South Canterbury, Family Activities


  • High Country Salmon - Twizel

    High Country Salmon is a boutique, 100% New Zealand family owned salmon farm, situated 3km south of Twizel.  They grow glacial mountain salmon (chinook or king salmon) in the hydro canal system and do everything on-site - resulting in the shortest supply chain possible and the freshest salmon available.

    Visitors to High Country Salmon have a range of things to do; have a coffee and some delicious salmon-inspired food from the café, feed the salmon (for free) on the floating deck, purchase some salmon to take home from the fish shop, or even catch your own salmon!  There is plenty of parking, and the scenery is spectacular!
    Open from 9am daily.  Please check the website for more information and current closing times.  They can also deliver salmon to your door nationwide – order online via the website.

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  • Lake Tekapo Star Gazing Tour

    At Dark Sky Project we connect visitors to the night skies.

    The Summit Experience

    A breathtaking tour that takes place at the world renowned astronomical centre UC Mt John Observatory.

    Crater Experience

    This is a great intorduction to stargazing and suitable for children five years and over.

    Dark Sky Experience

    Go on a journey of 13.8 billion years as you take a guided multi media voyage through space and time.

    Twilight Experience (Summer Only)

    For those looking for an evening tour with an earlier start than the Summit Experience - watch the sun set below the Southern Alps as you enjoy a multi media presentation, tour of the research facilities and view the nights sky through the powerful optical telescopes.

    Little Star Experience (Winter Only)

    A great option for those looking for an earlier night tour during the winter months.

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  • Hot Pools & Day Spa - Tekapo Springs

    Hot water, steam and... Ice? Yes, you read that right. Tekapo Springs combines the luxury of hot pools, sauna, steam room and a day spa with the excitement of an ice skating rink, snow park and plunge pool.

    Sink into the relaxing, therapeutic hot pools while taking in the glorious views of Lake Tekapo. Get pampered in the luxurious day spa. Heat up in the sauna and steam room before cooling down in the lake-temperature (eight degrees Celsius!) plunge pool.  Kids love the ice skating rink – which converts to a roller-skating rink in summer – or visit the 150-metre long snow tubing park to try out some snow tubing in winter or the Magic Carpet in summer. Tekapo Springs is an excellent destination for a family day out!

    Minimum age for Ice Skating is 3 years old & 5 years for Tubing

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  • Mt Cook Ski Planes

    Mount Cook Ski Planes offer a wide range of scenic flights and glacier landings.  They are the only company to offer glacier landing flights in both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters. Experience the natural quiet of the Tasman Glacier and the ever changing glacial landscape of the NZ Southern Alps.

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  • Jet Boat through the Rakaia Gorge

    Hold on tight as your skillful driver weaves the jet through an intricate braided river channel system, skimming along the rocky banks and gushing waters, home to Salmon and Trout fish. Travelling at high speeds you will journey through the Rakaia Gorge, wind flowing through your hair and cool water splashing you with every twist and turn your driver makes as you take in the stunning scenery.

    The scrub covered hills change to towering coal and limestone cliffs in shades of greys and browns, carved in the land over millions of years. Marvel at the snow capped Southern Alps between exhilarating 360 degree spins! With highly experienced drivers they will show you the treasures of the gorge, accessing spots others can only dream of!
    Children under 5 years go FREE.

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  • Kiwi Guardian Outdoor Adventures

    Get the kids outside to have some FREE family fun connecting with nature at Toyota Kiwi Guardians sites nationwide.

    Toyota Kiwi Guardians highlights family-friendly, treasure hunt style activities at specific Department of Conservation sites that encourage kids to engage with the outdoors and, ultimately, earn themselves a medal for their efforts.

    The goal of the conservation programme is to turn Kiwi kids into guardians of the land and sea.

    A total of 50 sites are operational nationwide. Families can get started on their adventure by downloading the appropriate “treasure hunt” map from:

    Click on the area of New Zealand nearest to where you are to find the choices available closest to home.

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  • Ages 2+

    Discovery Jet - Rakaia Gorge

    Discovery Jet offers you the chance to hold on tight and enjoy the scenic wonders of the Rakaia Gorge in your choice of a thrilling and exhilarating jet boat tour ranging from either 15, 30 or 45 minutes of pure fun! Great rates and under 5's travel FREE with a fare paying adult.

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    • Phone: 0800 538 2628
    • Location: North side of the Rakaia Gorge bridge on State Highway 72, Canterbury
  • Ages 6+

    Rangitata Rafts - Geraldine

    This exciting, family-friendly trip, taken by our experienced staff, will involve guiding you through the lower part of the Rangitata River. Suitable for kids of all ages, you'll get a true South Island rafting experience, up to grade three white water rapids and some of the most beautiful scenery New Zealand has to offer! For ages 6+ years.


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  • Ages 10+

    Mt Cook Guided Day Walks

    Take in a guided tour of the Hooker Valley, providing breathtaking views of some of NZ's highest and most enthralling peaks. Our knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides will tell you all about the unique flora and fauna of the region and the local history as you trek through this amazing landscape. Departs and returns from The Hermitage and with the choice of a half or full day option. Minimum age 10 years.


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    • Phone: 03 435 1809
    • Location: Departs from The Hermitage, Mt Cook Village
  • Chipmunks Timaru

    Visit Chipmunks for unlimited play for your children aged 0 – 11 years old and relax over a coffee or lunch with friends and family at our full service café. Chipmunks feature exciting under 5’s areas, action packed ball blasters, Chipmunks exclusive ‘mega’ slides and an awesome playground structure for guaranteed fun. Chipmunks is also the perfect play centre to host an exciting & memorable birthday party.

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    • Phone: 03 688 8846
    • Location: 7 Stafford Street, Timaru
  • Tekapo Springs

    Tekapo Springs offers lots of family entertainment. With three hot pools, the world's largest landbased inflatable waterslide, an outdoor skating rink operates in winter (mid April - mid September) and a one hundred and fifty metre long by fifty-metre wide tube park that is open in both winter and summer. Combo deals available and there is a cafe onsite.


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    • Phone: 03 680 6550
    • Location: 6 Lakeside Dr, Lake Tekapo
  • Caroline Bay Trust Aoraki Centre - Timaru

    The Centre boosts three indoor pools, 50M outdoor pool, two hydroslides, a children’s water play area, Rapid River, Bombing Tower and Chillax Area with Steam, Sauna and Spa. The gym is fully equipped with state of the art Cybex strength and cardio equipment. Plus two group fitness studios (including RPM) offering Les Mills group fitness classes. The centre is completed with a Wellness suite to include beauty therapy treatments and nutrition consultants and the Café serves freshly baked food and offers diners an outdoor courtyard. The facilities offer hours of enjoyment for the whole family, including the elite to recreational swimmer, children, and people with disabilities.

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    • Phone: 03 684 2229
    • Location: 11 Te Weka Street, Timaru
  • Ages 3+

    Flip Out - Timaru

    Dive into our foam pits, fly high on the olympic tramp, play dodgeball or bounce on our huge main trampoline. There's also a kids trampoline area - perfect for parties! Flip Out caters for sporting groups, school & community groups and community events.

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    • Phone: 03 688 2807
    • Location: 147 Hilton Highway, Timaru
  • Balmoral Farmyard and Shop - Tekapo

    The Balmoral Farmyard and Shop is located next to Mt John Homestead. With a lovely range of farm animals which you can get close to, the kids will love this.  You can also purchase animal feed if you would like to feed the animals.


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    • Phone: 021 329 885
    • Location: 19 Main Highway, Lake Tekapo
  • Ages 4+

    Glacier Explorers - Mount Cook

    Very few glaciers terminate into lakes and even fewer are readily accessible to travellers. By boat, we explore the huge dripping iceface of New Zealand’s largest glacier. Watch and listen to the ice melting before your eyes in this tranquil glacial lake nestled in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. Discover spectacular ice formations which have calved into the murky waters of Lake Tasman. Stop, to touch and taste 500 year old ice and, on occasion, a walk on an iceberg provides a new and exciting experience for all.

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    • Phone: 03 435 1641
    • Location: Mount Cook National Park
  • South Canterbury Museum - Timaru

    The South Canterbury Museum is a great place for kids to explore! From fossils to fashions, you can see hundreds of fascinating things! Open drawers, do puzzles and lots more. School holidays are a really good time to visit the Museum, with a range of activities for kids in the galleries. See What's On to find out what current exhibits and programmes are happening or coming up soon. Contact us to join the Museum Explorers Club for primary school-aged students - it's free! All Explorers get a Museum Passport that is stamped every time they visit the Museum - get 5 stamps to earn a prize. Explorers also get sent our latest Explorers Club newsletters and information about our upcoming events for kids - including holiday programmes and special events like Museum in the Dark and more!

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  • Earth & Sky Astronomy - Tekapo

    Offering tours to suit the whole family, whether you have younger kids or older kids, you have the choice of day tours, twilight and evening tours.  Enjoy the wonders of the southern night sky, and experience the thrill of peering through powerful telescopes and when the stars are hidden from view, take a journey to discover the world of an astronomer!

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  • Alpaca Farmyard - Fairlie

    Gem Alpaca Stud offer farm visits to meet and greet our Alpaca, Llama and sheep.  Our farm visits allows you to get in the paddocks with the Alpaca and Llama and see very clearly the difference between the two species. At the right time of year you will also meet the cria (Baby Alpaca/Llama). Farm visits take 1 hour and are dependant on weather. Great for young and old.

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    • Phone: 03 685 8589
    • Location: The Paca Shack, 77 Main Street, Fairlie
  • Ages 4+

    Mackenzie Alpine Horse Trekking- Tekapo

    Enjoy a horseback ride through McKenzie Country seeing tussock grasslands, glacial lakes & forests.  Options include a 30 minute, one, two, 3 1/2 hour or a full day trek.  


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  • The Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre - Mt Cook

    The Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre's 126-seat custom-designed theatre is the world's only theatre with 2D, 3D and a Digital Dome Planetarium under one roof! Offering you 'Mount Cook Magic' an inspiring 3D cinematic experience unlike any other and The Digital Dome Planetarium, where science meets entertainment for an unrivalled 360 degree cinematic experience. The museum showcases the history of the Mount Cook region and where you can learn all about Sir Edmund Hillary himself.

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Map of New Zealand
  • Central Otago
  • Bay of Plenty
  • Coromandel
  • Dunedin
  • Gisborne
  • Fiordland
  • Hawkes Bay
  • Marlborough Sounds
  • Manawatu
  • Nelson & Golden Bay
  • Northland
  • North Canterbury
  • Rotorua
  • Queenstown
  • Taranaki
  • South Canterbury
  • Taupo
  • Southland
  • Waikato
  • Wanaka
  • West Coast
  • Whangarei
  • Bay of Islands
  • Tauranga
  • Gisborne
  • Hamilton
  • Napier
  • Kapiti
  • Palmerston North
  • Whanganui
  • New Plymouth
  • Arrowtown
  • Te Anau
  • Akaroa
  • Ashburton
  • Hanmer
  • Kaikoura
  • Methven
  • Mt Cook
  • Oamaru
  • Tekapo
  • Timaru
  • Abel Tasman
  • Motueka
  • Nelson Lakes
  • Blenheim
  • Picton
  • Catlins
  • Gore
  • Stewart Island
  • Central Plateau
  • Invercargill
  • Cromwell
  • Greymouth
  • Hokitika
  • Westport
  • Glenorchy

Our favourite destinations…


New Zealand’s economic heart and biggest city is also an exciting family visitor destination, situated on a sunny harbour with city beaches just minutes away from the CBD. Orientate yourself by heading down to Viaduct Harbour, wandering the waterfront, checking out the super yachts or enjoying the waterfront restaurants. Nearby is the must-visit Sky Tower along with excellent and kid-friendly museums and tons of exciting activities!


Wellington is New Zealand’s capital. Here you will find New Zealand's parliament buildings, including the 'Executive Wing', more well-known as 'The Beehive' due to its distinctive shape. Another icon to look out for is the Wellington Tram, which was the main means of public transport between 1878 and 1964.


With a population of around 400,000 Christchurch, in Canterbury, is the South Island ’s largest city, yet much of it has the feel of a small town. Perhaps that’s why it’s known as the Garden City but with the expansive Hagley Park, Botanic Gardens, Port Hills, River Avon and numerous beaches the city certainly has an open, relaxed feel that’s hard to beat.


With its well-deserved reputation as New Zealand’s activity adventure capital you’ll never run out of activities and things to do in Queenstown, but you may run out of time! With breathtaking scenery, activities and festivals, cafes and restaurants, skiing and snowboarding, shopping and wineries, this lakeside alpine resort rates as one of the world’s top vacation destinations for all ages and seasons.


Rotorua sits on the shore of Lake Rotorua, one of sixteen lakes in the area formed by hundreds of thousands of years of eruptions from the Taupo Volcanic Zone. The area is renowned for its geothermal activity and top of any activity list is to see the bubbling mud pools that are around the region for yourself. The Waimangu Volcanic Valley offers a first hand insight into the devastation caused by the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera and is a great place to discover steaming volcanic craters and bubbling, spitting  pools of mud!

Nelson and Golden Bay

The Nelson and Golden Bay regions, at the top of the South Island, boast enviable sunshine hours, glorious sandy beaches, safe swimming spots, lots of wildlife to look out for, and Abel Tasman National Park - an absolute must to explore, on foot, by kayak, your own craft or watertaxi.  Nelson is home to a vibrant arts and crafts community with a fabulous Saturday market, and is close to award-winning wineries and family-friendly bike tracks to take you around the coast.

Hawkes Bay

Napier was rebuilt after the 1931 earthquake and is now known as NZ's Art Deco City.  The Art Deco influence has created a unique city – nowhere else can you see such a varied concentration of art deco style. With over 2,200 sunshine hours a year, Napier is a year-round holiday destination with countless activities to entertain the kids – there's days of entertainment on Marine Parade alone, plus numerous other family-friendly trips and activities.  Add to that the beaches, walks and flat cycle paths, outdoor cafes and entertainment, and you have a perfect holiday destination!


Beautiful, unspoiled beaches, fishing, historic gum fields, kauri forests – the Far North has it all. With subtropical temperatures, it's often known as ‘the Winterless north', with warm, humid summers and mild winters.
Gateway to the Bay of Islands, Paihia is a pretty, lively beachside town and a perfect base for your family holiday. It’s your start point for Bay of Island adventures including day cruises, sailing, kayaking, swimming with dolphins and reef or wreck diving.