7 fantastic family weekend getaway destinations near Auckland
What’s better than a long weekend? A long weekend away at some of New Zealand's best staycation hotspots.
Brings your friends, bring your whanau - and don’t forget, if you’re an existing Avanti Finance customer, you could fund your long weekend getaway with a top-up on your loan.
Auckland boasts some incredible attractions for families looking for a weekend getaway location in the heart of everything. If you can dream it, you can do it in the City of Sails. Even if you’re a local, why not try a staycation this weekend instead?
- Sky Tower. The Southern Hemisphere’s tallest free-standing building has incredible views on the way up in the lift and once you reach the top. If the kids are feeling brave, see how long they can last standing on the glass floor!
- Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s. Underwater adventures await at Sea Life. Discover the fantastic creatures under Aotearoa’s waves and watch the kids go wild as they travel through a penguin colony.
- Auckland Zoo. More a fan of turf than surf? Take the family to the Auckland Zoo, New Zealand’s largest home of local and international wildlife. Don’t forget to check out the kiwi birds before they go to bed!
- Wynyard Quarter. Work up an appetite at the local play spaces and markets, then head out for treats and eats galore at one of New Zealand’s most famous restaurants.
- Rangitoto Island. There’s nowhere quite like Auckland’s “youngest’ volcano. Surrounded by blackened lava crops and a pohutukawa forest, it almost looks like an alien landscape. Get the best views from the summit after a short walk.
Hamilton is a popular weekend getaway location because it’s so close to iconic New Zealand landmarks like Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves. But don’t be fooled! Hamilton itself has incredible shopping and playgrounds perfect for young families, as well as a zoo and museums. It’s a lot more than just a jumping off point!
- Hamilton Gardens. This green adventure zone has an incredible array of themed gardens - you never quite know what’s coming around the corner. There’s even a destination playground that’s perfect for the kids.
- Waikato Museum. If the kids groan at the idea of a museum, this one will set them right. This place is chocka with fun interactive exhibitions designed specifically for children. And don’t worry - there’s always one of the touring exhibitions to view for the adults as well.
- The All Blacks, Marlborough savs and Lord of the Rings: for a lot of our overseas visitors, those are the top 3 things they know about NZ, so it’s no wonder Hobbiton is such a popular visit. Check out this Aotearoa icon while the crowds are still away.
- Waitomo Caves. These fantastical caves are proof that magic is real - or at least, that’s what you can tell the kids. Explore the caves and caverns under the ethereal glow of the resident glow worms.
- Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari. Love native wildlife? Maungatautari is the place to go if you enjoy getting up close and personal with native birdlife and tuatara.
Rotorua is famous for its geysers and hot pools. But if you’re not a fan of the geothermal, Rotorua is also home to heaps of kid-friendly adventure activities like zorbing, mountain biking and luging. More than enough to keep you and the sprogs busy for a weekend away!
- Rainbow Springs. Perfect for a whole-day adventure for the whole family, featuring animal encounters, carnival rides and the incredible Bird Show.
- Skyline Luge. It’s not a visit to Rotorua without a go on the luge! Take the gondola on the way up for an incredible view, then race your whanau on the way back down on the luge.
- Get lost in Rotorua’s famous hedge maze and enjoy the incredible kids’ activities along the journey.
- Redwoods Treewalk. Clamber among the canopies along 23 suspension bridges cast between the majestic 100-year-old trees of the Redwood Forest.
Head to the surfing capital of New Zealand and enjoy big waves and beautiful beaches. Kayaks, SUPs and surfboards abound in this laid-back rural town, but don’t be fooled: there’s heaps to do besides the waves. Spend a whole weekend away without even touching salt water with the incredible natural sites surrounding Raglan.
- Surf lessons. Not a surfer? Try it on for size at the Raglan Surfing School, which also provides family lessons appropriate for the littlest members of your crew.
- Bridal Veil Falls. The waves aren’t the only impressive water features around Raglan! Bridal Veil Falls is a must-see for anyone visiting for the weekend, and best of all? The track to the top of the 55m falls is suitable for buggies too.
- Karioi Volcano. Up for a bit more of a trek, but with a huge payoff? Try the Karioi walk - a 2 to 3 hour hike that takes you all the way to the peak of a 2 million year old extinct volcano.
- Nikau Cave. Waitomo isn’t the only place in NZ with glow worms! Nikau Cave and its attached cafe offer tours that take you through a working farm and a native rainforest before you hit the cave itself. Inside, you’ll discover incredible natural rock formations and, of course, the glow worms themselves.
Whitianga is a fantastic place to base yourself for exploring the wider Coromandel Peninsula, with Hahei, Cathedral Cove, Hot Water Beach and New Chums Beach just a short drive away. There are some fantastic family-friendly activities closer to home though, so don’t be afraid to ditch the car and take a walk instead during your weekend away.
- Whiti Farm Park. Get up close and personal with heaps of friendly farmyard beasties and some more exotic creatures as well. An awesome time out for the whole whanau.
- Banana Boating. Imagine yourself strapped to an inflatable raft while you’re whipped through the stunning waters of Cathedral Cove. Oh, and all your friends and family can come along for the ride too. Sounds like fun? Check out the banana boating adventures at Whitianga.
- Mercury Bay Museum. Get face to face with history at the Mercury Bay Museum, featuring artefacts from Maori history, the Endeavour and James Cook, and the local history of Whitianga itself.
- Whitianga Fun Zone & Adventure Park. Now here’s an adventure with something for everyone. If you’ve ever wanted to enjoy archery, clay bird shooting, paintball, quad bikes and laser tag all in the same weekend, Whitianga Fun Zone & Adventure Park has you covered.
- Family Friendly Horse Treks. Sometimes the best place to explore New Zealand is from horseback. Whitianga has heaps of treks with local guides to show you the ropes (or reins), and there are even some suitable for toddlers too.
6) MT MAUNGANUI
‘The Mount’ is considered a playground for the urbanites of Auckland, especially in summer. You can catch some waves, grab some great food, have a walk around the boulevard and just enjoy the sights. It’s a fantastic place for an entire weekend away too, with adventures for both adults and kids.
- Mount Beach rock pools. The local beach at The Mount is bursting with rock pools filled with fascinating surprises for the kids. See if they can name and spot all the local sealife that hangs out in them!
- Self-guided bike tours. Rent a bike with a child seat and explore the 9km Waikareao Estuary Walkways with your little one in tow - no stroller required.
- Marshall’s Animal Farm. Deer, pigs, cows, sheep, pheasants, horses - if it’s fluffy, furry or feathered, you’ll find it at Marshall’s Animal Farm. An awesome experience for kids (and adults) of all ages.
- Rocktopia. It’s safe to say that every child seems to have a little monkey in them. Let them unleash their climbing skills at Rocktopia - and if you’re not a fan of the rocks? They also do wakeboarding and white water rafting adventures too.
If you’ve travelled to the Bay of Islands, you’ve probably passed through Whangarei. But this regional capital of the Northland region is well worth a visit all of its own - it’s a real hidden gem. There’s the Whangarei Falls, Mount Parihaka and heaps of restaurants, shops and galleries to visit as well. And, if you can drag yourself from all that, Paihia is just an hours’ drive away.
- Kiwi North. Check out the most iconic of our local birdlife at Kiwi North.
- Ruakaka Beach. Would it be a weekend away without a family beach trip? Build sandcastles and soak in some rays at Ruakaka beach.
- Adventure Forest. This one is for the thrillseekers! Clip yourself to a zipline and zoom through the forest canopy at Adventure Forest.
- Kauri. The enormous kauri at the AH Reed Kauri Park have been around for more than 500 years! Enjoy the incredible walks that end at the 26 metre high Whangarei Falls and listen out for the kukupa, tui and riroriro.
- Monster Scooters. Take a monster truck. Take a scooter. Mix them together and you get a monster scooter. Now slap them into a whole adventure park designed to make the most of their off-road capabilities, and you get a seriously fun family day out. Check them out at HeadsUp Adventures.
There’s heaps of awesome adventures to be had right here in New Zealand, and they can all be funded with a quick top-up on your existing loan with Avanti Finance. Apply now and get the cash you need for a fantastic weekend away in just a few days.
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