Waikato, Family Activities


  • Waikato River Explorer

    Take a scenic boat cruise on New Zealand's longest waterway flowing through Hamilton.  The vessels are protected from the elements, with fully licensed bars on board making this a great option come rain or shine!

    You can choose from a 60 minute return cruise or a longer 120 minute return cruise which takes you upstream to the waterfall in The Narrows near Mystery Creek.

    Child rates for 5-14 year olds.  Under 5s go FREE.

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  • Ages 7+

    Escape HQ Escape Rooms

    Looking for a fun family activity to do in Hamilton? Look no further than Escape HQ ~ guaranteed to be an hour of fun, interactive and perplexing entertainment! Escape HQ is a real... read more

  • Ages 7+

    Hot Air Ballooning - Kiwi Balloon

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  • Ages 1+

    Troll Cave – Waitomo Adventures

    A surreal underground adventure for all ages. Your mission is to use your stealth, cunning and survival instincts to navigate Tom’s (The Troll's) underground lair, solve his riddle... read more

  • Waitomo Adventures – which will you choose?

    Seven unique ADVENTURE options in one breathtaking location - What will you choose? We are the experts - let us guide you deep underground with the aid of ropes, zip lines, tubes a... read more

  • Hairy Feet Waitomo

    Visit the Piopio film location for "The Hobbit; An Unexpected Journey" just 45 minutes south of the famous Waitomo Caves.
    Come and see why Denize Bluffs, a farm location in the Mangaotaki Valley near Piopio Village, was chosen by Sir Peter Jackson and why it received more screen time than any other location in New Zealand.
    Daily minivan tours take you on a journey through unusual rock formations to spectacular limestone cliffs and primeval native New Zealand forest.
    Stand in the actors' footsteps, have your photograph taken with 'Sting', hear all about the film-making process and enjoy being on a beautiful New Zealand working farm.

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  • River Riders E Bike and Bike Rentals

    Take the effort out of touring and see the sights of 'The Mighty Waikato' and beyond with a quality e-bike or bike of your choice. We have an extensive range of bikes to pick from, including the 3G Stepper Bike 'Fitness on the Go'.
    Hire includes all you need to get on your bike and go - helmets, bike locks, safety vest and cycle trail map along with expert local knowledge on where to stop along the way. Collect from our central Hamilton store or from the northern end/start of the Te Awa River Ride in Ngaruawahia.

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  • Stonehill Horse Trek

    Do you want to experience a fantastic landscape with its wild animals on the back of a horse?
    Then we invite you to discover our farm of over 1500acres!
    Situated in the beautiful Owairaka Valley, this magical experience will take you on a journey amongst grand rhyolite volcanic boulders, passed countless charming streams and infinite green rolling hills, in order to give you the ultimate taste of the Waikato region.
    Throughout the trip, this Farmland may display its unique array of semi-wild animals such as wild goats, turkeys, pheasants, black swans, Canadian geese and fallow deer.
    We cater to all riding abilities from complete beginners to experienced riders.

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  • Ages 4+

    CamJet – Cambridge Jet Boat Tours

    Speeding up the Mighty Waikato in a 350 hp V8 Jet Boat is going to get the adrenaline flowing and faces smiling.

    A unique opportunity to visit the Karapiro Dam, see amazing native bush and wildlife. Ideal for whole families, work group, friends, anyone who likes adventure, adrenaline, speed and pristine scenery.

    Choose a 15, 30 or 45 Minute Tour – experience fast and furious spins and slides, rapids and two waterfalls

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  • Ages 3+

    Extreme Edge Hamilton

    With more than 100 climbing routes ranging in height from 6-8 metres, and climbs from absolute beginner to experienced pro, there is something for everyone. They also offer ClimbZone which is a revolution in child-centred climbing and is a great place for kids to begin their climbing journey. Catering for kids from 3 years upwards, and all fitness levels, ClimbZone is one of the most inclusive family-friendly activities in the Waikato. Our colourful, ClimbZone area has 35 creatively themed walls, and a state-of-the-art automatic belay system, making it the perfect family-friendly activity suited to family outings and children’s birthday parties.

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    • Phone: 07 847 5858
    • Location: 90 Greenwood St, Frankton, Hamilton
  • Ages 5+

    The Boat Shed Kayaks

    Offering a great range of kayak trips the whole family can enjoy. You have the choice of two great daytime half day trip options for paddling Lake Karapiro or to the Hidden Karapiro Waterfalls. There are also Waikato river options and a choice of glowworm trips available too. Minimum age 5 years.

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    • Phone: 07 827 8286
    • Location: 21 Amber Lane, Lake Karapiro, Cambridge
  • Hamilton Zoo

    Located 8 km from the city centre, Hamilton Zoo works to conserve wildlife in its natural habitat. There are over 400 exotic and native birds and animal and two reptile houses in its beautiful landscaped grounds which feature enclosures as close to their natural environment as possible. Attractions include the Sumatran tigers, cheetah and white rhino. Walk through the nearly 4000 sqm aviary which is the largest free flight aviary in Australasia. There is a children’s playground and picnic and BBQ areas plus a café.

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    • Phone: 07 838 6720
    • Location: 183 Brymer Road, Dinsdale, Hamilton
  • Hampton Downs Motor Sport Park

    Hampton Downs Motorsport Park is a venue for top international motor racing - driver training- car clubs - and events where there’s an inescapable sense of excitement at Hampton Downs that will entertain the whole family! With a packed schedule there are events you may wish to check out!

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    • Phone: 09 280 6590
    • Location: Hampton Downs Rd, Te Kauwhata, Waikato
  • Waikato Museum

    For an inspirational experience, visit us on the banks of the Waikato River in the heart of Hamilton's cultural precinct. Our exhibitions and activities tell the stories of this region and include visual art, social history, tangata whenua and science.

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    • Phone: 07 838 6606
    • Location: 1 Grantham Street, (South end of Victoria Street), Hamilton
  • RIverlea Theatre

    Add a cultural experience your children will remember when you visit Hamilton, with affordable tickets to a live show. At Riverlea Theatre we have productions running most months, and these vary between musicals, drama and comedy. There's a children's musical staged each January school holidays with morning, afternoon and evening shows, and our productions throughout the year feature evening and matinee performances, with dinner and show options on the weekends. Productions for 2017 include Seussical Junior, Noises Off, Oklahoma and more. You can tell if our production is family-friendly, by checking out whether we offer children's pricing or family discounts on our iticket listing. We also offer Stagecraft classes with excellent tutors teaching drama, musical theatre and technical skills during term time; find out more by phoning Jane on 0800 800 192.

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    • Phone: 07 856 5450
    • Location: 83 Riverlea Road,
      Hillcrest, Hamilton
  • The Fun Shed - playground & cafe

    The Fun Shed offers you Hamilton's newest indoor playground and cafe.  There are large climbing structures, a big slide, bouncy playland, spinning cups, table games and so much more to discover. 

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    • Phone: 07 846 2251
    • Location: 4 Kells Place, Frankton, Hamilton
  • Water World

    Welcome to Waterworld,

    If you are in need of a fun filled day, rain or shine, come to Waterworld and see what we have to offer.

    Need to keep the kids busy? Come and relax poolside while your children shoot down the hydroslides or play on the fun inflatables (Please note: Inflatables and splash pad availability is subject to change.)

    Waterworld's outdoor Splashpad area offers a safe and fun water playground for your under 8 year olds.

    Do some serious training upstairs in our very own Club Aqua Gym or downstairs in the public swimming lanes.

    Or just come in and have a family BBQ outside in our great picnic area provided.

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    • Phone: 07 958 5860
    • Location: Garnett Avenue, Hamilton
  • Bricks 4 Kidz - Hamilton

    Bricks 4 Kidz offer a variety of programmes that provide an awesome experience that will engage curiosity and creativity.  Thinking outside the box, they provide the building blocks for each child to enjoy problem solving and imaginative play.  On offer is after school programmes, holiday programmes, an in-school field trip or to introduce your pre-schooler to the fun and learning the Bricks 4 Kidz Way.

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  • Hilton Brown Swimming School

    Hilton Brown Swimming has been successfully teaching children how to swim since 1973. Infant, pre-school and school aged children all enjoy our focus on fun and technique! A special feature of our methods is continual assessment, which means swimmers are promoted to the next stage as soon as they’re ready. Nobody gets bored and everyone works at the most appropriate learning level. Choose from group lessons, School Holiday Programmes or intensive one-to-one lessons.


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    • Phone: 07 855 8666
    • Location: 12 Queenwood Ave, Queenwood, Hamilton
  • Bowl and Social

    For an experience jam-packed with fun for all ages, head up to Bowl and Social! Open daily from 9am and Located on Level 2 of the SKYCITY Hamilton complex, The Bowlevard has Tenpin bowling and Blend Café all under one roof! A great family fun day out.

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    • Phone: 07 838 3926
    • Location: 346 Victoria Street, Hamilton
  • Classic Museum

    Classic Museum is a classic car and vintage collectables museum with a 1950s Diner on location. We have over 100 veteran, vintage and special interest vehicles on display along with an extensive range of petrol memorabilia. There is something classic for the whole family, we cater for a wide range of interests with early toys, pedal cars and pinball machines too.

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    • Phone: 07 957 2230
    • Location: 11 Railside Place, Frankton, Hamilton
  • Pirongia Clydesdales

    Our Pirongia function centre is the perfect spot for a relaxed, enjoyable day out for the family or social group. The Clydesdale wagon rides will keep guests entertained, and pony rides can be provided for small children by prior arrangement.

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    • Phone: 07 871 9711
    • Location: 1375 McClure Street (SH39), Pirongia Village. (we are only 10 minutes drive from Te Awamutu and 30 minutes drive from Hamilton City).
  • Exscite

    Hamilton’s own science centre, within the Waikato Museum is full of interactive, education and entertaining exhibits with lots of hands-on fun for the children. There are regular touring exhibitions each term plus many of their own exhibits and 30 minute science shows during school holidays. This is fun for all ages. Exscite also have a café and restaurant for food and drinks after all that exertion!

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    • Phone: 07 838 6606
    • Location: 1 Grantham Street, Hamilton (Waikato Museum complex)
  • Taitua Arboretum

    If you're looking for a tranquil picnic spot, or an opportunity to escape the bustle of the city, then Taitua Arboretum offers a relaxing retreat. The arboretum has a collection of mature trees covering 20 hectares of open pasture, lakes and woodland gardens which are linked by a network of meandering walking paths. With great views and wonderful bird life, the arboretum is ideal for a family outing or Sunday stroll. Admission is FREE.

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    • Location: From Hamilton follow SH23 west (towards Raglan) and turn left into Howden Road, then left again into Taitua Road.
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


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.