Planning a family holiday to Dunedin in New Zealand’s South Island? You’re in for a treat!
With its rich European history and picturesque scenery, Dunedin offers numerous activities that cater to family fun.
Whether you’re a local or a visitor, this charming city has something for everyone, especially if you’re looking for things to do with kids.
From engaging outdoor parks to educational experiences, you’ll find a wide range of activities the entire family can enjoy together in our guide to Dunedin with kids.
During your visit, be sure to explore the outdoor attractions perfect for kids of all ages.
Dunedin Botanic Garden and Wildlife
At the Dunedin Botanic Garden, you’ll find the Butterfly House, a fantastic place for you and your children to explore.
Inside, marvel at the beautiful and colourful butterflies as they flutter around in a tropical environment.
This unique and interactive attraction is sure to provide endless entertainment for your kids.
Winter Garden Glasshouse
The Winter Garden Glasshouse is another must-visit section of the Dunedin Botanic Garden.
This impressive structure houses a wide variety of exotic plants and flowers that thrive in controlled conditions.
Wander through the rainforest-like atmosphere and experience the sights and scents of various tropical and sub-tropical plants.
Your children will be fascinated by the diverse range of plant life and will learn about different ecosystems from around the world.
Hare Hill Horse Treks
Just a short drive away from the Dunedin Botanic Garden is an exciting outdoor activity for the whole family: Hare Hill Horse Treks.
This equestrian centre offers guided horse treks through stunning landscapes and beautiful views.
With a range of horses suitable for all ages and abilities, you and your children will have a fantastic time exploring the beautiful Otago scenery on horseback.
Otago Peninsula and Wildlife Reserves
Royal Albatross Centre
This is the only mainland royal albatross colony in the world, making it a unique and exciting experience for the whole family.
Learn about these magnificent birds and witness them up close in their natural habitat.
Don’t forget to check out the educational displays, which provide fascinating insights into the lives of royal albatrosses.
A must-see on your family adventure is Penguin Place, a dedicated reserve for the rare yellow-eyed penguins.
Here, you and your little ones can enjoy a 90-minute guided tour, where you’ll get a chance to observe these adorable creatures as they nest, feed and interact with one another.
Expect to see other wildlife too, such as New Zealand fur seals and sea lions basking along the shore.
Wild Earth Adventures
For a thrilling and memorable experience, Wild Earth Adventures offers various outdoor activities tailored to all age groups. Some of their popular options include:
- Kayaking: Paddle your way through the Otago Peninsula’s stunning coastline with your kids, and keep an eye out for the local wildlife, such as sea lions, penguins, and fur seals.
- Hiking: Explore the breathtaking scenery of the Otago Peninsula by taking a guided hike along the various trails available. These walks suit different fitness levels, so you’re sure to find the perfect one for your family.
Museums and Galleries
A visit to Dunedin with your children offers countless opportunities for hands-on learning and cultural enrichment.
Between the Otago Museum, the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, and the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum, there’s something for everyone to enjoy during your family’s stay in this charming city.
When visiting Dunedin with your kids, be sure to check out the Otago Museum, an excellent venue where your little ones can learn about science, nature, and cultural heritage.
With engaging exhibits and interactive displays, this museum provides both entertainment and education for the entire family.
Don’t forget to explore the incredible butterfly-filled tropical forest, a definite highlight for children.
Dunedin Public Art Gallery
Another worthwhile attraction is the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.
Located within walking distance of the Octagon, this art gallery houses over 100,000 artefacts for your kids to enjoy.
They can learn about the people whose character, culture, technology, art, fashion, and transport shaped Dunedin.
The gallery often hosts family-friendly events and activities, so keep an eye on their calendar for upcoming kid-friendly exhibitions.
Toitū Otago Settlers Museum
To delve further into Dunedin’s local history, visit the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum.
This engaging museum offers a fascinating insight into the lives and stories of Otago’s early settlers.
With interactive displays, recreated historical scenes, and a wide range of artifacts, your kids can learn about New Zealand’s past in an appealing and enjoyable way.
Family Activities in the City Centre
Dunedin Ice Stadium
If you’re looking for a fun and exciting activity in Dunedin’s city centre, take the kids to the Dunedin Ice Stadium.
This family-friendly venue offers public ice skating sessions where you and your little ones can glide on the ice, laugh, and make unforgettable memories.
They also run camps in the school holidays for kids who want to delve deeper into ice hockey.
St Clair Hot Salt
For a relaxing family experience, head to St Clair Hot Salt. These outdoor heated saltwater pools are the perfect spot to unwind with children of all ages.
The gentle, therapeutic waters are suitable for kids and adults alike, allowing everyone to soak their worries away.
You’ll also find a toddler pool with water toys, making it a fantastic location for a family outing.
Baldwin Street, also known as the steepest street in the world, is a must-visit location in Dunedin.
You and your family can have a blast walking up this iconic slope and enjoying the views of the surrounding city.
While it might be a bit of a challenge, reaching the top is rewarding, and the kids will love checking this unique experience off their list.
Fun fact: Baldwin Street has a gradient of 1:2.86 (19°, 35% slope) at its steepest section!
Larnach Castle (falsely believed to be New Zealand’s only castle) is located near Dunedin.
Marvel at the beautiful architecture and intricate detailing within the castle.
Wander through the magnificent gardens, and experience the peace and tranquility that Larnach Castle has to offer.
This enchanting Scottish-style grand estate is perfect for families to explore together.
While you’re there, don’t forget to visit the Ballroom Cafe for a refreshment or a light meal.
Dunedin Railway Station
Another must-visit historical landmark during your family trip to Dunedin is the Dunedin Railway Station.
This iconic building, often referred to as the Historic Dunedin Railway Station, boasts an exquisite mosaic tile floor, captivating stained-glass windows, and stunning architecture inside and out.
Take a moment to step back in time and imagine what it would have been like travelling by train in the early 1900s.
While you’re there, you might also discover artistic displays, as the railway station is a popular venue for various exhibitions and events. There’s even a farmers market every Saturday morning.
Once you’ve explored the grandeur of the railway station, treat your family to a visit to the on-site tea house.
With a warm atmosphere, the tea house provides a perfect opportunity to relax after exploring the rich history and beauty of the railway station.
Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Tours
If you’re looking for a family-friendly destination, Aramoana is perfect for you and your children. Relax on the sandy shores and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Otago coast.
North East Valley
While visiting Dunedin, don’t miss out on exploring the North East Valley.
This area is popular for wildlife tours, allowing you and your family to discover unique New Zealand flora and fauna.
You might even catch a glimpse of native birds like the tui and bellbird.
Guided Walking Tours
Experience the city’s charm and culture by taking a guided walking tour.
It’s a great way for your family to learn about the city’s history while exploring local attractions.
From the streets of Dunedin’s city centre to the famous Baldwin Street – the steepest street in the world, there are plenty of tour options to suit your family’s interests.
To wrap it up, visiting Dunedin with kids offers you various outdoor adventures and scenic tours.
Whether it’s soaking up the sun at St Clair Beach, exploring the wildlife in the North East Valley, or uncovering the city’s history through a guided walking tour, there’s something for everyone in your family to enjoy.