The great thing about summer is that many-a-day can be filled with a splash in a paddling pool, a walk to the local playground and maybe an ice-cream treat. But what about those days where you’re keen to take the kids somewhere but don’t want to leave your pockets empty? Well, here’s Citywrigglers’ pick of fun, free or cheap days out with kids in Wellington this summer.
Take me to the beach
Ok, so we don’t have white sandy beaches like the Gold Coast, but on a good day Wellington has some lovely spots perfect for a bit of a dig and dip in the water. Why not head out to somewhere you’ve not been before?
There’s something really lovely and ‘old-worldy’ about fruit picking. Just check before you go as availability depends on how the season is going. January is a great time for blueberries, why not try Bluebank or the Blueberry Farm in the Akatarawas or BerryHealthy at Pauatahanui. Bluebank also has an emu farm and Blueberry Farm a petting zoo. Listings of “pick your own” farms are here: Pick Your Own.
It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been before, there’s always something different to occupy kids at the Botanic Gardens. Kick a ball around the sound-shell lawn, check out the rose-garden and fountain. The Begonia House is surprisingly good for toddlers – go right to the end where the lily pond and goldfish are. Play on the stage at the Dell. Hunt for bugs and look out for birds on the bush tracks. Take a picnic and add in a bus ride or trip up the Cable Car and you’ve got a full day out for pretty cheap.
Cycle or scoot
If you’ve got cycle confident kids, or one of those cool ride on seats then Wellington’s got great options for family biking. Try Pencarrow Heads and Lighthouse, Ara Harakeke outside Plimerton or the Hutt River Trail. There are also some great kids BMX tracks tucked in and around Wellington too. Or if you’re not into cycling, then there’s plenty of scooting options around the place too.
Get your coordinates and go
Geocaching is an awesome adventure for families and you might just discover some new Wellington locations. Get the coordinates, download the Geocaching app or use a GPS and start hunting! For Wellington Geocaching spots, visit Geocaching. Or for young ones, why not try the Fairy Door Trail and take the kids on a hunt for fairy doors around Titahi Bay. Keep an eye out around town for the coffee-loving fairy’ doors too. The great thing about these activities is that you don’t have to complete it all in one day, set a challenge over the summer to complete them all.
Let’s get regional
We’re so lucky to have some wonderful nature reserves and parks really close to our doorstep. Ideas include Kaitoke Regional Park, where you can visit the beautiful Lord of the Rings Elvish Archway in Rivendell (you can go camping at Kaitoke too) or Battle Hill Forest Farm. For a bit of nature close to the CBD, head to New Zealand’s only native botanic garden Otari-Wilton’s bush.
Why not pick a new location and try a playground you’ve never been to before? Take a picnic and meet some friends and it’s a full day out. Head to our list of playgrounds and hunt for a new one!
There’s lots of ways to enjoy a bit of train action over summer. Why not head to Wellington Railway Station and plan a train excursion for the day, tickets for under-5’s are free and make use of the multi-trip or day passes for the adults. Or head to one of the many miniature trains that operate on Sundays and hop on for a couple of dollars:
Avalon park, Saturday and Sundays between 1 – 4pm. More information: Avalon park
Maidstone Park, Sundays between 1 – 4pm. More information: Maidstone Railway
Petone (next to the playground), 1 – 2 pm Sundays.
Queen Elizabeth Park on the Kapiti Coast, Sundays from 1 – 4pm. More information: Kapiti rail
These next two don’t fall into the free or cheap category (but are worth a mention anyway). Loco is a miniature train park and gardens in Otaki or visit Silverstream Railway, a working heritage railway open on Sundays.
Swimming, summer, pool, what three energy-burning words are better? Wellington has fantastic summer pools scattered around like Thorndon, Khandallah, Petone, Eastbourne and Wainuiomata (which has a water slide that winds through the bush!). Or just head to one of the many covered pools for an other inexpensive day out.
For more fun things to do, try Citywrigglers activities or attractions pages or find out what’s happening around the city on our what’s on page. Ok, so I know Wellington has some rainy days too, so why not head to our bad weather activities page if the day turns a bit mucky.
“A Career in Sandcastle Building Starts Here” by Colin Bowern is licensed under CC by 2.0