The Most Fun Things to Do in the Bay of Islands with Kids

The Most Fun Things to Do in the Bay of Islands with Kids

Vacationing in the Bay of Islands with kids in tow? This article is perfect for you, then!

Here, we’ve listed our tried and tested activities for children in the Bay of Islands. These are the ones our staff voted as the top options from all of the suggestions we began with. 

1. Go parasailing with Bay of Islands Parasail.  

Go parasailing with Bay of Islands Parasail
ADDRESSPaihia Wharf, Paihia, 0247, New Zealand
CONTACT DETAILS+64 9 402 6068
COST$115 per adult & $95 per child 14 years and under (Inquire beforehand)

If you want to experience a bit of flight, parasailing is perfect for you. Plus, you’ll get a fantastic bird’s eye view of the beautiful Bay of Islands in the process – who could ask for more? 

This is great for adventure and thrill seekers, both young and old. They have options for single, tandem, and triple parasail flight. 

Children under eight years old must parasail with an adult of 18 years or above. Children must also weigh more than 20 kilograms to parasail, so keep that in mind. 

As for attire, you’re allowed to wear anything you feel comfortable in. If you intend to get wet, you can don your bathing suit and just bring an extra set of clothes and a towel. 

If it’s a bit cooler, a jacket and pants combo is recommended. 

2. Have an under-the-sea adventure by snorkeling with Bay Of Islands Snorkelling Ltd.

Have an under-the-sea adventure by snorkeling with Bay Of Islands Snorkelling Ltd
ADDRESSPaihia wharf, Paihia 0272, New Zealand
CONTACT DETAILS+64 21 190 3309
COSTAdults: $180.00 (15 years old and above)

Children: $100.00 (14 years old and below)

Family: $125.00 (2 Adults and 2 Children) & $75.00 (per extra children; maximum of 3 extra)

If you’re one of the parents of kids who spent many hours watching Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Moana over and over, your children will surely enjoy having their own underwater adventure. 

Book the snorkeling package from Bay Of Islands Snorkelling Ltd and you’ll see two fantastic sites teeming with marine life. You and your kids will enjoy seeing different kinds of fish, marine animals, and coral reefs! 

What we like about their company is they allow you to have a personalized trip. So if you’re looking for a fun play date, you can invite your children’s friends and their families. 

As for things to bring, make sure to have your swimwear, towel, hat, sunscreen, and a change of warm clothes with you. They will provide you with wetsuits, masks, snorkels, flippers, flotation aids, and even a hot shower and some soup to warm you up afterward. 

3. Have some delicious ice cream at Movenpick.

Have some delicious ice cream at Movenpick
ADDRESS2 Williams Road, Paihia 0200, New Zealand
OPERATING HOURSDaily (9 AM - late)
COSTDepending on your order but usually ranges between $6.00 to $15.00

It is a truth universally acknowledged that most kids (and kids at heart) adore ice cream. Check out Movenpick, a charming ice cream parlor in the Bay of Islands. 

As for their offerings, you are spoilt for choice. They have a wide variety of flavors, so you’re bound to find your new favorite flavor. 

We also love that they’re inclusive, with options for vegans. They have gluten-free, lactose-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and egg-free selections on their menu. 

They source their dairy from family farms and ensure that they use all-natural ingredients – no hormones, prophylactic antibiotics, GMOs, or artificial sweeteners. So you’re sure you’re only getting the good stuff. 

4. Have a family picnic at Paihia Lookout.

Have a family picnic at Paihia Lookout
ADDRESSPaihia 0200, New Zealand
CONTACT DETAILS+64 9 407 0300 (Bay of Islands DOC Office)

Nothing beats a good old-fashioned picnic. Pack your kids’ favorite treats and enjoy a peaceful, fun breakfast or lunch at Paihia Lookout.

You’ll get a stunning view of Waitangi, Motumarie, Russell Peninsula, and Cape Brett. You might even witness some wildlife here – which we’re sure many kids would love to see. 

You can prepare some games your child can enjoy, so they don’t get bored. If they’re a bit older, you can bring some books, magazines, some speakers for great music, or even your laptop so you can watch a movie. 

Do take note to scrub all soil off your shoes and gear when you go here. Make use of cleaning stations available. 

Parking is also limited so we suggest going here as early as you can. Based on our experience, it can take ages to get a spot once the crowds arrive!

Want to learn new recipes for the picnic? Check out these cooking classes you can try! 

5. Go biking at Waitangi Mountain Bike Park.

Go biking at Waitangi Mountain Bike Park
ADDRESS33 Bayly Road, Waitangi 0293, New Zealand
CONTACT DETAILS+64 21 187 8192
OPERATING HOURSOpen 24 hours, but gates open around 7:30 AM and close after sundown
COSTAnnual donation:

Adult $40.00 (minimum; 15 years old and above)

Child: $25.00 (minimum; 14 years old and below)

One day donation: $10.00

If what you’re looking for is something fun and active, then cycling at Waitangi Mountain Bike Park is a good idea for you and your family. The tracks are known to be family and kid-friendly , so you can be confident that your kids will be safe. 

You can check out the trails here in advance so you can already start to map out your trip and maximize the experience. 

We love that they have plenty of bikes for hire (e-bikes, kids bikes, full suspension, front suspension) and a bike repair shop and mechanics in the facility if you have issues with your bikes. 

If you’re not confident riding yet, you can also sign up for mountain biking lessons. They have group sessions and one-on-one sessions that you can choose from. 

The park has amenities such as clean toilets and a cafe, which we love. 

If you’re going there for the first time, remember to bring water, a cell phone, a map, and a helmet. Also, you can never go wrong with sturdy and good-quality shoes. 

6. Try sailing.

Try sailing
ADDRESS305 Williams Road, Paihia 0204, New Zealand
CONTACT DETAILS+64 800 724 584
COST$130.00 per person

If you want to be one with nature, then take the time to go sailing with She’s a Lady Sailing Adventures. They offer full-day sailing trips, departing from Paihia at around 10 in the morning and returning in the late afternoon. 

You’ll get to see amazing views. The kids will love the different activities such as kayaking, swimming, and snorkeling – they’ll see different underwater creatures. 

If you’re into fishing, you and your kids can also do that on this trip, check out this link for some ground rules. 

After time sailing, you’ll enjoy a scrumptious picnic lunch right at the beach. 

7.  Make some memorable camping memories at Waitangi Holiday Park.

Make some memorable camping memories at Waitangi Holiday Park
ADDRESS21 Tahuna Road, Paihia 0200, New Zealand
CONTACT DETAILS+64 800 556 660

9 AM -7 PM (Fri - Sat)

COSTCabin (maximum of 5 guests):

$99.00 per night (includes 3 persons)

$10.00 per additional adult/child

Powered Site - Park view (maximum of 6 guests):

$25.00 per night (includes 1 person)

$25.00 per adult (14 years old and above)

$15.00 per child (bet ween 3 to 13 years old)

Powered Site - Water view (maximum of 6 guests):

$30.00 per night (includes 1 person)

$30.00 per adult (14 years old and above)

$15.00 per child (bet ween 3 to 13 years old)

Unpowered Site - Park view (maximum of 6 guests):

$20.00 per night (includes 1 person)

$20.00 per adult (14 years old and above)

$15.00 per child (bet ween 3 to 13 years old)

Unpowered Site - Water view (maximum of 6 guests):

$25.00 per night (includes 1 person)

$25.00 per adult (14 years old and above)

$15.00 per child (bet ween 3 to 13 years old)

If you and your kids love the great outdoors, you’ll definitely enjoy camping. The Waitangi Holiday Park is one of our recommended spots because they have a wide range of accommodations to choose from depending on how much you want to rough it out. 

They have cabins, powered sites, and unpowered sites that you can choose from. The amenities include WiFi, a shared TV room, clean toilets, a common shower area and bathroom, laundry facilities, a kitchen, and provisions for BBQ. 

If you choose to rent out a cabin for a few days, you’ll get beds, a fridge, a toaster, a jug, and kitchen utensils as well. So you have everything you need for a relaxing and enjoyable camping trip with the family. 

Sadly, pets aren’t allowed in this camping space. So you’ll have to make arrangements for your furry friends to stay in dog kennels (kind of like their own boarding place) while you’re there.   

8. Join a dance class.

Join a dance class
ADDRESS11 Cobham Road, Kerikeri 0230, New Zealand
CONTACT DETAILS+64 210 224 5016

6:45 AM- 7:30 PM (Tuesday)

6 AM- 7:30 PM (Wednesday)

9 AM- 7:30 PM (Thursday)

6 AM- 1 PM and 3:30 PM to 5:45 PM (Friday)

8 AM to 10:15 AM (Saturday)

COSTSingle Lesson:

$55.00 (30 minutes)

$89.00 (60 minutes)

4 Lessons:

$204.00 (30 minutes)

$332.00 (60 minutes)

8 Lessons:

$400.00 (30 minutes)

$648.00 (60 minutes)

Aligned Movement is a great fitness and dance studio you can try as a family if you want an alternative form of exercise. Kids will love the private fitness lessons designed for the youth. 

They have barre/ballet, conditioning for dancers, and various exercise classes such as yoga, pilates, TRX, etc. So there’s something here for everyone – no matter the age, shape, size, or ability. 

It’s a great way to gain muscle strength, develop a strong core, and improve flexibility. Plus it’s a lot of fun for the whole family! 

If you don’t feel like going to the studio, they even have virtual training you can do over video platforms. 

9. See dolphins up close.

See dolphins up close
ADDRESSThe Maritime Building, Waterfront, Paihia

The Strand, Waterfront, Russell

CONTACT DETAILS+64 9 402 7421
OPERATING HOURS7 AM- 4:30 PM (Every day in Paihia)

8:45 AM- 2 PM (Thursday to Sunday in Russell)

COSTDay in The Bay:

$120.00 (Adult)

$60.00 (Child)

$300.00 (Family Pass; 2 Adults and 2 Children)

There’s something magical about seeing dolphins up close. We’re sure you and your kids will love the Hole in the Rock Dolphin Cruise with GreatSights. 

You’ll enjoy a day in the bay, cruising around, and  enjoying the sights of dolphins and whales. There will be an island stopover at Otehei Bay as well. 

The crew’s very friendly and will guide you throughout the cruise and answer all your questions. Make sure to bring your camera to capture all the memories there! 

If you get hungry, snacks and drinks can be bought on board. You can also eat at the cafe on Urupukapuka Island. 

10. Go on an easy hike.

Go on an easy hike
ADDRESSFlagstaff Hill Track Russell 0202, New Zealand
CONTACT DETAILS+64 9 407 0300 (Bay of Islands DOC Office)

The Flagstaff Hill Track is a fairly easy track at 2.5 km long and usually takes around half an hour to complete. It’s easy enough for children to go on, just make sure to brief them of safety protocols beforehand. 

This is the perfect activity if you want to move around, get some fresh air, and spend quality time with your family outdoors. Plus, it’s free – who says you have to burn a hole in your pocket to have a good time? 

You’ll get a beautiful 360-degree view of the Bay of Islands here. You can take it one step further by going on a photo walk and exploring the track with your lens. 

There you have it – some of our tried and tested Bay of Islands activities that’s perfect for the whole family. We included activities that we’re sure your little ones will enjoy. 

Did we miss any of you favorite activities? Let us know! 

By the way, here are some other ideas on activities you can do in the Bay of Islands no matter the weather: