Our ferry trips can vary from 40 minutes on the Clipper from Pine Harbour to Auckland through to the Great Barrier Island 4.5-hour cruise. The latter can be daunting when travelling with kids so we’re here to help.
On the Island Navigator, the ferry that most frequently travels to Great Barrier Island, there's a kid’s activity area below deck – just down the stairs next to the onboard cafe. There are books and games available here along with being in a secure/gated area. We also have a book swap on this floor so if you have any books you wish to drop off for both young and old, please do!
On the Waiheke ferries, you’ll find board games on various tables and kids activity sheets to complete. Just ask the crew for dice and checkers to play with or colouring pencils to complete the activity sheets.
Don’t forget to look outside as well!
The skipper will often alert you to any dolphins, whales or other sea life that join you along for the ride. Keep your eyes peeled and see if you can spot them before the skipper does.
Why not try and follow where you are on the journey? Can you name all the islands or coastlines you pass? Check out the maps on the notice boards or follow along on your favourite maps app on your phone or tablet. This can be a great distraction! The Department of Conservation also have a wide variety of activity sheets for kids (and big kids) about the Hauraki Gulf Islands and marine and bird life that you can find out here.
Still have time left over? Ensure you pack the following essentials to help keep your wee ones entertained:
- Books! An easy way to pass the time is reading your favourite book on a kindle, through earbuds as an audiobook or those hardback kid’s books are perfect on a ferry journey.
- With the amount of sights and sounds along all our journeys, I-spy is a great go-to game.
- Kids learning the alphabet? A sure-fire game is naming things that they see in the order of the alphabet. This is a great game to play with older kids too as a competition to see who will get to Z first (Sorry there are no xylophones on board so you’ll have to get creative with X).
- Talk to the crew! They have some great recommendations for things you can do on the islands and they can tell you more about what they do onboard. Whether this be the café staff, the deckhands, engineers or, if you’re lucky, the skipper too!
- Sorry to say it, but devices are also a great way to keep your kids amused on a long journey with the plethora of apps, educational and otherwise, to keep them occupied.
Have your own tips and tricks for the journey across the Hauraki Gulf? Leave us a comment below and if we’re missing anything onboard, let our crew know and we’ll rectify it as soon as we can.