Top 10 things to do in Auckland in the summer school holidays

The City of Sails is a fantastic place to base yourself for school holiday fun. The sprawling metropolis has no shortage of things to see and do, and no doubt the kids will be keen to give it all a go. 

Surrounded by beautiful coastlines, east and west, you’re never far from a spectacular swimming spot, and downtown Auckland is always buzzing with cruise ships, tourists and artisan markets. And did someone say food? (Probably the kids). There’s cafes and restaurants galore! 

Here’s our wrap up of the top 10 things to have on your school holiday itinerary in Auckland

1.Grab a car rental from Auckland Airport

If you’re flying into Auckland Airport, the first thing you’ll need to do is get yourself a rental car. The city is big, and many of its attractions are quite spread out, so if you want to make the most of your time there, it’s best to have four wheels to get you and the kids from point A to point B (then to C and D)! 

And it just so happens we have a large selection of quality rental cars here at NZ Rent A Car.  

2.Explore Auckland Zoo

No trip to Auckland with the kids is complete without stopping by the incredible Auckland Zoo. At least 144 different species and more than 1400 animals call this place home – the largest diversity of wildlife in New Zealand. 

This place is huge (we’re talking more than 16 hectares) so it’s a good idea to plan your day before you arrive to make sure you fit in all various feeding times around the zoo – and you can buy your tickets online too, no more waiting in queues! 

3.Stop by Motat

Next door to Auckland Zoo is Motat, the Museum of Transport and Technology. This is a great place to check out because while the family is having fun together, you’ll also be learning lots too! 

With various events, exhibitions and experiences on at any one time, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. From the past, to the present and future, Motat is well worth a visit.  

4.Visit Butterfly Creek

There’s nothing else in New Zealand quite like Butterfly Creek. Here you’ll find a petting zoo and a train ride as well as mythical lands where unicorns and dinosaurs roam. Then there is the phenomenal experience of the largest walk-through tropical butterfly house in the country – where beautiful butterflies will literally land on you (if you stand still enough!). 

And don’t forget to say hello to the crocodiles, meerkats and cotton top tamarins. Butterfly Creek truly is a great day out with something for kids of all ages. 

5.Check out Kelly Tarlton’s

From turtles to sharks, penguins and more, Kelly Tarlton’s is all about showcasing some of the most fascinating species of animals that live underwater. 

As you head underground to start your adventure, you’ll find a whole new world to explore, including interactive displays (have you ever wondered what a starfish feels like?). This really is a neat way to spend a morning or afternoon!  

 6.Enjoy plenty of thrills Rainbow’s End 

As New Zealand’s only theme park attraction, a trip to Rainbow’s End is a must-do, especially since it’s very convenient to Auckland Airport. 

There are over 20 rides and attractions, from the Big 5 thrill rides, to more family-friendly rides and for children 8yrs and under, Kidz Kingdom is an ideal place to play! Rainbow’s End is extremely popular during the holidays, so they do recommend you book in advance to avoid disappointment. 

7.Head up the Sky Tower for a 360 degree view of the city 

Fancy hurtling 186 metres up in the air in just 40 seconds? Well, you can if you catch a ride on the lift in the Sky Tower, and it will take you all the way up to the observation deck. Once you arrive at your destination, you’ll be treated to a spectacular, panoramic view of Auckland City. 

From the sparkling waters of the Hauraki Gulf to the east and the quietly beautiful Waitakere Ranges to the west, see if you can spot all 53 volcanoes that call Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) home.   

8.Spend a day at Auckland Adventure Park 

Phew! Next up is a very special attraction for adrenaline junkies – so if that sounds like you (or the kids), you should pay a visit to the Auckland Adventure Park in Silverdale. 

Highlights of the park include a downhill luge, a fully covered kid’s playground (complete with rides), a vertical bungy and a dual zipline! And when it’s time for a rest, you can take a seat in the 4D cinema – immersive, fun and truly unique.  

9.Visit the Auckland War Memorial Museum 

Set over three levels, Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland Museum tells the story of New Zealand, its place in the Pacific and its people. With internationally significant Māori and Pacific collections to explore, Auckland Museum is a must-see place to experience our rich culture. 

There are also a number of other amazing exhibits, from ancient worlds, to arts of Asia, volcanoes and the imaginarium – which is specially tailored for children. The museum often has visiting exhibitions too, which means you might be in for a surprise on the day you go.  

10.Explore the Hauraki Gulf by boat 

The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park is one of the most abundant and diverse marine parks in the world, so getting out on the water to explore it is a wonderful way to spend a day. 

On board the purpose-built marine research catamaran, you’ll have the opportunity to see whales, dolphins, seals, rare seabirds and more. This is more than just a typical tourist boat though, as you’re hosted by marine experts who actually conduct research during your tour, while sharing their knowledge. 

Looking for free things to do in Auckland? Download our quick guide for all the inspiration you need!


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If you have any questions or need help or advice about rental cars or your New Zealand travel plans we’re here to help you. Please contact us

New Zealand Free Phone: 0800 800 956

Australian Free Phone: 1800 771 302

Other international enquiries. Find your nearest New Zealand rental cars branch.


If you have any questions or need help or advice about rental cars or your New Zealand travel plans we’re here to help you. Please contact us


New Zealand Free Phone: 0800 800 956

Australian Free Phone: 1800 771 302

Other international enquiries. Find your nearest New Zealand rental cars branch.