Top Things To Do These School Holidays

October school holidays are around the corner, so it's time to start planning your family adventures. From exploring the outdoors to indoor fun, family-friendly events, and where to eat with kids, Hawke's Bay has you covered.

Outdoor adventures

Family-friendly outdoor experiences are a great way to experience our beautiful region. Cycle the super-easy sections of the Hawke's Bay Trails along Marine Parade and around to Ahuriri. You'll also find great cycling along Central Hawke's Bay's popular Tukituki Trails, while the Wairoa River Walk and Cycleway is a cruisy way to experience Hawke's Bay's northernmost town. 

Explore protected wildlife sanctuaries, Ahuriri Estuary in Napier, Pekapeka Wetlands - south of Hastings, or Te Angiangi Marine Reserve in Central Hawke's Bay. You'll find even more wildlife at Cape Kidnappers with Gannet Safaris Overland, at Hawke's Bay Farmyard Zoo in Haumoana, and on the Napier-Taupo Road with Mohaka River Farm's horse treks and farm experiences.

Opening just in time for school holidays is Mohaka Rafting, also on the Napier-Taupo Road, with Grade 2 & 3 experiences ideal for families. Or for a somewhat more sedate water experience, pack a picnic and head to one of the many scenic beaches - you'll find great options the entire length of the Hawke's Bay coastline. If scenic walks are your thing, pack some snacks, water and hats, and try out some of the wonderful walks for little legs!

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Ocean Beach is just a 30-minute drive from the centre of Hastings.

Indoor fun

Keep youngsters busy discovering and learning these school holidays! 

Home of Hawke’s Bay’s cultural treasures, MTG is a great way to entertain the family. Check out the MTG website for school holiday programmesThe Faraday Museum of Technology is another favourite place to take the kids to learn about and explore the evolution of technology, while Wairoa Museum and Central Hawke's Bay Museum come highly recommended for kids. 

The National Aquarium of New Zealand is a feature on Napier’s Marine Parade (along with everything else on Marine Parade!) and is home to a wide range of saltwater, freshwater and land animal exhibits. The Arataki Honey Centre in Havelock North is an enjoyable experience for all ages to visit and learn about bees and honey!

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See the incredible honey bees at Arataki Honey in Havelock North.

For something a little different, check at Napier's escape rooms at Napier Prison Tours and Enigna Escape Rooms.

Family-friendly events

Until late October

The Big Apple Project is a celebration of Hawke's Bay apple industry - the biggest apple growing region in New Zealand. 20 large scale apple artworks make up a Hastings city-centred trail, with artworks also located in Havelock North, Flaxmere and at Hawke's Bay Airport. 

Until 24 Oct

Terminus, Hastings City Art Gallery: This is the last month for Jess and Simon's incredible exhibit at the Hastings City Art Gallery. With their pioneering use of virtual reality, the artists have created a mysterious universe you can walk through and enjoy.

From 2 Oct

Guthrie Smith Arboretum, Hastings District (SH2, on the road to/from Wairoa): The Arboretum re-opens in October for the public to visit every Sunday until the end of May 2023. Tutira is particularly beautiful during spring with new growth and more than 20,000 specimen trees representing many countries of the world.

Fri 14 Oct

Nuit Blanche, Art After Dark - Hawke's Bay Arts Festival: A night of brilliant performances and magical discoveries when Napier’s galleries, carparks and lanes feature contemporary art exhibitions, installations, live music, DJ’s, moving image projections, dance and street performance. Be sure to check out the full festival programme for other family-friendly experiences - particularly so you can experience the incredible redevelopment of the Municipal Building in Hastings city.

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Napier's Arts Quarter plays host to Nuit Blanche - Art After Dark, as part of the Hawke's Bay Arts Festival.

Where to eat with kids

These are some of our favourite places for families to refuel, ranging from unique cafés with sweet shops to full restaurants with playgrounds for kids. There's bound to be something here for even the fussiest eaters:

Off The Track, Havelock North

Birdwoods, Havelock North

Paper Mulberry Cafe, Central Hawke's Bay

Godsown Brewery, Maraekakaho

Hygge at Clifton Bay, Clifton

Sunset Point, Mahia

Mamacita, Havelock North & Napier

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Hygge Cafe in Clifton is a the perfect Sunday lunch spot for the whole family!

Where to stay

Check out the Accommodation Guide for a comprehensive range of accommodation to suit all families and budgets. 

More inspiration

This is just a starter for 10 with your Hawke's Bay school holidays experience.

Find out more of what's on offer with our Attractions, or via the Great Outdoors Guide, the Art, Design and Culture Guide, or our Events Guide.