Key Points:

Kawakawa hosts train rides through the main street on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 11am, noon, 1pm and 2pm; $8 (adults), $3 (children). The Platform Diner (9am-4pm, Tuesday to Sunday) has views of a working vintage railway.

Contact: 021 171 2697 (railway); (09) 404 1110 (diner)
On the web: www.bayofislandsvintagerailway.org.nz
On the wire
N. 8 Farm Tours offers visits to sheep, deer and dairy farms in the Kaimai area. The tours from Tauranga offer an overview of the history of farming and the life of farming families.

Contact: (07) 579 3981, 0274 793 890
On the web: www.no8farmtours.co.nz
Sweet as a rose
Roses, wine, food and free family entertainment are at the Pacific Rose Bowl Festival, Hamilton Gardens, November 19-23.

Contact: (07) 838 6782
On the web: www.hamiltongardens.co.nz
Undersea education
Octopi, seahorses, sharks, starfish and crayfish are among the inhabitants at the NZ Marine Studies Centre & Aquarium in Dunedin. The centre has a focus on education, with guided tours, touch tanks and special events.

Contact: (03) 479 5826
On the web: www.marine.ac.nz
Away from it all
Enjoy a peaceful family holiday at River Valley Lodge near Taihape. Best known for its extreme whitewater rafting on the Rangitikei River, the centre also offers scenic rafting trips suitable for children and other entertainment. Accommodation includes en suite or bunk rooms.

Contact: 0800 248666
On the web: www.rivervalley.co.nz
In your own backyard
Adventure Tours offer an easy, cost-effective, activity-based way to see the country. The company has teamed with hop-on, hop-off adventure bus network Stray Travel to offer small group trips.

Contact: (09) 309 8772
On the web: www.adventuretours.com.au; www.straytravel.com