Not long to go now until the kids are home for the school break. Thankfully there are plenty of school holiday family friendly events happening over April to keep the kids amused.
We’ve compiled a list of our pick of family events and activities happening between 17 April and 2 May 2021. Our family friendly events are designed for campervan travel with children but will work fine if you’re planning a road trip by car. We know hours of driving can make a trip memorable for the wrong reasons so we’ve kept our options under a three hour drive from central Auckland.
To keep things simple, we’ve arranged the events from north to south.
Events in Whangarei
Distance from Auckland - 163km, 2 hours 15 min
Where - Kiwi North: Whangarei Museum, Kiwi House & Heritage Park, Whangarei, Northland
When - 19 - 30 April, 10am - 4pm every day
Price - $45 for a family (2 adults, 3 kids), $20 for adults, $5 for kids over 5. Free for under 5s
Get the kids excited about history and conservation at Kiwi North this April. Meet the resident tuatara and geckoes and attend a lizard workshop to learn all about these unique reptiles. Attend one of three kiwi feeding sessions each day - 11am is the best time to watch them run for breakfast. Experience history with a school lesson from 1898 complete with dress up, old fashioned toys and learning crafts.
Tickets are valid for the full day so you can leave and return especially if you want to grab a bite to eat since there is no food sold on site. Allow at least an hour for your visit.
NZMCA Members can park their motorhomes here for $20 per van per night. Book through the NZMCA website or app. If you stay the night, you'll get $5 off Kiwi North entry per van.
Distance from Auckland - 161km, 2 hours 15 min
Where - The Quarry Arts Centre, Whangarei, Northland
When - 14 April, 3.30pm - 5pm
Price - $30 per student
Get stuck into clay craft at the last in the series of the After School Art programme for kids. Kids will learn clay making techniques and create clay creatures or a novelty game. Parents don’t need to be present for the class but are welcome to relax in the beautiful grounds. Enjoy the sculptures and outdoor art, explore the onsite gallery and meet artists at work.
Make sure to pack water, snacks and suitable shoes and clothing you’re happy to get dirty.
Plenty of free motorhome parking onsite.
Parking and camping for motorhomes in Whangarei
Events in Dargaville
Distance from Auckland - 175km, 2 hours 30 min
Where - Dargaville, Northland
When - 17 April
Price - Free
The Dargaville River Festival features a collection of family friendly activities across multiple locations. This is a celebration of the Northern Wairoa River including the past and present history of the area. There are 15 activity points to explore around the town which can all be enjoyed on foot. Grab an activities map from the official Facebook page.
Motorhome parking is easy with ample parking at Parenga Road car park where motorhomes will have no trouble fitting. Additional parking is available at the rear of the supermarket car park nearby.
Parking and camping for motorhomes in Dargaville
The town has plenty of motorhome friendly parking at the riverside for daytime exploration on foot.
Events in Thames
Distance from Auckland - 114km, 1 hour 30 min
Where - Thames, Coromandel
When - 22 - 24 April, main events on 24th
Price - Free for most activities
Kids will love this fantastic annual Steampunk event. Get yourself to Willoughby Street between Pollen and Mackay Streets before 10am to secure a good spot to view the parade. The collection of weird and wonderful punked machines and participants will start moving north at 10.30am and continue down the length of Pollen Street to Pahau Street. The Steampunk Markets run all day with roaming entertainers and performers. At 1.30pm, drop by the Teapot Obstacle & Drag Racing to see modified teapots racing through an obstacle course. Kids will also enjoy a unique evening ride on the Thames Small Gauge Railway between 6pm and twilight.
Parking and camping for motorhomes in Thames
Events in Hamilton
Distance from Auckland - 124km, 1 hour, 40 min
Where - Claudelands Events Centre, Hamilton, Waikato
When - 1 - 2 May, 9am - 5pm on 1 May and 9am - 4pm on 2 May
Price - $17 adults, $10 kids
Are you a bit of a foodie family? Take the whole family on a culinary journey at The Great New Zealand Food Show. Sampling the latest foods, delicious products and wines (for Mum and Dad!). Watch master chefs and celebrity chefs at work bringing food to life and decorate a cupcake at the cake decorating masterclass. When you need a break from shopping and being entertained, have a seat at the Seat & Eat Zone.
You’re welcome to bring snacks and food into the venue if you’d like, but you’ll have to leave your strollers at home as these are not safe to use within the exhibition space.
Paid parking suitable for motorhomes is available onsite. Parking on surrounding streets might also be available.
Distance from Auckland - 124km, 1 hour, 30 min
Where - Clarence St Theatre, Hamilton
When - 16 - 20 April, various sessions
Price - $44 - 54 per person
Your kids will be ready to Move it, Move it when they find out you’re going to be seeing the smash-hit DreamWorks animated motion picture Madagascar live! The stage-show follows all your favourite friends as they escape from their home in New York’s Central Park Zoo and find themselves on an unexpected journey to the madcap world of King Julien’s Madagascar.
The show runs for 75 minutes and is appropriate for kids aged 3+.
Parking and camping for motorhomes in Hamilton
Hamilton is a great spot for self contained motorhomes with a designated freedom camping spot at Porritt Stadium and freedom camping allowed on any time unrestricted public road car parking space across the city.
Events in Te Kuiti
Distance from Auckland - 198km, 2 hours 30 min
Where - Main street, Te Kuiti, Waikato
When - 10 April, 10am - 3pm
Price - Free
No Kiwi holiday is complete without seeing some sheep. Get up close and personal with Te Kuiti’s sheep population at The Great New Zealand Muster. Te Kuiti’s main street will be transformed with a sheep theme and packed full of stalls with fantastic products, food, arts and crafts displays and rural exhibits. Watch performers, competitions and sheep mustering skills on display on the main stage all day.
Don’t miss the much anticipated sheep run at 2pm. Want more sheep fun? After the running of the sheep, come straight to the annual New Zealand Shearing Championships to see shearing pros at work. This is a separate paid event but entry is free after the sheep run until 8pm.
Motorhome parking for the day can be found in the town centre behind the main street by the railway line.
Parking and camping for motorhomes in Te Kuiti
Te Kuiti is an accredited Motorhome Friendly Town with all the amenities you’ll need for motorhoming.
A town of plenty, Te Kuiti has ample motorhome parking in the town centre for day excursions as well as a selection of private overnight spots, campgrounds and freedom camping.
Motorhoming is the perfect way to get the family on the road and visit some or all of the fantastic events happening this April school holidays. With so many towns offering beautiful spots to spend the night, it’s easy to see what makes motorhome holidays so popular among Kiwis.
Don’t forget to book soon if you’re hoping to secure a motorhome rental before this school holidays.