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There are plenty of family-friendly activities in and around the city of Hamilton, whether it’s water adventures, wildlife encounters or urban getaways. The Waikato River along with majestic gardens, mountains and parks offer beautiful surrounds and relaxing spaces, with a friendly atmosphere and the convenience of easy accessibility. Book bus hire in Hamilton and enjoy a great day trip with your loved ones!
If you are looking for an educational and exciting experience for you and your kids, head towards the Hamilton Zoo to meet and explore the wide array of endangered and rare animals from across the globe. Your children will be enthralled with trivia held at the daily sessions of “Meet the Keeper”. For the desperate animal lovers, looking for a close encounter, there are Face 2 Face and Eye 2 Eye tours, where one can learn more about the incredible creatures residing here.
Towards the south is the Otorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park, which is home to a wide array of reptiles and native birds, including the Tuatara and the national icon, Kiwi bird. You are guaranteed to sight a kiwi from this highly rated kiwi viewing facility in the country, and you will also find all things Kiwiana here, with great snapshot of New Zealand’s traditions and icons.
Another key attraction is the Pirongia Clydesdales, where kids can take a wagon ride with the colossal Clydesdales horses around the scenic village of Pirongia. With a harness museum and an onsite cafe, it makes for a great family day trip, with a myriad of mountain and riverside treks on offer.
The tranquil west coast beaches of Kawhia and Raglan are a short drive from the city, and are of ideal size for families to fit in numbers. Apart from exceptional surfing conditions and beach activities like harbour cruising or kayaking, the region offers plenty of dining and wining experience as well. The seaside town is rich with culture and history, as it was the final resting place of Tainui Waka. It’s an ideal chance for families to explore the rivers and lakes on a leisure boat cruise or a relaxed kayak tour. There are cycling tracks and walking trails as well to explore the outdoors.
Waterworld is another family fun spot in Hamilton offering countless water activities with loads of hydroslides and under-cover pools. Head a little towards north-east to the Te Aroha Hot Pools and Mineral Spas for a healthy experience of natural mineral water. The area is also rich with mountain bike tracks and historic walking trails.
Explore the abundance of natural wonders in this region, starting from the Waitomo Caves; a place like nowhere else. Wonderfully weird stalactites and stalagmites decorate the interior of the caves, and a gentle boat ride will take you to a different world of glow worms. Above ground, you have great trailing options, including Natural Bridge and Marokopa Falls, along with farm shows and farm parks.
Get indulged in some motorsport action at North Waikato with various experiences offered by Hampton Downs, along with archery and paintball shooting at the Adventure Park. There’s also the Bush Tramway Club, where you can go past in time to board the Nostalgic Stream Train on the 1st Sunday of each month.
For some active family participation, there are numerous parks, cycleways and walks to explore, along with plenty of wide open spaces for picnic camping. The Hamilton Lake and Hamilton Gardens are ideal spots to keep the kids entertained for hours. For some stunning views, you need to burn off extra calories to reach the spectacular Bridal Veil Falls near Raglan.
Waikato Museum And Arts Post
Opened in the year 1987, the Waikato Museum of Art and History focuses on the culture and heritage of Maori lifestyle, as reflected by its name of Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga O Waikato. The exterior and interior of the building is integrated with and inspired by the environment, with the design oriented towards the riverbank on which the museum stands. A number of educational programmes and exhibitions are held at this venue with a strong focus on tangata whenua, science, social history and art. The main objective of the museum is to reflect the culture and history of Waikato region.
Key highlights for the visitors include interactive science galleries for children, the 2-century old war canoe, waka taua Te Winika and also the celebration of Maori astronomy, Whaanau Marama. A range of events are offered here, including workshop sessions and artist talks, that can be really educational for you and your kids.
Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari
Known to be the largest ecological island in the country, the Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari is a paradise for native plants and wildlife such as tuatara, kokako and kiwi. The area encloses 3400 hectares of Mt Maungatautari and is surrounded by 47 km of Predator proof fencing. There are three visitor areas to check out through numerous walking trails.
The 5 walks in the southern enclosure range from half an hour to a couple of hours, providing exceptional bird watching opportunity. It also has a secluded feeding area, where you can spot kaka and other birds converging here to feed themselves. The Canopy Tower takes you to a higher elevation into the top of wooded shelter. Guided walks offer a golden chance to learn about countless bird species and indigenous plants in the area, along with sightings of native crayfish, glow worms and kiwi at the night time. Experience a different world of ancient away from the hurly burly of the city.
If you are looking for a relaxed picnic spot in the lap of nature, Taitua Arboretum is the place to go for. With an extensive collection of exotic and native trees, spread over an area of 20 hectares of woodland gardens, lakes and open pasture, this tranquil retreat is connected to a network of meandering walking trails. Perfect for family outing on a Sunday afternoon, it also allows you to bring your pet along with you!