayak Kaikoura! Embark on an unforgettable Kaikoura sea kayaking adventure along the coastline to view the New Zealand fur seals. This tour is suitable for all ages three-years and above, with no previous kayaking experience required!

    The Kaikoura seal kayak family tour is designed to cater to all ages and skill levels, ensuring that everyone in the family can participate and have a fantastic time. The experienced guides at Seal Kayak Kaikoura will provide a thorough safety briefing and equip you with all the necessary gear, so you can feel confident and comfortable throughout the tour.

    The only Kaikoura kayak tours to use Hobie pedal kayaks, the whole family can enjoy trying out the pedals, with each child accompanied by an adult in a double kayak. Hobie pedal kayaks are very easy to use and conveniently hands-free! For added peace of mind, families with children under six-years will also have a private guide to themselves.

    As you paddle along the picturesque coastline, keep your eyes peeled for the incredible marine wildlife that calls Kaikoura home. From playful seals to majestic dolphins and even the occasional whale sighting, you never know what you might encounter on this adventure.

    Kaikoura kayak tours are not only a thrilling experience but also an educational one. Your knowledgeable guides will share fascinating insights about the local marine ecosystem, making it a great opportunity for your family to learn and appreciate the importance of conservation.

    The Kaikoura seal kayak family tour is the ideal activity for families looking to create lasting memories together. Book your tour today and embark on an unforgettable adventure that will leave your family with smiles and stories to share for years to come.

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  • Ages 3+

    Kaikoura Kayaks Family Tour

    Looking for family activities in Kaikoura? Dive into nature on a three-hour guided family kayaking tour in Kaikoura! This experience is the perfect chance to immerse your family on the thrills of the marine world, with a 100% guarantee of seeing New Zealand Fur Seals and chance encounters with dolphins, penguins and other marine life.

    As you paddle along the picturesque Kaikoura coastline, your experienced guides will ensure that everyone, from beginners to experienced paddlers, has a safe and enjoyable experience. This Kaikoura sea kayaking tour moves at a leisurely pace, so you will have plenty of time to take snaps of the surrounding scenery and wildlife. Tours are also tailored to suit specific families' needs, and your professional guides will be right beside you throughout the experience.

    Kaikoura Kayaks is renowned for its top-notch equipment and knowledgeable guides who are passionate about the area's marine life. As you glide through the crystal-clear waters, keep an eye out for playful dolphins, majestic seals, and even the occasional whale. This is an unforgettable opportunity to experience a Kaikoura kayak tour that will leave your family with memories to last a lifetime.

    Don't miss out on one of the best family activities in Kaikoura. Book your guided Kaikoura sea kayaking tour for the family today and create unforgettable moments with your loved ones.

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  • Ages 3+

    Hanmer Springs Attractions

    The gateway to the natural beauty of Hanmer Springs is the historic Waiau Ferry Bridge, home of Hanmer Springs Attractions. Our activity base overlooks the river, canyon and bridge... read more

  • Off Road Adventure - Kaikoura

    Glenstrae Farm 4 Wheeler Adventures offer an unforgettable Kaikoura off road experience that takes you through native bush, rugged terrain and rich farmland. Your expert guide will navigate from Glenstrae Farm to the Haumuri Bluffs, where you may be lucky enough to spot sunbathing fur seals.

    As your Glenstrae Farm 4 Wheeler Adventures guide revs up the Yamaha Viking 6 engine, you'll be joined by other visitors on the Kaikoura quad biking adventure. As a group, you'll experience breathtaking views of the surrounding Kaikoura mountains and rugged coastline on a 2.5 hour off road tour. The Glenstrae Farm UTV tours are designed to cater to families with young children, or those looking for an exciting alternative to quad biking.

    Whether you're a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or simply looking to explore the beauty of Kaikoura in a unique way, Glenstrae Farm 4 Wheeler Adventures offers the perfect choice. Book your UTV tour now and get ready to embark on an off-road adventure like no other.

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  • Ages 2+

    Alpine Jet Thrills

    A thrilling NZ adventure the whole family can share! Experience the shallow, twisting streams, turquoise water and swaying broom of the mighty Waimakariri. Jet boating is a truly u... read more

  • Alpine Crazy Putt - Hanmer Springs

    Alpine Crazy Putt is Hanmer Springs central mini golf course. Located just past the Heritage Hotel, this course has been recently rebuilt with lots of new and exciting holes!  Stage 2 will include water features and landscaping. Watch this space!

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    • Phone: 03 3155177
    • Location: 1 Conical Hill Road, Hanmer Springs, North Canterbury
  • A-Maze-N-Golf - Hanmer Springs

    Come and solve the mystery of the Lost Temple and be in for lots of surprises along the way or play our Gold Rush themed 18 hole mini golf course. Located on the Main Rd into Hanmer Springs. Just a 2 minute drive or 5 minute walk from the village centre.

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    • Phone: 03 315 7272
    • Location: 1 Fraser Close, Hanmer Springs
  • Alpine Village Cruisers - Hanmer Springs

    Alpine Village Cruisers are the fun transport around Hanmer Springs! Built for 2 to 6 people you just sit back and pedal gently around the flat streets of Hanmer Springs Village. Enough storage to take a picnic and head to Hanmer Forest, or use as infant seats with seat belts.

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    • Phone: 03 315 5177
    • Location: Opp Heritage Hotel, Conical Hill Road, Hanmer Springs
  • Oxford Farmers Market

    The Oxford Farmers' Market is a friendly country Farmers' Market where the seller is the producer.  There is a wide range of meats, fruit, vegetables, flowers, fresh fish, baking, preserves, sauces, brunch and coffee from more than 25 stalls for locals and visitors alike.  Open year round, every Sunday 9am-noon.

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    • Location: Main Street, Oxford, North Canterbury
  • Hanmer Springs Adventure Centre - Mountain Bike Hire

    Quiet roads with stunning Alpine backdrops provide easy access to the mountain bike tracks, forest and hills around Hanmer Springs Village. The forest rides are particularly suited to families - you can ride from 20 minutes to 2 hours around the weaving mountain bike tracks, and it's mostly flat.

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    • Phone: 03 315 7233
    • Location: 20 Conical Hill Road, Hanmer Springs
  • Waipara Valley Farmers Market

    The Waipara Valley Farmers market are a passionate group of growers and producers from the local Waipara Region, sharing great produce to locals and visitors alike.  All our Stallholders come from the region and offer you a delightful selection of fresh and hand made produce.  Operating every Saturday (year round) from 9am-12noon.

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    • Location: 66 Carters Road, Amberley
  • Weka Pass Railway - Waipara

    Weka Pass Railway is a historic rural railway that uses both vintage steam and diesel-electric locomotives on 12.8 km of scenic line through the unique limestone beauty of Weka Pass out of Waipara. The public trains run every 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month, every Sunday in January and most public holidays. Pre-schoolers travel for free and family passes are available.

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  • Bains Classic Motor House - Amberley

    Bains Classic Motor House specialises in classic and sports cars from all eras. Motorbikes, both modern and classic also grace the showroom floor, along with a select range of models, books, art and memorabilia. The Castle Park complex where Bains is located also has a Café and children’s play area, and is perfect for a coffee or light lunch after visiting.

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    • Phone: 03 312 9396
    • Location: 16 Ashworths Beach Road, Amberley
Map of New Zealand
  • Central Otago
  • Auckland
  • Bay of Plenty
  • Christchurch
  • Dunedin
  • Coromandel
  • Gisborne
  • Fiordland
  • Marlborough Sounds
  • Manawatu
  • Northland
  • North Canterbury
  • Queenstown
  • South Canterbury
  • Taranaki
  • Southland
  • Taupo
  • Wanaka
  • Waikato
  • Wellington
  • West Coast
  • Whangarei
  • Bay of Islands
  • Tauranga
  • Gisborne
  • Hamilton
  • Napier
  • Kapiti
  • Palmerston North
  • Whanganui
  • New Plymouth
  • Arrowtown
  • Te Anau
  • Akaroa
  • Ashburton
  • Hanmer
  • Kaikoura
  • Methven
  • Mt Cook
  • Oamaru
  • Tekapo
  • Timaru
  • Abel Tasman
  • Motueka
  • Nelson Lakes
  • Blenheim
  • Picton
  • Catlins
  • Gore
  • Stewart Island
  • Central Plateau
  • Invercargill
  • Cromwell
  • Greymouth
  • Hokitika
  • Westport
  • Glenorchy

Our favourite destinations…

Auckland

New Zealand’s economic heart and biggest city is also an exciting family visitor destination, situated on a sunny harbour with city beaches just minutes away from the CBD. Orientate yourself by heading down to Viaduct Harbour, wandering the waterfront, checking out the super yachts or enjoying the waterfront restaurants. Nearby is the must-visit Sky Tower along with excellent and kid-friendly museums and tons of exciting activities!

Wellington

Wellington is New Zealand’s capital. Here you will find New Zealand's parliament buildings, including the 'Executive Wing', more well-known as 'The Beehive' due to its distinctive shape. Another icon to look out for is the Wellington Tram, which was the main means of public transport between 1878 and 1964.

Christchurch

With a population of around 400,000 Christchurch, in Canterbury, is the South Island ’s largest city, yet much of it has the feel of a small town. Perhaps that’s why it’s known as the Garden City but with the expansive Hagley Park, Botanic Gardens, Port Hills, River Avon and numerous beaches the city certainly has an open, relaxed feel that’s hard to beat.

Queenstown

With its well-deserved reputation as New Zealand’s activity adventure capital you’ll never run out of activities and things to do in Queenstown, but you may run out of time! With breathtaking scenery, activities and festivals, cafes and restaurants, skiing and snowboarding, shopping and wineries, this lakeside alpine resort rates as one of the world’s top vacation destinations for all ages and seasons.

Rotorua

Rotorua sits on the shore of Lake Rotorua, one of sixteen lakes in the area formed by hundreds of thousands of years of eruptions from the Taupo Volcanic Zone. The area is renowned for its geothermal activity and top of any activity list is to see the bubbling mud pools that are around the region for yourself. The Waimangu Volcanic Valley offers a first hand insight into the devastation caused by the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera and is a great place to discover steaming volcanic craters and bubbling, spitting  pools of mud!

Nelson and Golden Bay

The Nelson and Golden Bay regions, at the top of the South Island, boast enviable sunshine hours, glorious sandy beaches, safe swimming spots, lots of wildlife to look out for, and Abel Tasman National Park - an absolute must to explore, on foot, by kayak, your own craft or watertaxi.  Nelson is home to a vibrant arts and crafts community with a fabulous Saturday market, and is close to award-winning wineries and family-friendly bike tracks to take you around the coast.

Hawkes Bay

Napier was rebuilt after the 1931 earthquake and is now known as NZ's Art Deco City.  The Art Deco influence has created a unique city – nowhere else can you see such a varied concentration of art deco style. With over 2,200 sunshine hours a year, Napier is a year-round holiday destination with countless activities to entertain the kids – there's days of entertainment on Marine Parade alone, plus numerous other family-friendly trips and activities.  Add to that the beaches, walks and flat cycle paths, outdoor cafes and entertainment, and you have a perfect holiday destination!

Northland

Beautiful, unspoiled beaches, fishing, historic gum fields, kauri forests – the Far North has it all. With subtropical temperatures, it's often known as ‘the Winterless north', with warm, humid summers and mild winters.
Gateway to the Bay of Islands, Paihia is a pretty, lively beachside town and a perfect base for your family holiday. It’s your start point for Bay of Island adventures including day cruises, sailing, kayaking, swimming with dolphins and reef or wreck diving.