Monday, November 28, 2022

Stuck For What to Do These School Holidays? Here’s What’s On, Where to Go and What to Do at Home

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YAY, it’s school holidays! Two whole weeks off school to do whatever we want and have fun and… oh wait, we’re the adults here. Yikes. If you’re wondering what the heck you should do with your little people these holidays, we’ve got you sorted. Here’s our list of the best school holiday activities for these October holidays!

Whether you’re keen to make a last minute trip away, a day excursion, something to kill a few hours – or a fun activity to do at home, we’ve got a few ideas for you.

Here goes!

A night at the museum

Okay, we’ve seen all of the Night At The Museum movies, so we understand that it’s when all the magic (and insanity) happens. So, we’re veeeery excited to learn that Auckland Museum is opening for special night events for six nights during the school holidays.

Night at Auckland Museum: Glorious Greeks sounds like a night not to be missed. You’re invited to bring along your torch and go for a journey of discovery through the ancient Greek world. You’ll wander through the darkened galleries and come face to face with a multitude of (mostly) wise characters with stories to tell and lessons to share, taste the ‘delights’ of ancient Greek food, have a go at their arts, their fashion, and experience their fantastical stories brought to life!

Admission costs $35

Make Like Kevin McCallister (without losing any family members, of course!)

If you’re thinking about heading to Wellington with the kids (its hard to find a place that tops Te Papa in NZ), check the family into the newly opened Mövenpick Hotel. It’s super kid friendly, with a daily Chocolate Hour –  a decadent chocolate experience with live demonstrations, from rolling truffles to icing cupcakes, staged every afternoon in the hotel lobby. Thankfully they have an amazing heated indoor pool that’s perfect for doing laps and getting rid of that sugar high.

Also, if you’ve ever seen Home Alone 2 and felt jealous of Kevin McCallister as a custom ice cream sundae is crafted right in front of him as he lays in bed – you can live out the fantasy at Mövenpick! They offer an in-room Sundae Service (that isn’t just for kids) which are prepared in front of you, in your room.

Remember THIS scene?

Celebrate Diwali

If you’re in Auckland, it’s the place to be on the weekend of October 12 and 13. Queen Street and Aotea Square will be transformed into a colourful and mouth-watering spectacle when the 18th Auckland Diwali Festival takes place.  Kids can enjoy the bright lights, energetic dance performances, incredible Indian delicacies culminating in an incredible fireworks display on Sunday evening. This free, family-friendly event is a highlight of Auckland’s major events calendar, and one of New Zealand’s largest cultural festivals.

Reel in a trout!

If you’ve got a budding fisherman or woman in the family, why not head to the Tongariro Trout Centre in Turangi. There’s lovely walks meandering around the river, plus a native aquarium and Rainbow Trout Hatchery, but the real (or reel?) star of the show is the kid’s fly fishing area. For $45 kids aged 5-18 get a licence and all the gear, then go out with an instructor who helps them land their own trout. By the time you’ve made it back to the entrance – especially if you take a look in the museum – the trout will have been filleted, smoked (in manuka honey and brown sugar) and ready to be eaten on site, or taken away. If you’re looking for a place to stay in Tūrangi, we can recommend the Tūrangi Trout Lodge – there’s a river right out front to put your new-found fishing skills to the test!

These little toilet paper roll freaksters are super easy to make!

Get in the Spooky Zone

Halloween is just around the corner, so if you’re looking for some things to do around home, why not get started on some decorations?

Last year we went a bit nuts at home, with decorations from Look Sharp, but my favourite ones were the ones we made ourselves. Our favourites were these toilet paper roll freaksters, some puffy ghosts and some painted jar Halloween Luminaries.

You could also go full on and plan a Spooky Scavenger Hunt one day. You could either approach it in a similar way to Easter, and randomly hide Halloween treats around your home and garden, or create a treasure hunt with clues leading to the next clue, with a treasure trove of treats at the end. To take the hard work out of it, you can even download the whole thing for free here and just print out and place the spooky clues!

Alternatively, make your own personalised one – perhaps with tricks along the way. Maybe you have to bob for apples to receive a clue, or fish it out of a bowl of spooky slime! Enjoy!

Hamilton’s new Ancient Egyptian Garden

Escape to Egypt… kind of.

Thankfully, things have really cooled off over in Europe, so if your gram feed is anything like ours, it’s thankfully less full of Santorini sunsets. If you missed out on making it over to Europe this year, never fear – there’s a spot in NZ that’s about as close as you can get without leaving the country, plus the kids will love it!

Hamilton Gardens are truly something quite spectacular. They’re so convincing, you’ll definitely feel like you’re in another land. There’s the Indian Char Bagh, the Italian Renaissance, Chinese Scholars’ and English Flower Gardens, plus the impressive Japanese Garden of Contemplation to explore.

Then, you can travel to a whole other realm with their Fantasy Collection gardens, including my personal fave, the Surrealist garden, where you literally feel like Alice in Wonderland. Kids, adults and seniors alike will love it.

Plus, it’s FREEEEEEEE!

This year, they’ve also added a new garden to the mix – the highly anticipated Ancient Egyptian Garden. It’s like stepping back 4,000 years to the sun kissed lands of the Pharaohs and is mind-blowingly beautiful. It’s also one of a kind – it’s believed to be the first recreation of this sacred garden type in the world!

Head to the big screen

If you’re looking for school holiday activities that are inside (hello typical October rainy weather), luckily there are a few great family movies on at the cinema right now. Our pick of the bunch is DC League of Super Pets. The animation is superb (and adorable), plus it has an incredible line-up of stars. We’re talking John Krasinski as Superman, Dwayne Johnson as his heroic pooch Krypto, Kevin Hart as street dog Ace, Olivia Wilde as Lois Lane, Keanu Reeves as Batman, Jemaine Clement as Aquaman and Jameela Jamil as Wonder Woman.

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