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Best things to do in Northland with kids

June 7, 2023

Just a short trip from Auckland, the Northland region promises the perfect place to explore with the whole family. With a wide range of outdoor activities, interactive educational experiences plus plenty of fun for the grownups - Tai Tokerau is the ultimate whānau destination. Read on to find out some top picks for your itinerary.

Kiwi North

While much is talked about the iconic kiwi, not many people get the chance to see them. Kiwi North in Whangārei offer the opportunity to get up close and personal with the native birds. Only two hours north of Auckland, Kiwi North houses the only captive kiwi and tuatara in Northland and makes for a great first stop on the journey.

If you visit during the school holidays or on the weekend you may catch a ride on the trains and tractors operated by different clubs who call the Kiwi North Heritage Park home.

Kiwi North offers the opportunity to get up close and personal with our national bird

Kawiti Caves

Not far from State Highway 1 shortly before Kawakawa, you will find the Kawiti Caves. The caves are home to thousands of luminous glow worms and awe-inspiring rock formations.

Run by descendants of the famous Māori chief, Kawiti, since the 1950’s, the Kawiti whānau offer guided tours seven days a week which are suitable for the whole family.

Learn about the life cycle of the New Zealand Glow Worm and marvel at the sight of thousands of the tiny creatures lighting the way through the 200m long limestone cave system. Once you exit the caves, you will make your way through beautiful native bush and karst rock formations to return to base.

Kawiti Caves promises a unique experience

Further north, Waitangi Treaty Grounds offers wide-open space for tamariki to explore while completing their free ‘discovery trail’ activity given to them on arrival. The discovery trail has a range of questions about different landmarks throughout the Grounds to keep children engaged. Once completed children receive a certificate to take home.

Te Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi has several interactive screens and audio-visual experiences for kids to get hands on with history. The beautiful Grounds also have several spots which are perfect for families to take a break whilst enjoying the coastal views out over the Bay of Islands.

Waitangi Treaty Grounds is the perfect place for a family day out

Take the passenger ferry from Paihia, a short drive from Waitangi, over to Russell to explore the historic precinct or enjoy some fish and chips.

Climb up Maiki hill to see the famed flagstaff or tiki tour around the beaches – Long Beach is always a favourite spot to enjoy a meal and a refreshing dip in the ocean.

The Parrot Place

In Kerikeri, you will find the Parrot Place. Around 300 birds from all over the globe can be found here for the kids to learn about. Enjoy the colourful plumage and antics of the friendly birds – Elmo the dancing Macaw is a particular highlight.

The kids can run around on the large play park, while a range of drinks, snacks and icecreams are on offer from the ‘Sweet Tweets’ kiosk in the play area.

A wide range of different bird breeds are on show at The Parrot Place