Feel like your family is stuck in an exercise rut and need some ideas other than a visit to your local school playground or park? We rarely think to act like a tourist in our own city, but there are plenty of interesting things to do if you give it a go.
Here are some great activities you can do in some of New Zealand’s main regions that will keep the whole family entertained:
Slide down a mountain
Just because there is no snow in Auckland doesn’t mean you can’t slide down a hill; use Mt Victoria instead! Catch a ferry to Devonport, climb Mt Victoria and slide down on a sturdy piece of cardboard. Then walk over to North Head and explore the old military tunnels.
Climb a volcano
Auckland has 48 volcanic cones, work your way through them and see how many you can climb before the end of the year. To get you started, try climbing Mt Eden (Maungawhau) in central Auckland and One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie) in Epsom, or pack a lunch, take a ferry to Rangitoto for the day and hike to the top.
Learn a new sport
Learn a winter sport that you can do all year round! Indoor exercise activities mean that poor weather can’t interfere with your plans. Learn to ski or snowboard at Snowplanet in Silverdale, or give ice skating a go at the Paradice Ice Rinks in Avondale and Botany. You can either book your family into lessons, or just give it a go yourselves in a public session.
Take the cable car
Walk to Lambton Quay and catch the Wellington Cable Car to the top of the Botanic Garden. Explore the Kelburn Lookout, the cable car museum and the surrounding gardens.
Learn something new
Get in a decent walk and expand your knowledge at the same time with a visit to the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Participate in every interactive exhibit you come across, then follow it up with a walk along the Wellington waterfront.
Take a walk in the bush
Visit the popular Orongorongo Track for a 5.2km easy bush walk which showcases many of our beautiful native trees. When the weather is warm, there are also swimming holes at the end of the track where you can cool off.
Go fly a kite
Head up to Victoria Park at the top of the Port Hills on a day with some decent wind and fly kites together – make sure everyone starts off with a decent run-up to get the kites into the sky in the first place! If you want to make an all day activity out of it, help the kids to build their own kites; although you might have to bring along some store bought ones just in case the homemade ones don’t survive!
Create a mini scavenger hunt to collect different things at a local park (such as Hagley Park) or a beach (New Brighton or Sumner). Include items such as shells, rocks, twigs, moss, bark, flowers, leaves… Then when you get home, help them create a collage or mini terrarium out of their collection.
Check out the bike park
Westburn Bike Park (located in Westburn Reserve, Burnside) is not just your average bike park; this cycle training playground is set up like a mini road system complete with roundabouts, give way and stop signs and pedestrian crossings. Aimed at younger children up to around 10 years old, this free attraction is a great way of starting to teach them the road rules while having fun!
Go wildlife spotting
Dunedin has some of New Zealand’s most amazing wildlife within just 30 minutes drive of the city. Hire a car, grab a tourist guide and some binoculars, and venture out to see what you can find. Yellow Eyed Penguins, Fur Seals, Dolphins, the Royal Albatross…
The 307 hectare Orokonui Ecosanctuary is also well worth a visit. The wildlife reserve is a place where a number of endangered species have been reintroduced; you may even spot a Kiwi!
Scale the world’s steepest street
Baldwin Street is recognised in the Guinness Book Of World Records as being the steepest street in the world. If you feel up to a little competition, have a family race to the top; you will all have a great accomplishment to brag about.
Have a sandcastle competition
Bundle up some buckets and spades into your backpacks and go for a walk between St Clair Beach and Lawyers Head (just over 4.5kms), then find a decent spot to have a sandcastle building competition. Don’t forget to take a picnic lunch as all that digging will make everyone hungry!
We’d love to hear where you get active around your region – feel free to add your comments below. We also asked people on Facebook and there are heaps more great suggestions here…