Looking for a weekend family outing? A child-friendly cafe? Or maybe you’re visiting Carterton for the first time? Check out some of the awesome family-friendly activities we have in Carterton. 


Watch Paua Factory staff polishing paua shells and find the finished product in the shop afterwards. Open weekdays until 4.30pm (or 2pm on Fridays). They have a lovely indoor seating area where you can watch a short DVD about paua, and a shaded outdoor playground. 


Carterton has an abundance of delicious things, from award-winning pies to award-winning wines! Take the kids along if you like – the Clareville Bakery, Wild Oats, and Balter Bar & Kitchen all have kid’s play spaces. Pg 42 Cafe and Gelato offers free kid’s fluffies with all purchases, plus check out the fabulous book selection at Almo’s Books, located in the same building!

Many local wineries and breweries have live music, food, and wine on the weekends, so have a look on Event Finda for what’s coming up! Some family friendly options include Beg, Borrow, & Brew, and the Gladstone Vineyard. 


Have some good old-fashioned fun at the Carterton Pools and various parks. The Carterton Outdoor Pools are free throughout summer, and have a shaded baby pool, intermediate and large pool. Check out the opening hours at www.cdc.govt.nz

Carterton Park is a must-do when visiting Carterton. There’s something for everyone with a skatepark, fenced kid’s area, flying foxes, and an exercise circuit. Take along a picnic or walk two minutes into town for a cafe lunch!


5 minutes out of Carterton, Borderlandz Paintball has top-quality fields including a maze field, WW1 inspired field, and a bush field. Borderlandz operate a child friendly low impact option for younger and less experienced players (8 – 12 years old). Fortunately they still offer regular high velocity paintball for the adults seeking those nice big welts!


Hosted in the award-winning Carterton Events Center, the Carterton Library is the one of the oldest operating public libraries in its original building in New Zealand. Chill out with some books on the beanbags –  a great rainy day activity! The Carterton Library also hosts free kids craft sessons during the school holidays, so get in touch to see what is coming up. 


Carterton is home to some of the best native bush in NZ. The Waiohine Gorge is a must-do – swimming holes, gorgeous native bush walks, and a 124m long swing bridge set 40m above the river! Fensham Reserve is a great short walk, close to town, and easily accomplished while baby-wearing – a great place for toddler exploring. Mt Holdsworth is another beautiful area with camping facilities, short/long walks, and river. 


Yes – rock hunting is officially a thing! This is a fun activity to get into with your under 12s. You can either be part of the rock painting and hiding, or the rock finding. Painted rocks have been hidden all over Carterton – Fensham Reserve, Carterton Park, the Clareville Bakery, Spark’s Park, and more. Search for the Wairarapa Rocks group on Facebook, and see where the latest rocks have been hidden.


Picking your own flowers is a fun outdoors activity during summer/autumn. Lavender Abbey hosts pick your own lavender during weekends in January. Enjoy the rows of lavender, buzzing with bees, and smelling divine.

Holbrook Forest Garden is an organic flower farm, 2 minutes out of Carterton, and hosts Pick Your Own sessions on Sundays during February and March. Check for updates on Facebook to confirm! Don’t forget your camera as these locations are perfect for a few Insta shots! 


Situated 30 minutes out of Carterton, Gladstone Horse Treks offers small group horse treks, from beginners to advanced, or even bring your own horse. Meander through a working farm, native QE11 bush, river crossings, and stunning hilltop views. There’s a trek to suit everyone! 

The Carterton Information Center is a fabulous source of knowledge if you are wanting to know what’s coming up in Carterton. (06) 379 4081, on Facebook, or drop in to see them at the Carterton Events Center.