West Coast, Family Activities


  • Boat Cruise ~ Glacier Country Scenic Lake Tours

    Discover the natural beauty of New Zealands West Coast on a small personalised boat tour on Lake Mapourika. The lake boasts unparalleled panoramic views of Franz Josef's Glacier and the Southern Alps, you will be left in awe of it's beauty! Your captain will provide informative commentary and stories during the cruise as well as a warming drink along the way.  The lake's glassy, calm reflective waters are surrounded by some of the last remaining Kahikatea rainforest and the back of the lake is home to the rarest kiwi on earth, the Rowi. During the cruise you will view a number of native birds from either the outside viewing platform or the inside cabin.

    Child prices for 5-15 year olds.  Under 5s go FREE.

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  • Ages 1+

    Jet Boat - Waiatoto River Safari, Haast

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  • Glacier Hot Pools - Franz Josef

    With three secluded private pools and three larger public pools surrounded by breathtaking rainforest and native wildlife, there is plenty of inspiration to invigorate your senses and realign your body, mind and spirit (or your tinana, hinengaro and wairua in Māori). These amazingly therapeutic Hot Pools – which sit at an inviting temperature of 36 - 40 degrees Celsius – are actually fed by the pure waters of the renowned Franz Josef Glacier. Ka Roimata o Hinehukatere (‘the tears of Hinehukatere'), is the traditional Māori name for Franz Josef. The story behind the name tells of Hinehukatere's lost love, Wawe who was swept to his death by an avalanche. It is said that Hinehukatere was so broken hearted, that her tears of aroha (love) flowed down the mountain and were frozen by the Gods to form the glacier.


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  • West Coast Wildlife Centre

    The true "Home of the Kiwi" in New Zealand, the West Coast Wildlife Centre on NZ's South Island is an essential stop on any holiday itinerary in the region looking for an authentic New Zealand experience! Of all the five different species of Kiwi, the Wildlife Centre is home to the rarest - the Rowi and the Haast Tokoeka - which have become endangered due to a combination of predators and habitat destruction. See these extremely cute birds face to face, all within a beautiful natural setting that encapsulates the best possible combination of New Zealand's famous flora and fauna.

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  • Ages 8+

    Quad Biking - Across Country Quads, Franz Josef

    Join us in Franz Josef for an action-packed quad bike tour to discover the surrounding rugged landscape. This is the ultimate way to view the varying terrain of the area come rain or shine. All levels of experience are welcome and no previous experience of quad biking is necessary. Your knowledgeable and professional guide will provide you with a full briefing on how to use the quads before you head off on your adventure as well as kitting you out in your safety gear.

    During the tour you will enjoy incredible views as you drive your ATV Quad Bike along glacial pathways, carved into the landscape over thousands of years.
    Driver must be 16 years +.  Children as passengers, minimum age 8 years.

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  • Ages 6+

    Franz Josef Glacier ~ Guided Walks

    Franz Josef Glacier Guides provide an incredible and memorable experience, making it possible to explore terrain normally inaccessible to non-experienced trekkers.

    Glacier Valley Walk   Ice time - 0 hours  
    Difficulty level - Easy

    This is an easy walk with no actual ice time; however, you will get up close to the ice at the terminal face.

    Heli Hike   Ice time - 2 hours  
    Difficulty level - Moderate

    This walk requires a moderate level of fitness to complete and you will be spending two hours on the ice.

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  • Kiwi Guardian Outdoor Adventures

    Get the kids outside to have some FREE family fun connecting with nature at Toyota Kiwi Guardians sites nationwide.

    Toyota Kiwi Guardians highlights family-friendly, treasure hunt style activities at specific Department of Conservation sites that encourage kids to engage with the outdoors and, ultimately, earn themselves a medal for their efforts.

    The goal of the conservation programme is to turn Kiwi kids into guardians of the land and sea.

    A total of 50 sites are operational nationwide. Families can get started on their adventure by downloading the appropriate “treasure hunt” map from: www.kiwiguardians.co.nz

    Click on the area of New Zealand nearest to where you are to find the choices available closest to home.

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  • Ages 5+

    Punakaiki Canoes - Punakaiki

    Punakaiki Canoes offers rental and guided trips into the heart of the Paparoa National Park from Punakaiki. Kayaking on the Pororari is a favourite activity for first time paddlers and families. Many choose to spend an hour or two on the river after they have visited the Pancake Rocks. We provide lifejackets, wetsuits, booties and waterproof containers for cameras or lunch. All you need to bring is sun hat, sunglasses, camera, swimsuit and towel and warm clothes. We have a range of kayaks to suit different needs, this includes doubles as well as singles.

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    • Phone: 03 731 1870
    • Location: Punakaiki, (1km north of Pancake Rocks), New Zealand
  • Fox Glacier Bike Hire

    With many areas to explore by bike around Fox Glacier Village, your family can enjoy a range of enjoyable bike trails as there are a number of options to choose from. Plus we are happy to suggest a range of bike trails for you to enjoy. Take the time to sight see at your own pace! Half and full day hires available that include bike trailers, tag along and kids bikes.

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  • Ages 2+

    Buller Canyon Jet - Murchison

    Before your jet boating adventure starts you'll walk over NZ's longest swing bridge then enjoy a thrilling 40 minute jet boat ride on the Buller River as it carves it's way through the pink granite rock of the canyons, past waterfalls and over earthquake rapids, right in the heart of historic gold mining country.

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    • Phone: 03 523 9883
    • Location: Beechwoods Complex, Main Road, Murchison
  • Shantytown Heritage Park - Greymouth

    One of New Zealand’s leading tourist attractions, including heaps of children's activities, Shantytown is a faithfully restored replica of an 1860’s West Coast gold mining town. A living monument to the hardy pioneers who forded the wildly exotic rivers and streams, and scrambled through the rugged subtropical rainforest in search of gold. Visit the old schoolhouse, shops and church, take a buggy ride, or trip on a vintage steam train. Pan for your own gold and post your cards in the still operating Shanty Town post office. School and group programs available.

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    • Phone: 03 762 6634
    • Location: 10km south of Greymouth, New Zealand
  • Golden Sands Horse & Wagon Tours - Barrytown Beach

    Offering your family the opportunity to travel in the footsteps of the early pioneers, down one of the west coast's most beautiful and unspoiled wild beach. Enjoy the following activities during your two hour experience: gem stone collecting, make damper bread, boil the billy over an open fire, wildlife spotting and photography. Note: this is a child friendly beach.

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    • Phone: 03 731 1136
    • Location: 3456 Coast Road, Barrytown, near Punakaiki
  • Coaltown Museum - Westport

    Coaltown Museum in Westport which is a town built on coal extraction from wild and remote places showcases various displays on the formation of coal, maritime history, unionism, the communities, transport and the men underground. Bringing the past to life there is a simulated underground mine and collections of photographs and objects that picture the hard daily life, not just of the miners but their families too. An informative and interesting day out.

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    • Phone: 03 789 6658
    • Location: 123 Palmerston St, Westport
  • West Coast Wildlife Centre - Franz Josef

    The West Coast Wildlife Centre is an interactive experience that brings together nature, conservation and wildlife. A great all-weather attraction that is fun for all ages, enjoy a self-guided tour and see Rowi kiwi in their natural bush walk through, or purchase their famous Backstage Pass combo ticket for a first-hand, behind the scenes look at our hatching and incubation programme.


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    • Phone: 03 752 0600
    • Location: Cnr Cowan & Cron Streets, Franz Josef
  • The Denniston Experience - (35 minutes from Westport)

    During The Denniston Experience you will take a train ride along the old coal road high above the Waimangaroa Gorge then venture 170m into the first of the historic 1880's Denniston coal mines. With state-of-the-art audio and visual effects they will simulate the harsh life of a Denniston miner. Get your chance to perform allocated miners jobs: trucker, clipper, pit props or shoveling coal. A unique family experience. Duration 2 hours. Min age 5 years.


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    • Phone: 0800 881 880
    • Location: State Highway 67, Denniston Hill Road
  • Ages 3+

    Buller Adventure Tours - Westport

    Located in the Lower Buller Gorge on SH6 surrounded by native forest, the magnificent Paparoa Mountains and the mighty Buller River we offer jet boating adventures and horse back riding. Jet boat tours will have you enjoy 1 hour on the water travelling past massive rock walls, craggy overhangs and planing across shallow river beds and our horse treks through native forest, fresh water creeks and over sandy river beaches.


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    • Phone: 0508 486 877
    • Location: 3603 Lower Buller Gorge Road, SH 6 Westport
  • Ages 5+

    Punakaiki Horse Treks

    Enjoy a 2.5 hour horseback ride through West Coast native bush as you see 300-foot-high limestone cliffs and stroll through the surf to view the magnificence of the Pancake Rocks.  Suited to all levels of riders. Minimum of two riders required.

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    • Phone: 03 731 1839
    • Location: 47 Punakaiki R.D 1, Runanga, Westcoast
Map of New Zealand
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  • 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.