Southland, Family Activities

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  • Stewart Island Village and Bay Tour

    Jump on one of our comfortable and modern mini buses and get your camera ready, because you are about to experience one of New Zealand’s most beautiful areas. The slow, simple lifestyle of this quaint little town is a point of pride amongst the locals, but they still love inviting visitors in to share knowledge, take photographs and enjoy the plethora of scenic walks available in this gorgeous area. 

    The guides are also passionate about showing you the best of Stewart Island and its surrounds, and allow you plenty of opportunity to ask questions and explore the points of interest along the way. Among these points of interest, you will visit the stunning Rakiura National Park entrance at Lee Bay, admire beautiful Horseshoe Bay and stand in awe of the amazing views of Paterson Inlet from Observation Rock.

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  • Ages 8+

    Stewart Island Experience :: Guided Walk

    On the Stewart Island Experience, the small-group guided walks to Little River will allow you to experience the tranquillity of this amazing Island while also contributing to the Stewart Island Rakiura Community and Environment Trust (for each person completing the walk, five NZ dollars will be contributed to the Trust).

    During your informative walk, you will learn about Stewart Island's historic sawmilling industry and the modern-day paua and oyster industries en route to Lee Bay. Your friendly guide will then lead you through amazingly tall native forests and along stunning coastline to Little River. You will learn about the native flora and fauna, and how the local residents are preserving the abundant bird population. You will also learn of the unique cultural and natural heritage of Stewart Island.

    Summer months only, departing 6pm.  Suitable with older children.

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  • Stewart Island Ferry

    This fabulous destination is Stewart Island – New Zealand's most sought after eco-tourism haven. The beautiful uncharted coastline grants the beholder a contrasting view of harsh rocky scenery, alongside stunning, golden sand beaches. The Island was granted the Māori name, Rakiura, meaning land of the glowing skies – so named because of the marvellous skyline at sunset and sunrise.  The beginning of your adventure will see you cruising via catamaran – fully equipped for comfort and enjoyment. The one-hour crossing of the Foveaux Strait allows you time to scan the glorious landscape for hidden wildlife, and this will leave you amazed at the abundance of marvellous marine and bird life that occupies this part of New Zealand.

    Child price for 5-14 year olds.  Under 5s are FREE.

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  • Ulva Island Explorer

    Stewart Island from the water is spectacular, and your cruise around Paterson Inlet will give you the best vantage point to see the amazing scenery of hidden coves and pristine beaches. With full commentary, you will learn about the fascinating early history of the area, including information about the local Māori population, European settlement and the whaling that took place here. The skipper and nature guide will answer any questions you may have, allowing you to develop a thorough understanding of this amazing part of the world.

    During your cruise, be sure to keep an eye out for some of the local wildlife, including fur seals, penguins, dolphins and mollymawks, as well as a variety of other bird and sea life.

    Afterwards, you will disembark at Ulva Island for a 45 minute, specialist-led, guided nature walk around this amazing wildlife sanctuary.

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  • Transport World

    The largest private automotive museum of its type in the world, with literally hundreds of motor vehicles and petrol pumps on display. But don't worry though if you're not a motoring enthusiast! Families can also enjoy a growing wearable arts collection, movie theatre, children’s play zones and themed bathrooms which are fast becoming as famous as our vehicles.

    Find dedicated spaces for families like the Construction Zone Lego Room. Watch as your children amass themselves in piles of LEGO, or challenge themselves with educational programmes provided on iPads. Dress up and interactive fun are even encouraged on a Replica 1925 New Zealand Police Paddy Wagon. Enjoy your latte and lunch in comfort as The Grille cafe houses a secure children's play area. With so much to see, let us entertain you for a few hours or the whole day.

    Bill Richardson Transport World is the largest private collection of its type in the world. Home to over 300 vehicles, a wearable arts collection, children's play zones, The Grille Cafe and themed bathrooms fast becoming as famous as our vehicles. Transport World has something for everyone.

     

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    • Phone: 03 217 0199
    • Location: 491 Tay Street
      Hawthorndale 9810
      Invercargill, New Zealand
  • Queens Park

    Queens Park is located in the centre of the city offering over 80 hectares of landscaped gardens. Offering an impressive bird aviary, animal enclosures, children’s play areas, extensive sporting facilities and cafes. Other hHighlights include a rose garden, rhododendron dell, an azalea garden, Japanese garden, dramatic tree lined walkways, bush paths through a selection of native plants and rock and herb gardens and an indoor Winter Garden that features tropical and flowering plants and cacti that are displayed in an adjoining house.

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    • Location: Queens Park Invercargill
  • Hokanui Pioneer Village and Museum

    Wander around the campus, bring a picnic and step back in time. The historic buildings onsite include a church with a lychgate, an old bank, a pioneer cottage, an early school and a blacksmith.
    We have a large complex with an office, a kitchen, souvenir counter and public toilets. 
    Inside the complex are displays of vintage tractors and cars and agricultural implements - many of which are fully restored.
    There are also displays of a saddler, communications, domestic displays, a boot maker and a variety of household and farm items.

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  • Reading Cinemas - Invercargill

    Invercargill’s First Class 5 screen cinema complex. The cinemas feature huge screens, first release movies and value packed candy bar deals! Spit the Dummy Each Wednesday morning Reading Cinemas presents 'SPIT THE DUMMY' Sessions. Relax and enjoy a movie at Reading Cinemas without worrying about feeding in the dark or those unexpected hissyfits. We'll keep the lights dimmed so that you can see what you're doing. Free entry for children under 5. *Conditions Apply. Spit The Dummy does not run during school holidays.

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    • Phone: 03 211 1555
    • Location: 29 Dee Street, Invercargill
  • Southern Outdoor Instruction

    Southern Outdoor Instruction have been providing adventure activities since 2006. We specialise in teaching a range of outdoor skills including white water kayaking, sea kayaking, rock climbing, hiking and alpine experiences. We have a passion for exploring our natural world and love sharing it with others.

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    • Phone: 03 215 4221
    • Location: 810 North Road Lornville, Invercargill
  • Curio Bay - Catlins

    Curio Bay is of international significance for its fossilised forest dating back to the Jurassic period. The tree fossils you see here are 160 million years old and the forest was alive when NZ was part of Gondwanaland. Curio Bay’s fossil forest is best viewed at low tide from the viewing platform which is only a short walk (5 minutes) from the car park.

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  • Nugget Point - Catlins

    Nugget Point has dramatic views of 'The Nuggets' that are wave-eroded rocks, likened to the shape of gold nuggets.  These can be seen from the viewing platform at the Nugget Point Lighthouse which was built in 1869-70 and sits 76 metres above sea level. Walking from the car park will take approx 20 minutes (one way) and along the way you may see fir seals, seabirds and elephant seals (Dec-Feb).  

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  • Splash Palace - Invercargill

    Splash Palace in Invercargill is one of the premier aquatic facilities in New Zealand. With a unique southern coastal theme the centre is a fun place to visit. There are few communities in the world that can boast an indoor aquatic centre of this size, within walking distance of the CBD, close to a large selection of motels and parks. The facility includes a 50m x 8 lane sports pool with a bulkhead, a leisure pool with waves and sprays, a tots’ pool and a learners’ pool. There is also a water slide, spa pool, steam room and a café, all indoors with convenient off street car parking. The Splash Palace Swim School is available for babies to adults, of all levels.

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    • Phone: 03 217 3838
    • Location: 56 Elles Road, Invercargill
  • Chipmunks Playland - Invercargill

    Welcome to Chipmunks, the indoor children’s adventure playground and café. Chipmunks is the ultimate place for children up to 11 years to go for entertainment and educational purposes. Our playland primarily consists of specialised play equipment of an extremely high standard, with protective matting and padding. We also have mazes, inflatable slides, flying fox, play stations, ball pools and a separate area for under 3s.

     

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    • Phone: 03 214 6109
    • Location: 103 Spey St, Invercargill
  • Cathedral Caves - Catlins

    These grand imposing caves are one of the well-known Catlins coastal attractions. They can only be accessed at low tide enquire at Information Centres.There is a small entrance fee (the access road is on private land), and the walk from the car park will take you through forest (approx 30 minutes walk one way).  After you come out of the forest it is only a short walk along Waipati Beach to the Cathedral Caves entrance.

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  • Ages 4+

    Hump Ridge Jet - Southland

    One of NZ’s most exhilarating jet boat experiences, jet boat across Lake Hauroko to challenge the most exhilarating journey in New Zealand, the Wairaurahiri river, 27 kilometres of grade 3, rock strewn white water rapids. When the Wild South Coast is reached, you can trek in to see the mighty Percyburn viaduct or just relax and enjoy the abundance of wildlife. A short walk over the Wairaurahiri swingbridge into Waitutu virgin forest is a must. This is a long day and the jet boating is very exciting. The trip would not be suitable for very young children. Transport to and from Otautau to start of the jet boat trip can be provided. Otautau is about 30 mins drive from Invercargill.

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    • Phone: 03 215 4221
    • Location: 17 Main St, Otautau, Southland
  • Earthlore - Catlins

    If you’re looking for a fun and unique experience for the whole family, Earthlore Insect Theme Park offers a huge variety of activities for all ages.  Our mission is to provide a ‘conservation experience‘ to enhance peoples understanding of our local eco-system and the importance of our amazing array of native insects. Open 12noon – 7pm from October to April.

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    • Phone: 03 415 8455
    • Location: 129 Hinahina Road, Owaka (5 minutes from the Owaka on way to Jack’s Bay)
  • Ages 5+

    Catlins Horse Riding

    Stunning views over several beaches and with personalized service, you will enjoy the selection of rides ranging from 1 hour treks to full day options.  With small groups and the opportunity to ride among farm animals, through native forest and along sandy beaches to play in the surf or view the sea lions, your family will have a great adventure.

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    • Phone: 03 415 8368
    • Location: Te Taunga, 41 Newhaven Road, RD1, Owaka, South Otago
  • Adventure Southland - Invercargill

    Specialists in fun outdoor education and recreation to schools, families and the general public. Organised activities include high ropes course, abseiling, giant swing, rock climbing, kayaking, caving, tube rafting, bivvy making and more. We cater for all schools from primary to tertiary level providing complete camp and activity management, including equipment, accommodation and menus. We offer activities from 2 hours to several days, and run specialised education courses, such as ‘Getting to know rivers’. Contact us to discuss your school or group’s activity session or programme.  Adventure Southland’s Challenge Ropes Course is also available for birthday parties!  Call us for more information today.

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    • Phone: 03 215 4221
    • Location: 810 North Road, Invercargill, New Zealand
Map of New Zealand
  • Central Otago
  • Bay of Plenty
  • Coromandel
  • Dunedin
  • Gisborne
  • Fiordland
  • Hawkes Bay
  • North Canterbury
  • Manawatu
  • Nelson & Golden Bay
  • Northland
  • Marlborough Sounds
  • Rotorua
  • Queenstown
  • Taranaki
  • South Canterbury
  • Taupo
  • Southland
  • Waikato
  • Wanaka
  • 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 destination2

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.