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THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO MOTAT NZ MUSEUM IN AUCKLAND

INSIDE:  Everything you need to know can be found in our overview of MOTAT NZ.

No matter how hard he tried, Ned could not work out how to spin the dial correctly on the old telephone.

His most successful try was with an UPSIDE DOWN thumb!

Watching him struggle brought my mum and I to tears of laughter.

It’s not that long ago that these telephones were the norm, but modern kids have never faced the struggle.

Equally strange, I’d forgotten how long it took to call a friend!

This fun experience is just one of the fun things to do at MOTAT Museum of Transport and Technology. 

Find all the details of this awesome Auckland museum for kids below.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, we may receive a small commission at NO extra cost to you.

Photo - motat vintage phone

Complete Guide to Auckland MOTAT NZ

The Telecommunications Shed #4 was the highlight of our visit, with fun activities such as being able to call one another on vintage dial phones.

My mum tried her hand, once again, at the old-school switchboard.

50 years after she’d been given a job as a switchboard operator, with no experience at all, and left to fumble her way through a day of patching person to person, she giggled at the absurdity of it all.

Photo - motat telecommunications buildling

Our day was made hearing old familiar telephone ring tones, and watching the boys delight as they dialled one another on phones 70 and 71.

But this was just the first shed.

Motat 1 has nine sheds of activities in total on this site. 

Photo - motat aviation hall entrance

Hot tip: Motat Aviation Hall 

PLUS another shed at Motat 2, the Motat Planes exhibition hall, just a tram ride away.

This Motat Aviation Hall is filled with giant airplanes, including the monstrous Short Sunderland V NZ 4115.


RELATED: Monster List of Things to Do in Auckland with kids! 

Photo - motat playground

Best Things to do at MOTAT Auckland

Here’s an overview of all the MOTAT activities and attractions the whole family will enjoy.

The first thing you’ll see is the train playground.

This outdoor playground in Auckland is centrally placed between the sheds, so no doubt you’ll be back here again and again if you are travelling with toddlers in New Zealand! 

Photo - motat activities for kids

Whisper Experiment

The second thing you’ll see upon entry is the WHISPER sound reverberation experience.

Send one child to one disc, and the other to the one far away, and let them see if they can hear one another’s quiet words! 

Then it’s time to head to Shed 1. 

Photo - motat get smart exhibition arcade games

No.1: Get Smart Exhibition

Hall 1 is home to the Get Smart exhibition, a look at the evolution of technology in New Zealand.

Kids can play old school arcade games here, including:

  • Donkey Kong
  • Pac Man

Photo - motat face space exhibition

MOTAT Face Space Exhibition

But the most popular part of Get Smart is the chance to take a selfie and watch it reappear in miniature on the FACE SPACE.

Photo - motat nz facespace round up

Can you spy us?

Look for Jack and I, right in the centre of the pic above!

Photo - motat vehicle display

No.2: MOTAT Accelerate exhibition

Hall 2 is home to “Accelerate”, Driving New Zealand’s exhibition of NZ vehicles from past to present.

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MOTAT VR experience 

The boys LOVED this Virtual Reality engine activity, where they could learn about the parts of the engine that make a car go. 

Photo - motat pump house

No.3: The Pumphouse MOTAT

Hall 3 houses the Pumphouse.

It’s home to the Beam steam engine, a piece of New Zealand’s history.

This steam engine machine was responsible for supplying clean water to Auckland residents from Western Springs back in 1877!

It’s awe inspiring to read its’ history. 

Visit ROAM THE GNOME FAMILY TRAVEL WEBSITE. Hundreds of fun ideas & activities to help you plan & book your next family vacation or weekend adventure. Photo - Motat telecommunications

No.4: MOTAT Telecommunications Hall

Hall 4 at MOTAT is where you’ll find the vintage phones.

AND plenty of other hands on activities that kids will love.

Photo - motat nz old phones activities

Telephone activities for kids

Let them:

  • have a go on the rotary phone like Ned did
  • decipher morse code
  • answer the phones on the switchboard, and
  • chat to one another through the phone lines too. 

There’s a Print Shop, open on Sundays to showcase this labour-intensive art from yesteryear, making newspapers and highlighting the skill of letter writing. 

If you visit, you can take home a hand printed souvenir of your time there.

Photo - motat party line telephone system

MOTAT Firehouse

Take a peek inside the Fire Station nearby, full of a historical collection of New Zealand’s earliest firefighting equipment.

You can read the displays to learn the history of New Zealand’s heroic and courageous firefighters.

See these fire equipment pieces up close:

  • vintage gas masks
  • medals
  • old school fire alarms and more

Photo - motat innovation hub trampoline game

No.5: MOTAT Machine Makers

Hall 5  is full of fun hands-on activities that showcase innovation for life.

Kids can:

  • play a video game by jumping on a Springfree Trampoline
  • play with simple machines and life-size human pulleys
  • build bridges
  • make craft
  • race the wheels
  • play the drums, and more.

Photo - motat design a robot game

Design a Robot activity 

Kids love the design a robot game too. 

Photo - motat binary age calculator

No.6: Explorium 

Hall 6, the Explorium, has all kinds of science activities for kids too. 

Photo - motat nz tram yard

No.7: MOTAT  Trams Barn

Hall 7 is the Trams Barn full of vintage trams and motors.

It’s the place to learn about the restoration work of Tram Trailer 21, and discover the history of Auckland’s tramway. 

No.8: Road Transport Hall

Hall 8 is the Road Transport Workshop.

It’s home to MOTAT’s extensive automobile collection.

Photo - motat playground for toddlers

No.9: MOTOTS

Hall 9 is MOTOTS, a hands-on activity space for the under 5’s.

Photo - motat transport vehicle display

There’s plenty of room for adults to sit and watch, so enjoy a bit of down time while the kids play. 

Photo - motat kids area

Things to do at MOTAT for toddlers

Kids can play with:

  • wooden airplanes on pulleys
  • a weighing and measuring balance game with green frogs trying to escape the pond
  • a shaky bridge to cross

Photo - motat for toddlers

Shake and Scoop

The highlight of this room is the Shake & Scoop activity, where kids crank the wheel and watch the scoop pick up the balls, and wobble it to make them rain down again.

Photo - motat indoor play space for kids

MOTAT play area for kids

At the bottom of the indoor garden creation, there’s a complex of rainbow light-beam fuelled tunnels to climb through too.

Even my 10 year old loved it!

Photo - auckland motat aviation hall planes

MOTAT Aviation Hall

There’s so much to see at the MOTAT Aviation Hall.

Giant aircraft and planes, vintage uniform displays, and the odd press-a-button experience to bring it all to life!

Read our separate guide to the MOTAT Aircraft Hall here.

Photo - auckland motat cafe entrance

MOTAT Cafe

Getting hungry as you wander around all these fun exhibitions? 

Head to MOTAT Araroa Tearooms Cafe.

The Araroa Tearooms Motat Cafe is opposite Waitakere Station.

The entrance to the historical Cropper House near the Model Railway.

Read our guide to the MOTAT cafe (includes menu and pics). 

Photo - motat nz exterior

MOTAT Museum Weekend Experiences

Weekends at MOTAT go all out with themed events and things to do.

Every Sunday, the Blacksmith Forge fires up, the Print Shop comes to life, there’s hands-on demonstrations of vintage arts and crafts, and heritage horse and carriage rides.

There’s also random fun, like Science Saturdays and Sundays, Bubble Weekend experience, or Motat Lights Night Light illuminations. 

Click here to see the Events Calendar. 

MOTAT School Holidays

Check the website for current school holiday activities at MOTAT too.

Arts and crafts workshops, as well as performing arts activities are popular. 

Photo - auckland motat tram ride

MOTAT Events (MOTAT Halloween & MOTAT Christmas)

MOTAT frequently hosts fun seasonal events including:

  • MOTAT Halloween 
  • MOTAT Christmas lights 
  • MOTAT Movie Nights
  • The Great MOTAT Bear Hunt

Like the MOTAT Facebook page to keep an eye on upcoming events.

motat museum auckland train tickets pic

The Motat Tram

A return tram ticket is included in your Motat admission fee, so you can get from MOTAT 1 to MOTAT 2 Aircraft Hanger, and back to the parking lot. 

Tram stops are situated at:

  • MOTAT’s Great North Road Entrance
  • Motions Road Corner
  • Auckland Zoo and
  • MOTAT’s Meola Road site.

A request stop is also situated midway along the Western Springs Park edge on Great North Road, and outside The Auckland Performing Arts Centre (TAPAC).

Services generally leave every 30 minutes when operating, more often when necessary. 

For the latest MOTAT tram timetables operating times view the tram timetable at the MOTAT shop. 

Photo - pressed penny machine at motat aviation hall

Inside the MOTAT Shop 

The main MOTAT shop is located at MOTAT 1.

This MOTAT gift shop stocks:

  • a range of branded MOTAT merchandise
  •  a variety of fun and educational toys
  • science kits
  • puzzles
  • Crazy Scientist Packs (Balancing robots, Cosmic Rockets, Thinking Putty)
  • transport and vehicle models
  • Aircraft models
  • Kiwiana gifts and souvenirs 

Motat Gift Shop at Aviation Hall

The MOTAT store at M2 has a great selection of aviation, rail and military themed models and books, plus a Souvenir Penny machine.

Photo - motat nz telecommunications

THE INSIDE SCOOP:  MOTAT NZ

Correct at time of publication on Roam the Gnome. Please check with venue for updates. We apologise in advance if there have been any changes we are unaware of. All prices in NZ dollars, unless otherwise stated

MOTAT, Auckland’s Museum of Transport and Technology, is New Zealand’s largest transport, technology and social history museum.

Spread across 40 acres, MOTAT is the place to explore and discover the achievements that have helped shape New Zealand.

MOTAT Address: The Motat address is 805 Great North Road & Meola Rd, Western Springs, Auckland 1022
Telephone:  The MOTAT phone number is +64 9 815 5800. Freecall 0800 668 2869
Website:  Click here

Photo - motat morse code activity

MOTAT Opening Hours

  • Motat hours are 10am – 5pm
  • Open 7 days a week (excluding Christmas Day)
  • Last entry into the Museum is at 4:30pm.

Photo - motat nz exterior

MOTAT Prices 

Motat Auckland prices are: 

  • Adults $19 NZ
  • Children (5-16 years) $10 NZ
  • Student with ID $10 NZ
  • Overseas Senior Citizen $10 NZ
  • Family Pass $45 NZ (2 adults and up to 4 kids)
  • Under 5s FREE

Photo - motat miniature railway exhibition

MOTAT Discount Entry 

If you are worried about the cost to visit Motat, you’ll be pleased to know there’s many places to grab a discount code or voucher. 

The Auckland A-Z tourist magazine has a discount coupon for Motat. 25% off adult admission. 

  • GrabOne 
  • Hello Auckland  (you do need to give your email to get the code) 
  • Book Me (search Auckland discounts for all kinds of attractions)

AA Members save 20% on full priced MOTAT general admission

NB: Motat free entry does not apply to tourists.

MORE MOTAT Deals

Annual passes start from $45 NZ for an individual and $95 for a family.

So if you want to visit more than once, this is a good deal. 

PIN Motat NZ

How to get to MOTAT Museum in Auckland

By Car, Bus or Taxi:  Click here for details

Motat Parking

  • Park for free at MOTAT 2 Aviation Display Hall
  • Purchase your MOTAT entry ticket here and catch the MOTAT vintage tram to and fro between the two sites for FREE.
  • Find limited parking for this NZ museum at M1 on Stadium Road and along Great North Road.

MOTAT Map

Facilities at MOTAT Museum of Transport and Technology Auckland

Toilets: The parent’s room facilities include changing tables; chairs; a kitchen sink and microwave; hand sanitiser; and a small ‘time out’ area for overwrought children.
Disability access: Yes. Click here for details.
Closest ATM: Credit card and EFTPOS facilities available.
Closest playground: Western Springs playground is on the northern side of the lake. Access by one of the park’s walkways, or from Motions Road.
Shade: Limited
Enclosed: Yes
Picnic tables: Yes. Picnic Areas are in front of Tram 91 and on the historic Village Lawn at our MOTAT Great North Road, and in front of the train station at MOTAT Meola Road.
Water Bubblers/fountains: Yes
Scooters and Bikes: No
Dogs: No
Notes: There’s FREE public WIFI at Motat.

Toadstool Rating – MOTAT New Zealand

Motat Museum Auckland NZ was an unexpected surprise! A MUST DO for families.

motat auckland review

Looking for More Things to Do in Auckland New Zealand for Kids?

Click the blue links for more Auckland activities below.

COMPLETE GUIDE TO MOTAT AVIATION HALL AUCKLAND
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