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When planning your family vacation to New Zealand, the Torpedo Bay Navy Museum is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. However, this little gem is surprisingly very family friendly. Your kids will love spending a couple hours here exploring the history of the New Zealand Navy. Here’s why you should add it to your list of things to do during your time in the land of the Kiwis .
Torpedo Bay Navy Museum
The Torpedo Bay Navy Museum is a small museum dedicated to the history of the New Zealand Navy. The museum is located in Devonport, New Zealand, which is right across the harbor from Auckland.
To get to Devonport, you can either drive across the Harbor Bridge or you can take the ferry, which takes about 5-7 minutes.
We opted to take the ferry because it is just more fun than driving. From the ferry building, you can walk to your right along the coast for about a mile to get to the museum.
The museum is open daily from 10 am-5 pm.
Believe it or not, this museum is free! It is one of the free things to do with kids in New Zealand that we recommend. However, the ferry will cost you $12 per adult and $7 per child for a roundtrip fare.
You can explore everything in the museum in about 2 hours.
One of the newer exhibits at the Navy Museum is the Boat Shed. This is a separate building just behind the main museum. Inside of the Boat Shed you will find life-sized boats commonly used by the navy for various jobs. They are stacked up inside the shed in a very realistic way.
In the main building of the museum, you will find a wide variety of exhibits from models of many of the naval ships used throughout the history of the New Zealand Navy. These models are highly detailed. They are scattered throughout the museum.
The models were my son’s favorite part of the museum. He spent quite a bit of time looking at them.
The Navy Museum also has lots of photos, patches, and other things on display that tell the story of the navy.
In one room of the museum, they have naval uniforms which kids can try on. Nearby is a replica of a bunk room on a ship. This gives kids a chance to see exactly what it is like to live, eat, and sleep on a naval ship.
Extras at the Navy Museum
There is a small snack bar/cafe at the museum which serves, among other things, ice cream.
After we finished our tour, we treated ourselves to some ice cream. And, let me tell you, it is some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had! I had the summer nectarine flavor, which was fresh, bright, and creamy. I highly recommend trying the ice cream while at the museum.
Additionally, out in the front, you will see a small playground. This is a great spot for younger kids to burn off some energy. Unfortunately, it is not very big. So, older kids will probably have no interest in the playground. But, they will have plenty of time to be active and play around on the way back to the ferry.
The Navy Museum also offers a fun little scavenger hunt to kids who are visiting. Ask for yours at the front desk when you arrive. Basically, it has a list of items located throughout the museum. Your kids can hunt for each of them as they go to each room. It will provide them with an extra level of fun and engagement while there.
The Torpedo Bay Navy Museum is a small museum dedicated to the history of the New Zealand Navy located in a suburb of Auckland. It is free to visit. There is even a cafe which serves wonderful ice cream!
This is a great little hidden gem of a place to spend a few hours, especially if your kids are into ships or military history. Your kids will really enjoy all of the model ships on display and trying on the navy uniforms. A visit to the Navy Museum during your trip to Auckland is well worth the time for your future sailors!
For more help planning your family vacation to New Zealand, see our ultimate guide to New Zealand, New Zealand road trip, Te Papa, Mama Brown’s, things to do with kids on New Zealand’s North Island, Waitomo Glowworm Caves, Auckland Aquarium, and mistakes to avoid in New Zealand.
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