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!)
  • Take a small toy to add to the fairy grotto at Ross Creek (take the left hand trail from the Burma Rd entrance). Then find the track that joins up with the Craigieburn trail
  • 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 Wild Time 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.

Basketball Otago

Basketball Otago is proud to offer a school holidays program that includes basketball skills & other fun activities. No experience necessary.

Suitable for ages 7-13 years. For all enquiries please email

Break-Away Surf Survival Holiday Programme (Summer holidays only)

The free Break-Away Surf Survival Programme runs for four days, with free transport from Dunedin to the safe swimming beach at Warrington. Experienced instructors will help participants gain skills and fitness in surf swimming and using boards in the waves.
 Learn first aid, VHF marine radio skills, CPR, and surf rescue skills using the Inflatable Rescue Boats (IRBs). Hot showers and cooked lunches provided.

Suitable for 11 to 17 year olds. For further information, please email: or contact Sport Otago.

Football South

FootballSouth offer an action packed holiday programme for kids. Delivered by accredited providers, it’s a great way for young players to have fun and develop their football skills. Each session includes skill-based training, so kids can learn the tricks and techniques to become better players. There are also plenty of chances to play football games to apply these skills in a fun, safe environment.

Available from one to five days per week. Suitable for children aged 7 to 11, from total beginners to committed young players.

Kelly Sports

Kelly Sports encourages kids to have fun, build confidence and to give sport a go. They are passionate about what they do because they believe that sport has so much to offer young people. Sport and physical activity improves fitness, builds confidence, develops communication skills, teaches respect and consideration and gives children a place to channel their energy.

Otago Cricket

Otago Cricket’s coaching team offer a holiday programme for boys and girl to extend their cricket skills. Through game-based activities children work on batting, spin bowling, pace bowing, wicketkeeping and fielding.

Numbers are limited. For more information visit or email Tama Walker

Otago Hockey

Otago Hockey do not offer a holiday programme as such, but often run 2-3 hour clinics over the school holidays. To find out more contact


Playball’s focus is on developing skills through classes and sports clinics in rugby, cricket, basketball, soccer, netball and hockey. Also included are trip days and other fun activities. Playball’s Full Holiday Programme runs from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, at Bayfield High School and Dunedin North Intermediate. Ideal for children who love sport, being active and those who want to spend their time developing their sports skills while also having a lot of fun!

Suitable for children aged 5 to 13 years.


Looking for some fun options for the kids over the school holidays? Sport Otago is passionate about helping kids enjoy being active and making the most of all opportunities, and their holiday programme offers great active fun for your kids.  Full day and part day options available, from $30 to $45. Proudly supported by Vege Boys, Stirling Sports, Heart Foundation, and the Edgar Centre.

Suitable for 3 to 13 year olds.

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