Best value summer activities across New Zealand

Jessica Satherley
Best value summer activities across New Zealand
Visitors can admire the roses, begonias and dahlias at the Christchurch Botanic Gardens

Finding family activities that don’t break your holiday budget can be challenging, so REDnews has compiled a list of some of the best value summer activities across New Zealand. 


Auckland Region   

Muriwai Gannet Colony: The colony is a one-hour drive from central Auckland.   

A viewing platform overlooks the ocean and the gannet colony.  Approximately 1,200 pairs of gannets’ nests lay here annually between August to March. 

Cost: Free 


Tawharanui Regional Park: The park is 82km north of Auckland, where you will find 3km of sandy beach on the north side which caters to both swimmers and surfers.  

The main beach is Anchor Bay, which is 360 metres of white sand and lies next to picnic areas. 

The ecology trail starts from the beach and passes through native forest and farmland.   

Cost: Free 


Auckland Zoo: Family annual passes allow two adults and up to three children visit the zoo as many times as they like during the year.   

The pass also gives various discounts for additional friends and family accompanying you and at the gift shop. 

Day passes can also be booked online in advance to save up to 20%. 

 The zoo is open every day except Christmas Day. 

Cost: Family pass $220  

Day pass (adults 15 years +) $24 (including online discount $19) 

Day pass (child 4 – 14 years) $13 (including online discount $12) 

Infant (0 – 3 years) $0 

Day pass senior $19 (including online discount $15) 

Photo of Auckland Art Gallery

The gallery is free for New Zealand residents with proof of residency


Auckland Art Gallery: The art gallery, located in central Auckland, is free for New Zealand residents with proof of residency, but does charge international non-residents.   

Free one-hour tours in English start daily at 11.30am, and 1.30pm for a maximum of 15 people. 

Cost: NZ residents free (with proof of residency) 

International adults $20 

International seniors $17 (65+) 

International students $17 (with ID) 


Pasifika Festival: The annual festival which brings together Pacific cultures is held on March 14 and 15 in 2020 at Western Springs Park.   

There will be performances representing Aotearoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Hawaii, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga and Tuvalu. 

Cost: Free 


Wellington Region 


Mt Kaukau: Just outside Wellington central, lies the Mount Kaukau summit – Khandallah Park loop which is a 4.2km walk, taking on average three hours.   

A shorter route is only 1.5km direct to the summit and takes around 30 minutes. 

Cost: Free 


Zealandia: This 225-hectare ecosanctuary has reintroduced more than 20 species of native wildlife into the area, some of which hadn’t been on mainland New Zealand for 100 years.   

The sanctuary is home to birds, reptiles, frogs, invertebrates and plants. 

Cost: Adults $55 

Children ages (5 – 17) $27.50 

Family (up to two adults and three children) $110 

Zealandia members (adult) $27.50 

Zealandia members (child) $13.75 

Twilight and night tours available 


Summer City 2020: Celebrating its 41st year when it kicks off at New Year, the Summer City festival includes more than 90 events over a three-month period. 

Events include the Pasifika Festival, Chinese New Year and Gardens Magic. 

Cost: Free 


Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa: New Zealand’s national museum, located in Wellington, sees more than 1.5 million visitors come through its doors each year.  Te Papa, which means ‘our place’, offers free admissions. 

Cost: Free 


Photo inside Te Papa

New Zealand’s national museum sees more than 1.5 million visitors each year



The Godley Head Coastal Walk: This coastal walk is an 8km circuit that takes approximately three hours, starting at Taylors Mistake beach.  

The scenery includes views of Whitewash Head, Pegasus Bay and the Kaikoura Ranges.  

The ocean is also home to Hector’s dolphins, seals and whales, which can be spotted on occasion 

Cost: Free 


Christchurch Botanic Gardens: Over the summer months visitors can admire the roses, begonias and dahlias at the garden city’s Botanic Gardens. 

Events held at the gardens over summer include the Christmas baubles from mid-December to mid-January and Deep South Lazy Sundays live music every Sunday from 12 January to 16 February.  

If you’re a fan of pirate adventures, Anthony Harper Summer Theatre: Treasure Island is playing from 29 January to 16 February in the gardens. 

Cost: Free 


Margaret Mahy Family Playground: Located in central Christchurch, the playground is 16,343m2 large and includes a water play area, tables and chairs by food vendors, electric BBQs on site and covered picnic areas and it can fit up to 1000 people at a time. 

Cost: Free 

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