family eating at a picnic table outside grazing platter Southern Way

Family Fun

The Southern Way is full of exciting and fun-filled activities that will make your family holiday a truly memorable one. Indoor or outdoor, town or country, explore the regions and discover new experiences together.

Dolphins Surfing Southland New Zealand Credit Great South 2


Experience the magic of summer in the Southern Way regions with the family, the hotter days and longer summer evenings allows more time to explore and have fun together. 

Summer is a perfect time for water fun on the many lakes in the regions, take in the beauty of the Lake Whakatipu with a cruise on the TSS Earnslaw or view from a kayak or paddleboard a refreshing swim in the cool waters is a must for everyone on a hot summer day. 

Head to one of the many beaches to spend your days together building sandcastles, paddling close to shore or swimming in the crashing waves. For those seeking surfing adventures, you can learn to surf in Dunedin or catch some waves at the many breaks in the Catlins.

Hit the trails with the family with a huge variety of biking tracks and trails suitable all ages and stages, check out our Cycling suggestions. 

View the wildlife on the longer warmer days watching them in their natural habitat. Be captivated as the Royal Albatross soar the skies at the The Royal Albatross Centre on the Otago Peninsula and delight in watching the Little Blue Penguins kororā emerge from the sea in Oamaru and Dunedin.

Southern Way stars
Biking in Arrowtown2


As the leaves change colour, there is something truly magical about the Southern Way and it’s a great time to explore the wide-open spaces our regions have to offer. 

The Arrowtown Autumn Festival attracts locals and visitors annually to enjoy the picturesque town at the most colourful time of the year, with 50 events over 6 days there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the festivities.

The cycle trails are spectacular at this time of year and there are plenty of family friendly ones to explore. 

For those slightly cooler days, head indoors to enjoy go-karting, indoor rock climbing, boutique movie theatres, museums and aquatic complexes. The family will be occupied, whichever way you go.

For a list of events that happen in Autumn, head over to our Whats On page.

Tuhura Planetarium Dunedin New Zealand


When the temperatures drop and the days draw shorter it's time to rug up warm and enjoy all the fun activities that can only be experienced in cooler climates. Start the day early on the slopes, whether on downhill or cross country skis, snowboards or tubes there's a mountain or a trail to suit everyone. 

Iceskating and curling were introduced into the Southern regions by the early settlers and its still great family fun with indoor rinks in Queenstown, Dunedin and Gore and for a true winter experience try an outdoor rink in Alexandra or Naseby

When you feel like heading indoors, museums are always a winner for kids. We are spoiled for choice with transport museums, such as Bill Richardson Transport World , Classic Motorcycle Mecca and The National Transport and Toy Museum. The Otago Museum with its amazing planetarium and tropical butterfly exhibition is bound to thrill both adults and children alike. 

As the sun drops earlier in the evening during the cooler months its the perfect excuse to head out for an early family dinner and sit by a roaring fire to plan your next days adventure.

Plan to be in Invercargill in July for the annual ILT Kidzone Festival , this popular family event jam-packed with hundreds of hands-on activities, rides and experiences for kids of all kinds - creators, constructors, computer whizzes, explorers and sports stars.

Lavender farm 2


As the days get longer, the temperatures rise and the flowers are in bloom, it’s time to get the family out and about and enjoy all the regions have to offer with tracks to explore and adventures to seek.

The skiifields stay open in early October with spring skiing bringing softer snow conditions and warmer temperatures up the slopes which are good for beginners and kids.

The botanical gardens in the regions will be bursting with colour and will be a welcome sight after the winter months. Farm tours are perfect at this time to year to visit all the new-born farm animals. Our National Parks are awash with birdsong during Spring and the kids will love spotting the new fledglings while you’re walking or hiking. Enjoy a tour of the Glow worm caves, embark on a scenic cruise and head out on a guided wildlife tour.

Fresh spring produce will be emerging from our cafes and restaurants, so be sure to get your first taste of spring as our chefs try out their new menus. 

For fun Spring events, check out the Spring Events on the What’s On page.