July School holidays are almost upon us – and there is plenty to do in all weathers on Waiheke, it may pay to bring gumboots as Waiheke’s famous winter mud will not disappoint this year!
We do still have some great family friendly houses available for the holidays, and they are toasty & warm too – talk to us now!
But our insider tips this week are all about throwing a few ideas around about what to do with the kids…
The Waiheke Library is an important part of our community and this really shows when it comes to holiday programmes. The dedicated staff of librarians draw on their skills and those of others in the community, and pull together great events and workshops for kids. In the first week of the holidays there is a session involving two of our favourite things: art and chocolate! Not surprisingly bookings are essential. There is also an afternoon of science fun called pole to pole electrickery which will be magnetising. In the second week kids can channel their inner Geronimo Stilton or Tintin and travel around the world in 80 minutes to solve a mystery. See the library website for details.
Waiheke is a fantastic place to enjoy the stars! We are in Matariki at the moment and the early darkness at this time of the year the school holidays will give perfect star gazing opportunities for kids. The library is hosting a community Matariki celebration on Thursday 11th July 7 – 8.30pm for an evening event of star gazing, food, music and fun.
The Ostend Gallery is running a holiday programme for kids aged 8 - 12 years. Two artists, all the supplies you could imagine and your children’s creativity in a room for 2 hours. The results may be spectacular! For details visit the gallery’s facebook page.
Waiheke Community Cinema has screenings of The Secret Lives of Pets 2 and Toy Story 4. Bookings advised and it is best to arrive early to secure the most comfy sofas!
Artworks Theatre is hosting “The Wonderlings” a week of workshops pulling together song, dance, play and art for 6 -9 year olds. Enrol you kids for a day or all week, and enjoy some adult time off!
The island has fantastic playgrounds built and maintained by Auckland Council. Smallest members of the family are catered for at Little Oneroa (with our pick for the island’s best fish and chip shop across the road), at the middle of Palm Beach, and at the Tin Boat Reserve in Onetangi. Bigger kids will find stuff to do at all playground and will enjoy the newest playground which is down by the house-boats in Ostend.
For older kids and teens the Eco-zip is an opportunity to take their breath away, even if it is the climb through the bush back to the top that gets them!
The Onetangi Sports Park which is guarded by a local rooster army (you’ll see what I mean when you get there) is a great place for everyone to have a run about when the Monopoly game turns sour. There are excellent tennis courts, just bring rackets and balls, and at this time of the year soccer and rugby goals are up if holiday practice is in order. There is a network of mountain biking trails for all levels of ability and a frisbee golf course. The sports park backs onto a 9 hole golf course where kids are welcome to join you on a round. The facilities are used by local clubs at various times, but they are more often than not available for public use.
There are two stables offering horse riding on the island, with horses and trekking opportunities for all ages and abilities. Winter is a great time to go for a ride either down the Eastern End of the island with Waiheke Horse Tours or in Onetangi for beach, farm and vineyard tours with Waiheke Equestrian.
Our pick for feeding the hungry hoards is Wild on Waiheke, on the Onetangi Straight. They have kid friendly menus, toys and outdoor play areas. Wild on Waiheke has games (including archery and clay bird shooting), beer and wine tastings for grown ups too! If grabbing takeaway pizzas seems the best option we recommend Fenice in Oneroa.
Fishing from a wharf or rocks is always good fun! Pick up a hand line and some bait from the petrol stations at Oneroa, Ostend or Onetangi and head to Matiatia Wharf, the breakwater at Kennedy Point, Fishermans Rock at the end of Newton Rd in Oneroa or the wharf at Orapiu. If you want to get a little more serious about tackle visit Ox in Poto Rd for all your fishing needs and great local advice.
Waiheke also has it's very own resident Storyteller, Tanya Batt from Imagined Worlds. Although she also travels a great deal sharing her workshops and stories with the world, these schools holidays she will hosting a few events for kids of all ages, you can check out her website to find out more. If the weather keeps you indoors Gaye at Waiheke Arts and Crafts, opposite Placemakers in Ostend, has a shop full of toys, games, art and craft supplies. While you are in the neighbourhood pop into the favourite breakfast and lunch spot for locals and tradies, The Carpark Café for the island’s best pies and home baking.
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