Holiday Like A Local – Kiwis Share Their Local Hidden Gems

Holiday like a local! We asked Kidspot families to tell us what their favourite ‘hidden gem’ local attraction or experience is that you should definitely do next time you’re in their neck of the woods.

From amazing experiences with animals in their natural habitats to stunning lakes and waterfalls along with some fantastic family-friendly destinations, make sure you add these local faves next time you’re visiting the area.

Please note: Venue information was correct at the time of publication. Please check with individual venues for the latest opening dates, times, prices, etc, before making plans. 


Poor Knights Islands – Tutukaka Coast

Poor Knights Islands
A magical place to go sightseeing/snorkeling/scuba diving. It is a marine reserve with tropical fish and is steeped in rich history – an amazing place to spend the day ❤ – Michelle H
Visit Poor Knights Islands with Dive! Tutukaka

Kai Iwi Lakes – Kauri Coast

Kai Iwi Lakes
The colour of the water is amazing! – Miriam B

These crystal-clear freshwater lakes are the perfect spot for your family to enjoy camping, swimming and other water sports, cycling, walking, or just relaxing.

Visit Kai Iwi Lakes

Koutu Boulders – Hokianga

Koutu Boulders
We had a wonderful holiday round the Kauri Coast … visited the Koutu Boulders which can only be reached when the tides out – Cyn S

These concretion balls up to 3 metres in diameter have been estimated to have taken up to 5 million years to be created.

Visit Koutu Boulders


Muriwai Beach

Muriwai Beach
The gannet colony is close by and there are sometimes seals on the beach – Nicki W

This spectacular coastline is perfect for a family visit – it’s home to a colony of gannets plus a popular surf spot.

Learn to surf with Muriwai Surf School

Good Planet (home of ZaberriWorld) – Riverhead

Good Planet
The best strawberries, giant slides, trampoline and train rides for kids and whole family to enjoy. We love to go here every summer ☀️🍓 – Nilofa F
Visit Good Planet / ZaberriWorld


Harker Reserve and Vivian Falls / Te Wai heke a Maoa – Tuakau

Harkers Reserve
Historical site and amazing walk through native bush leading to waterfall. Wonderful family adventure to go on just pack a picnic. This is our little gem we found in our backyard. – Juscinta H
Visit Harker Reserve and Vivian Falls / Te Wai heke a Maoa

Tairāwhiti Gisborne

Dive Tatapouri

Dive Tatapouri

Stingrays at Dive Tatapouri: My daughter and I loved it – we were able to pat and feed the (wild) stingrays as they swam past or brushed up on our legs wanting a pat. so cool they are wild stingrays that have taken an interest in us as we have them 🙂 – Nae Nae

Just 15 minutes from Tairāwhiti Gisborne, Dive Tatapouri offers a world-famous interactive marine experience with stingrays and other sea life.

Visit Dive Tatapouri

Bay of Plenty

Karangahake Gorge

Karangahake Gorge

The Karangahake Gorge is awesome with walks/bike rides, the old train tunnel is cool to walk thru – Kim G

A combination of gold mining history, natural beauty, and easy walks makes Karangahake Gorge an interesting family day out.

Visit Karangahake Gorge

Moutohorā (Whale Island)

Moutohorā (Whale Island)

An offshore bird sanctuary where you see endangered birds living freely, a seal colony, volcanic activity including a hot water beach! And it’s just absolutely stunning – Emmeline H

Visit Moutohorā with KG Kayaks

Hawke’s Bay

Eskdale Park – Napier

Eskdale Park and River

Such a great safe swimming spot for littlies – Alana

Just 4km north of Napier, Eskdale Park has mature trees, a playground, picnic tables, toilets, and a cricket pitch, plus the pretty Esk River. (Please note: Due to damage caused by Cyclone Gabrielle, this park may be closed.)

Vist Eskdale Park and Esk River


Kawaroa Rock Pools – New Plymouth

Kawaroa Rock Pools

Love exploring the Kawaroa rock pools in New Plymouth. Right next to the foreshore cycle/walking path and aquatic center 🤩 – Sarah P

Visit Kawaroa Park and the rock pools


Paloma Gardens

Paloma Gardens

If you’re in Whanganui, I highly recommend a visit to Paloma Gardens, which is a 15 min drive from the city. A garden of significance, you could spend all discovering and exploring. Fun for little ones and grandparents alike. – Angela G

Visit Paloma Gardens


Red Rocks Reserve

Red Rocks Reserve

You can spot both seal colonies and the South Island. 🙌 – Michelle L

Walk from Owhiro Bay to the Red Rocks (Pari-whero) to check out the red-coloured rocks that were formed 200 million years ago and the nearby seal colony.

Visit Red Rocks Reserve


Airforce Museum of New Zealand – Christchurch

Airforce Museum

Such a good experience, lots to see for everyone and it’s free entry! – Amanda H

The national museum for the RNZAF, located on the former air base at Wigram has historic aircraft, a simulator and lots of other historical displays.

Visit Airforce Museum

Castle Hill / Kura Tāwhiti – Canterbury high country

Castle Hill

The rocks are amazing and great to take the family through. – Catherine T

Explore the spectacular limestone formations that were formed during the Oligocene age, 30-40 million years ago.

Visit Castle Hill / Kura Tāwhiti


Bannockburn Sluicing Walk – Central Otago


Thyme covered rocky paths and cliffs surrounded by vineyards and orchards. – Carrie

This 3.5km loop gold mine walk in beautiful Central Otago takes in dams, water races, rock tailings and caves left untouched since the last of the goldminers.

Visit Bannockburn Sluicings

Natures Wonders Naturally – Dunedin

Natures Wonders Naturally

We went … on an argo wildlife tour. It was fabulous. Penguins, albatross and seals!! Good for all ages – Bronwyn E

Tour the beautiful Otago Peninsula and see penguins, fur seals, and albatross in their natural environment.

Tour with Natures Wonders Naturally

Mou Waho Island – Wānaka

Mou Waho Island

Have you ever been on an island in a lake, on an island in a lake, on an island in the ocean? It’s a mouthful! Cause that is exactly what the amazing Mou Waho Island is, in amazing Wānaka! It’s definitely worth exploring! It’s breathtaking. – Becky K

Visit Mou Waho Island with Wānaka Cruises

There’s a little island in the lake on Mou Waho Island, which is on Lake Wānaka, in the South Island which is in the Pacific Ocean – such a special sightseeing treat!

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Written by Kidspot NZ in partnership with 100% Pure New Zealand.

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