Kid Friendly Places in Auckland
In Auckland, family fun needs to know no bounds. From breweries and playgrounds to sprawling parks, there is so much to do in New Zealand’s biggest city, especially with the little ones in tow. When it’s time for a meal, Auckland offers everything from charming cafes adorned with colourful decor to restaurants with play zones that spark the imagination. There are a multitude of dining options that cater to both discerning young palates and the adults accompanying them.
Words by: Nicole Mudgway
Families on the lookout for exciting and kid-friendly places to visit can relax after discovering this comprehensive guide. Get ready to unleash your child's imagination, create lasting memories, and embark on unforgettable adventures that will leave both the young and the young-at-heart happy and satisfied.
There’s something on here for even the most picky of eaters, our smallest food critics, ensuring any dining experience can be enjoyable for both parents and children. Any parent knows it’s not just about the food, though, and a place’s ambience and facilities are also important considerations.
Look forward to exploring the city's most delightful playgrounds, thrilling wildlife encounters, and reliably welcome (and tasty!) eateries, one fun destination at a time.
Little Creatures Brewery
2 Boundary Road, Hobsonville
The enormous, relaxed space at Little Creatures Brewery is a popular spot with adults and families alike, for good reason. There is a dedicated kids menu featuring your favourite pub classics (and children eat free on Sundays) as well as an indoor playground. Adults can relax in the sun, soaking up the regular live music and a range of different beers on tap. Little Creatures is located in Hobsonville, which means that those coming from the city can take the ferry there to prolong the adventure!
100 Colonial Road, Chatswood
The name says it all - and rest assured, any sweet cravings will be satisfied at Chelsea Bay’s Sugar Cafe. There’s a delicious range of sweet and savoury options on the menu, from fried chicken and ramen to waffles and gourmet toasties, along with a decadent cabinet that is sure to satisfy even the strongest of sweet tooths. Any trace of a sugar high can be burnt off running around at the outdoor playground or the interactive zone - a fun and educational space where visitors can participate in virtual baking, discover the milling process, or learn about the history of the factory.
Cornwall Park Café
Cornwall Park Pohutakawa Drive, Epsom
Coffee dates at Cornwall Park are often long-standing appointments in the calendars of parents with prams - thanks to the numerous walking paths, green surroundings, easy parking and its central location. As those small humans outgrow their strollers, Cornwall Park continues to be a popular meet-up point, made even easier by the presence of the Cornwall Park Cafe. Expect freshly brewed coffee, decadent shakes and smoothies, as well as an appetising menu that spans breakfast through to mid-afternoon. And even better, the cafe is surrounded by lawns and greenspace so that the kiddies can play right through.
Photo: Ocean Mead
2 Clist Crescent, Manukau City Centre
Adrenaline junkies (of all ages) will find themselves at Rainbows End sooner or later. New Zealand’s largest theme park may pale in comparison to some of its overseas counterparts, but there is easily enough there to provide a day of fun for the whole family. The ‘Big 5’ rides will satisfy the most adventurous, but there's a wide range of fun and exciting rides that everyone in the family is sure to enjoy. And for the youngest members, there is a designated ‘Kidz Kingdom’. There are multiple eateries dotted throughout Rainbow’s End but for those wanting to pack a picnic lunch, enjoy at the tables near the entrance (just don’t lose your ticket when you leave the park).
64 Onetangi Road, Waiheke Island
For obvious reasons, wine-centric Waiheke Island doesn’t always feel like the most child-friendly of places, but The Heke sure does a good job of making people of all ages feel welcome. Offering plenty of indoor and outdoor dining, there is not just a jumping pillow and sand pit but plenty of lawn space for playing and keeping even the most restless of children entertained. For the adults, The Heke is not just another winery but also a brewery, whiskey and gin distillery too.
1024/447 Mount Eden Road, Mount Eden
In case it isn’t immediately obvious by the name, kids are bound to have a great time at Circus Circus. In one of Mount Eden’s most recognisable cafes, visitors are greeted by the two bronze lions at the doorway. The circus theme is carried throughout the cafe, even to the bathrooms. There are different menus for each meal of the day and a counter of treats to tantalise the taste buds. Of course, kids have their own menu - which includes the option of colouring in. Just behind the cafe is a fun playground at Essex Reserve, the perfect incentive for well-behaved children!
8-14 Henderson Valley Road, Henderson
Nestled amongst five acres of greenery lies The Grounds, a contemporary eatery literally designed with families in mind. There is plenty to keep the kids entertained: think colouring in activities, a fancier than usual children’s menu and one of the city’s most memorable playgrounds. It’s something of a woven wonderland and incorporates a rocket ship, a dragon’s castle and even a pirate’s cove! An entrance fee is payable for the playground however, admission can be purchased at a discount as part of a meal deal. While the kids keep themselves occupied, parents can sit back with a glass of wine, memorable, high-quality food and down-to-earth service. Menu options include fresh fish and hand-cut pasta, along with all the classic brunch favourites.
Auckland Botanic Gardens
102 Hill Road, The Gardens
Explore the many walking trails that wind through multiple gardens, spot native flora and fauna and unwind with a picnic under one of the many leafy trees at the Botanic Gardens. The Potter Children’s Garden offers even more activities, such as the mythological maze of Maui, learning how to use a sundial and grub hunting in the grub pit. Throughout the park’s various gardens, there are plaques to help with identification, pagodas and shelters to sit and rest, and plenty of lawns for reading a book. Entry is free, parking is ample, and there is a popular cafe at the entrance.
1171 Coatesville Riverhead Highway, Auckland
One of Auckland's favourite destination breweries is just as accommodating for our younger friends, - even though they won’t be drinking any of the beer! There are plenty of fun giant-sized games, a self-contained playground and even a rock wall. The children’s menu doesn’t feel like the usual downgrade - there are even options to ‘build your own super sundaes - with lollies galore’! Hallertau Brewery is about 30 minutes west of Auckland, and with its outstanding lineup of food, beer and often live music, it is well worth the trip.
5 Point Chevalier Road, Point Chevalier
The seaside suburb of Point Chevalier is home to Nomad, a relaxed yet urban-feeling restaurant that caters to all ages. It’s most well known for the high quality of its wood-fired pizza, a food item sure to unite most families! There is a range of shared plates and elevated main dishes in addition to the extensive wood-fired pizza list, and there is also a separate children’s menu which comes with its very own (surprise) activity bag.
Motions Rd, Western Springs
Just a stone’s throw from the city centre is Auckland Zoo, a not-for-profit animal playground with a real focus on conservation. Over 2800 animals call Auckland Zoo home, including the big drawcards (elephants, rhinos, giraffes and lions) right down to birds and even some insects - tarantulas, anyone? There are scheduled talks by zoo-keepers, close-up animal experiences with giraffes, Galapagos tortoises and red pandas and a multitude of displays for educating young minds. The opportunity to be so close to these incredible creatures is the perfect way to foster a deeper appreciation for the natural world.
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