North Canterbury, Family Activities


  • Ages 3+

    Kayaking - Kaikoura Kayaks

    Sea Kayaking, the ideal fun activity for families visiting Kaikoura!

    Our highly stable sea kayaks allow children to safely enjoy the kayaking experience with an adult paddling right behind them.

    Enjoy paddling around Kaikoura's aquatic wonderland at a leisurely pace taking in the views and enjoying the thrill of getting right up close to New Zealands marine life.

    Our professionally qualified guides will be right beside you in your watertight kayaks as your family take snaps of playful New Zealand Fur Seals with an awesome backdrop of mountain views, craggy rocks and sheer cliff faces.

    We recommend the morning tour as the sea is generally calmer and with the best interactions with marine life.

    Paddling time is approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.

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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 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

  • 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

  • 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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  • Elemental Parties

    Elemental Rural Garden offers an in and outdoor party venue that is just bursting with possibilities!Partying at our place is like taking a step back in time and is full of life’s ... read more

  • 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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  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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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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…


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 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.


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.


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 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!


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.