The end of term one is fast approaching, which means that from Saturday 13 April until Sunday 28 April, parents across the country will be on the lookout for fun school holiday activities to keep the kids entertained. Thankfully, NZ is bursting with school holiday fun, and considering that these holidays also coincide with Easter, there are so many exciting festivals and attractions in the works that are guaranteed to delight parents just as much as the little ones. Here is a selection of some of the best things to do in the school holidays across the North and South Islands.
Easter Egg Hunt
When: 1 April to 30 April
Every year, Easter egg hunts are staged all over New Zealand, with one of the most exciting options being the Great SKYCITY Easter Egg Hunt in Auckland. However, rather than your typical hunt for a chocolate bounty, this activity will put you in the running to win one of five ultimate family prize packs (each valued at $2,000). All you need to do is locate the four giant Easter eggs hidden around SKYCITY, take note of the letter or symbol on each of them, and then write them down on the entry form you’ll pick up in the Atrium. There’s also a special fifth egg hidden somewhere than will give you an extra entry. If that’s not enough, SKYCITY is also putting on a heap of other school holiday activities, and from 13 April to 28 April, kids can enjoy them all for free.
Te Papa Museum
When: 15 April to 28 April
During the entire school holiday period, Te Papa Museum in Wellington will be hosting a range of free activities for kids and their parents. These activities include a Zappo magic show, a ballet performance, fun science experiments and musical performances. These activities all vary in length, so if you find yourself with some free time once they’ve concluded, the museum is full of other permanent and temporary exhibits that you can explore as a family.
Akarua Arrowtown Autumn Festival
Where: Arrowtown (near Queenstown)
When: 23 April to 28 April
For more than 30 years, the Akarua Arrowtown Autumn Festival has been an exciting community event for all ages. Some of the festival’s iconic events include the art exhibition, the Parade and Market Day, the Gold Panning Championships, the Shotover Country Music Concert and dog show, but other kid-friendly events to get along to this year include the juggling workshop, the adagio workshop, the scarecrow competition and the circus street performance.
The Royal Easter Show
When: 18 April to 22 April
The Royal Easter Show is an Auckland tradition, and was first held in 1843. Since then, the show has grown to incorporate a huge number of attractions, including an FMX demonstration, the Strong Man competition and musical performances. There’s also an Easter egg hunt, a circus performance, equestrian events, a delicious marketplace and a huge selection of rides in the amusement park. Don’t forget to pick up your show bags too!
The Extravaganza Fair
When: 19 April to 22 April
Napier’s Extravaganza Fair has something for everyone. Food trucks, live music, interesting market stalls, a tiny homes exhibition, circus shows, tarot readings and so much more. Kids can enjoy a range of interactive activities, including face painting, hair braiding and henna tattooing. There’s also a pedal-powered merry-go-round, a trampoline bungee and a number of ‘old school’ games, such as sack races and tug of war, to keep everyone entertained.
When: Brickman Wonders of the World is on until 13 May
Cost: Adults $24.50, Children $13.50 (3-15 inclusive), Under 3 FREE
There’s always something fun going on at the Auckland Museum, and the upcoming school holidays are no exception. Brickman Wonders of the World is a fascinating exhibit for LEGO lovers, and features replicas of such iconic buildings as the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, the Empire State Building (complete with King Kong), the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Arc de Triomphe, all made entirely from LEGO blocks. There are 50 LEGO buildings in total, which took certified LEGO professional Ryan McNaught and his team an impressive 4,944 hours to create. What’s more, the exhibit also lets kids learn about the history of these attractions, while also giving them the opportunity to create some LEGO masterpieces of their own.
When: All year round
Cost: Adults from $18, Children from $14
Featuring a multi-level outdoor maze and a number of optical illusion rooms, Puzzling World is a mind-bending day out suitable for all ages. There’s the Hall of Following Faces, where 168 famous faces seem to follow your every move; the Hologram Hall, which features one of the world’s largest displays of 3D hologram photos; and the bizarre Tilted House, which will test your knowledge of perspective.
If the end of each term usually has you worrying what to do with kids on school holidays, it’s time to stress less. New Zealand offers so many exciting school holiday programs and activities, many of which are free and easily accessible. Book flights to Auckland, Wellington, Napier or Queenstown with Webjet to attend any of these events or school holiday activities.