Active Ideas for Families

Active Family Fun

Wondering what to do on your weekends, or needing some more ideas for the school holidays? Here’s a few of our favourite things to do as a family group.  We’ll update this list with new ideas frequently, and we’d love to add your favourites too; please email us at with your ideas.

  • Trek to the top of Baldwin St

    Dunedin Botanic Garden aviaries

    Dunedin Botanic Garden aviaries

  • Go hydrosliding at Moana Pool
  • Explore the Northern Cemetery (find Larnach’s tomb), and have lunch at Bracken’s View
  • Go to a playground you’ve never been to before
  • Take a drive out to Port Chalmers to watch the boats
  • Visit the playground at Memorial Park, Mosgiel, and then the library if you need to warm up!
  • Play disc golf at Chingford Park
  • Visit the aviaries at the Botanic Garden
  • Ride the flying fox at Woodhaugh Garden
  • Explore some of the Dunedin Street Art Trail
  • Visit Leap

    Brighton beach

    Brighton beach

  • Skim stones at Outram Glen
  • Park at Moana Pool and walk down Queen’s Drive (through the town belt) to Olveston House. You can explore the gardens here for free
  • Have an adventure at Brighton beach. Go at low tide so you can explore the rockpools
  • Throw stones as far as you can off Aramoana Mole
  • Go ice skating at our indoor rink
  • Visit Inflatable World


Wild Time

‘Wild Time’ (free range, outdoor play) is a fantastic was to spend time with the little people in you life. Kids love being given the freedom to use their imagination and explore the natural world.

Research shows that the benefits of plenty of wild time in childhood are significant. By engaging in free range outdoors play, we can expect our kids to:

  • Improve their ability to judge and understand risk;
  • Increase their physical health through exercise;
  • Enhance and maintain their mental health and positive well-being through exposure to the natural world;
  • Experience stimulated imagination and creativity through outdoor play and learning;
  • Improve their communication skills and the ability to build and maintain relationships.

As well as just exploring the environment, there are lots of fun things you can do when in the great outdoors. Here are some ideas:

  • Lie down and look at the clouds. What shapes can you see?heart cloud
  • Hunt for a trail of ants and follow it forwards and backwards. Where have they been and where are they going?
  • Hunt for fossils and bones.
  • On a sunny day, create shadow pictures with your body. What can you see?
  • Play animal charades.
  • Make a daisy chain. Who can make the longest one?
  • Look under a rock. Count how many different creatures you see.
  • Take 5 minutes to hug a tree. Close your eyes and describe the bark and leaves to each other.treehug
  • Collect a bunch of different things off the ground (leaves, rocks, flowers, twigs etc) and create a piece of art or a sculpture.
  • Climb a tree,
  • Walk barefoot.

For lots more great ideas, download the Persil Wild Explorers app.


We are awfully lucky to have such a great and varied selection of playgrounds to choose from in Dunedin. You can find a full list here on the Dunedin City Council website, but here are some of our favourites:

Woodhaugh Gardens, North Dunedin 

Paddling pool at Woodhaugh

Could Woodhaugh Gardens be our absolute favourite? As well as the paddling pool and preschool play area, there is now a flying fox and other newer play equipment suitable for older kids. Swings and seesaws are dotted around the park too. A number of tracks meander their way through the bush area on the western side of the park and this is well worth exploring, great for a game of hide and seek! The tracks will also lead you down to the Leith Stream if you fancy some rock clambering and stone throwing. Don’t forget the duck pond on the southern aspect of the garden either! There’s also plenty of open green space for running around, playing Frisbee, or even setting up a volleyball net. A number of well-maintained BBQs are also available, and these are free for public use.

Click here to find out how to get there.

Latham Park, Portobello

With it’s little tug boat, custom built large boat with soft fall waves, and a great view of the sea from the top of the slide (is it the tallest slide in town?) it’s a great place for imaginative play. Wander over the road to the bay and explore the rocky coastline while you’re there.

Click here to find out how to get there.

Memorial Park, Mosgiel
Memorial Park, Mosgiel

Memorial Park, Mosgiel

Perhaps the biggest playground in Dunedin, Memorial Park will keep the kids entertained for hours. There is an enclosed playground for the small fry, and a multitude of other options to keep older kids challenged and happy (look no further than the massive ‘’spider web” for hours of fun). There’s a wheelchair swing (key available at the library right nearby), as well as dedicated skate/scooter space with ramps and jumps, and plenty of open green space too. Take along a picnic, or make the most of the free BBQs.

Click here to find out how to get there.

St Clair Playground

Grab a takeaway coffee from one of the cafes over the road and relax while the little ones run amok. Take your places on the ‘swing circle’ and try to swing high enough to touch feet, or hav races rolling down the grassy bank. St Clair Playground tends towards preschool children with a few items for those a bit older. And it’s just a hop, skip and a jump from the beach.

Click here to find out how to get there.

Marlow Park

Marlow Park

Marlow Park (aka The Dinosaur Park), St Kilda

Located near St Kilda beach, Marlow Park is famous for its iconic whale, sea serpent swing, and dinosaur slide. There are a number of other unique features too, such as the tunnels and the shoe slide. The kids can take their bikes or scooters to practice on the comprehensive learn to ride area, which is complete with road markings and signs.

Click here to find out how to get there.

Bayfield Park

Featuring the only ‘roktopus’ in town, Bayfield Park is situated right by the water and boasts plenty of parking. There’s a huge green space providing plenty of room for kicking a ball or flying a kite. Around the perimeter of the adjoining sports field is also a wooden obstacle/fitness course for adults, just in case mum and dad need to burn off some energy too.

Click here to find out how to get there.



School Holiday Programmes

If you’re keen for your school-age children to be active over the holidays, there are lots of options to choose from.  The best place to find information is on the Facebook and Twitter pages of Sport Otago or any of these sporting groups that regularly have holiday programmes:

Basketball Otago
Football South
Otago Cricket
Otago Hockey
Tennis Otago
Kelly Sports


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