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Think back to your happiest childhood memories and chances are they'll be outside! Maybe it's the space and freedom?  Hutt Valley kids have some of the best outdoor play areas in New Zealand. It can take a bit of planning but your kids will love being with you in the great outdoors.

Kiwi Conservation Club is a junior Forest and Bird group with local branches in the Hutt Valley.  They organise group trips and have fantastic magazines for kids to learn about NZ's flora and fauna. Joining a local tramping club is a good way to explore the Hutt Valley and allows more experienced trampers to pass on their knowledge. Local clubs are Hutt Valley Tramping Club and Upper Valley Tramping Club. Tips for keeping safe.

Mission possible activities for the family

Hutt river walks for kids

Hutt River TrailMission: travel the Hutt River as it flows from Akatarawa River into Wellington Harbour
Location: the trail is 28.4kms long so you can start at any point between Hikoikoi Reserve on the Petone foreshore, through to Birchville and the Akatarawa River in Upper Hutt
Who'd it suit: all ages, trail is flat so good for family bike rides, walks and buggies
What you need: good shoes and hat if walking; bike seat for baby, helmets if riding and a picnic!
Tips: along the way you can explore swimming holes, play grounds, parks and reserves or stop for a bite to eat
Wainuiomata Trail ProjectMission: mountain biking - get out in the bush with your bike
Location: Waiu Street Wainuiomata Trail Project
Who'd it suit: confident riders - you don't need to be an expert rider
What you need: a mountain bike or wheels that will handle the off road conditions. A rugged bike without gears will be fine for kids. A basic bike tool kit.
Tips: Bring your lunch. There isn't anywhere nearby to buy food or drinks. Toilets and shelter on site. The Wainuiomata Trail tracks link to the ECNZ track along the ridge of the Eastern Hills. You could ride to Waiu Street from places like the top of Kingsley Street or Summit Road.
Pencarrow Lighthouse
 Eastern Harbour  
Mission: check out the two lighthouses at Baring Heads
Location: start at the carpark at the end of Muritai Road, Eastbourne and follow the gravel road along the Wellington Harbour coastline
Who'd it suit: good riders as its a gravel road
What you need: helmets, bikeseat for baby, food and water, sunblock
Tips: its a long, flat gravel road to the lighthouse so go as far as suits the family. Check out the weather forecast so you don't have to fight your way back in a northerly! You'll discover the lighthouse keeper's story as you walk up to the operating lighthouse. Toilets near the carpark. There are two inland lakes further round the coast.
Butterfly Creek,
Mission: head over the hills for a picnic at Butterfly Creek
Location: top of Kowhai St, Eastbourne
Who'd it suit: good walkers
What you need: good shoes and hat, backpack for baby, picnic and drinks
Tips: this is a challenging walk for littlies with one moderate climb. Take a backpack as it's not suitable for buggies. It takes about 1.5 hours from Kowhai St entrance and back again, but if you take it slow, there are great views across the harbour before you drop over the back of the coastal hills into the hidden valleys behind. There's picnic tables and a small bridge with eels in the river so take a picnic and enjoy the day!
Petone BeachMission: build a driftwood fort and devour a top quality pie from the Lions Kiosk
Location: Petone Beach, east end, behind Lions Park
Who it'd suit: children 3 years+ with adults
What you need: drink, towel and if it's sunny, a hat and sunblock
Tips: Playground at Lions Park, toilet at Lions Park behind Kiosk, Kiosk open weekdays only. Fires are not allowed on HCC beaches. Bush walk (loop track) in native beech forest Café in Guthrie St and Petone Settlers Museum
Korokoro Dam and Belmont TrigMission: follow the old steel pipeline from the Cornish Street entrance to the Korokoro Dam
Location: starts at the end of Cornish Street, Petone
Who'd it suit: all ages on foot or bike as it's a gentle stroll from Petone to the Korokoro Dam
What you need: good shoes and hat if walking; a bike seat for baby and helmets if riding
Tips: check out the first gravity fed concrete dam in New Zealand, built to supply water for the Petone Borough in 1903. Either return the same way, or take one of the more difficult climbs into the Belmont Regional Park. Some sections of track are narrow with a near-vertical drop to the stream, so some caution is advised.
Jubilee Park, Belmont
Mission: discover an historic house, the remains of a settlers cottage, a fernery, streams and native bush 
Location: there are two entrances on Normandale Road and one on Gaskill Drive. Check out
Who'd it suit: all ages
What you need: good shoes and hat
Tips: bikes are permitted but there are lots of steps
Percy Scenic Reserve
Mission: critter encounter - get up close to wetas in their habitat
Location: Percy Scenic Reserve weta cave
Who'd it suit: children 4 years+
What you need: Torch
Tips: cave awkward with baby backpack and will not fit a pushchair. Sealed paths around the lawns are great for junior scooter riders and balance bikes
Kaitoke Regional Park, Upper HuttMission: cross the mighty swing bridge high above the Kaitoki River
Location: park in the main carpark near the Swingbridge track. Loop takes about 15 mins
Who'd it suit: all ages
What you need: backpack for baby, good shoes. Swimsuits and towels if playing in the river afterwards, picnic and drinks
Tips: you might need to carry your toddler (and dog!) across the bridge. There's lots more to discover ... Rivendell, water works, stunning forest and swimming. Take a picnic and drinks then relax by the river and marvel at the beauty around. Toilets located by carpark. There's a campgound in the park.
Tunnel Gully Upper HuttMission: discover the historic Rimutaka Railway between Wellington and the Wairarapa and walk through the 253m long Mangaroa Tunnel, built between 1875 and 1877
Location: turn off SH2 onto Plateau Road at Te Marua, 6km north of Upper Hutt. Park in the carpark in the Tunnel Gully Recreation Area
Who'd it suit: all ages
What you need: take a mountain buggy or backpack for baby, hats, sunscreen, swimsuits and towels, picnic and drinks
Tips: Tane's Track is a medium walk and takes 1 hour. Start at the lower picnic area and take the left-hand branch of the track. Kids can paddle and swim in the shallow Collins Stream. Bikes allowed
Top Playgrounds Mission: mount expeditions to Hutt Valley's 3 top playgrounds
Location: Harcourt Park in Upper Hutt, Maidstone Park in Upper Hutt and Avalon Park in Lower Hutt
Who'd it suit: children 2 years+
What you will need: towel, swimsuit and sunblock for Harcourt Park water feature, a large picnic for grazing throughout the day, some money for the mini trains at Avalon Park
Tips: Maidstone Park is off Park Street and via a subway from Upper Hutt Railway Station so you could make a day of it and catch the train if you're based further south. There's an ice cream shop at Avalon Park in the Lions mini golf area. Take a book as the kids will be busy for a while!
Matiu/Somes IslandMission: cruise out to Matiu/Somes Island 
Location: middle of Te Whanganui-a-Tara/Wellington Harbour
Who'd it suit : the whole family
What you'd need: hat and sunblock, good shoes, backpack for baby, picnic and drinks
Tips: catch the East by West ferry. There is lots of history on the island, plus great crab hunting along the shore and of course, stunning views over the harbour.
Aston Norwood Gardens
Mission: discover the large Cherry Blossom garden, explore the formal garden, lakes, and identify the azaleas.

Location:  Find the country gardens at Kaitoke, SH2 Upper Hutt, 10 minutes into the scenic drive north of Upper Hutt, on the southern side of the Rimutakas.

Who'd it suit: all ages

What you need: take a mountain buggy or backpack for baby, hats, sunscreen, swimsuits and towels, picnic and drinks.

Tips:  large garden that the kids can run around in with adult supervision, area with kids toys, we have birds and a cat for the kids to come and hold and pat!

Family fun outdoors

Hutt Valley Thunderbolts BMX Club come and have a go at BMX racing, all ages welcome. Every Sunday (if fine) Time:Registration 1.20pm-1.45pm at McLeod Park, McLeod Street, Upper Hutt. Cost:$2 per rider.

Maidstone Miniature Railway, operates first and third Sundays each month, weather permitting, 1pm-4pm at Maidstone Park, Park St, Upper Hutt. Cost $1.00 per person.

Silver Stream Railway open on Sundays and selected public holidays, 11am-4pm for train rides in restored carriages of the wartime era hauled by vintage steam and diesel locomotives. All day ticket: adults: $12, children under 2: free, children 5-14: $6, children 2-4: $2 or families (2 adults, 2 children): $32.

Stockcar racing at Te Marua Speedway off SH2 north of Upper Hutt, signposted.

Trickle Creek in Horokiwi has a petting zoo and offers a rural experience for littlies aged 3-6 years.

Local fairs are always fun!

Keep your eye out in the local paper, or check the events page to see if there's one coming up in your area.

Staglands Wildlife Reserve & Cafe offers visitors the unique and exciting opportunity to connect with nature in a beautiful, natural environment. Feed and freely interact with wildlife in this very special place - the product of one man’s passion and vision to experience nature at its best. Located in the scenic Akatarawa Valley near Upper Hutt, Wellington, Staglands is a ‘must see’ attraction for local families and tourists visiting the Wellington region. Looking for things to do in Wellington, look no further.

Staglands Wildlife Reserve is, hands down, the best place to visit as family in the Wellington region. It is also a great destination for school and group visits, picnics and BBQ’s or if you are looking for activities and things to do in Wellington with your family and friends that’s different from animal farm parks or Zoo’s. 

There is also Staglands cosy café - a stunning log building with an open fire, outdoor seating, BBQ/picnic area and sumptuous menu.





Need more inspiration?

Visit the Upper Hutt City Activation website and download your free copy of their 52 Family Friendly Activities Booklet. The 52 Family Friendly Activities Booklet provides a great list of fun activities for the whole family.

Family friendly activities galore!

The Upper Hutt City Council has produced a booklet, "52 Family Friendly Activities in Upper Hutt". It's jam-packed with low-cost or even free things to do, inside or outside in Upper Hutt.Well worth a look.

Tracks and trails

Upper Hutt river trail outdoor walking activities

There are LOADS of fantastic tracks and trails in our own back yard! Pack a picnic, grab the kids and go exploring. Find tracks to suit your family - Hutt tracks and trails, Lower Hutt cycling trails, Upper Hutt walkwaysUpper Hutt City ParksUpper Hutt cycle trails

Parks and reserves in the Hutt

Keen to go camping, tramping, kayaking and rafting, horseriding or mountain biking with family and friends?  Greater Wellington Regional Council has all the info you need  ...

mountain biking outdoor trails in the Hutt 

Harcourt Park has two playgrounds: one for the little children, and another for the older ones

There's also a paddling pool available for the little ones in the summer time