Why not make the most of Auckland’s great outdoors with the kids - get out and explore the beaches and bush and see what nature you can spot. Turn your day into a scavenger hunt or create a backyard bingo sheet of things for kids to hunt out.
As well as a great opportunity to get outside, you could also follow up with some learning using the resources in your public library. There are some fantastic identification and New Zealand nature books written just for kids. Take some paper and pencils and have the kids draw/record what they find.
- Our beaches are a treasure trove of interesting shells to find and different beaches will have different shells depending on what lives on the beach and offshore. There will also be a range of different seaweeds washed up. Common shells you might find include cockles (tuangi), pipi and tuatua. Another triangular shell is the sunset shell, which have distinctive radiating stripes in sunset colours (oranges/pinks/purples).
- Poke around in the rock pools. The trick to seeing the secretive creatures is to sit really still and wait for them to come out – your movements and shadows will cause them to dart back into their hiding places – a good challenge for the kids!
- Go bird spotting in your back yard and surrounding parks. A five year survey of Auckland’s forest, scrub and shrubland areas has shown that we have a wide diversity of bird species in Auckland.
- Spend some time watching the huge array of feeding wading birds around the shores of the Manukau Harbour or the sheltered east coast estuaries. Or try a walk around the spectacular west coast and see the graceful gannets (tākapu).
- Auckland is an international seabird hotspot so there is plenty to see along the coast and out at sea if you’re on a boat or taking a ferry ride.
- Visit one of Auckland’s five marine reserves. You will see a huge array of marine species on a visit to New Zealand’s oldest marine reserve at Goat Island, Leigh. You can find out more about the things you see with a visit to the adjacent Goat Island Marine Discovery Centre.