Family adventures in Christchurch

Christchurch has everything you need for a fun family day out! At any time of the year, you'll be busy having fun, playing, hiking, beach-strolling and more.

Whether it's jumping around the playground, playing a life-sized street video game or exploring the stunning seascapes and wildlife, Christchurch caters to all ages.

A playground for the whole family

The Margaret Mahy Playground will have you awe-struck - a child's dream! Complete with slides, spider webs, a flying fox, water play and large open spaces for running around - the kids will be entertained for hours. But this place caters to all the young-hearted, not just the kids - it'll be hard to resist not joining in with the great offerings this playground has all year round!

Super-sized street game you say?

Positioned in Christchurch's city centre is a super-sized street video game, which is something that will be hard to walk past. Complete with an oversized joystick controller and giant buttons, you'll never get bored waiting to cross the streets at this intersection. With multiple players required, it'll be a fun way to get all the family involved.

Fun for all ages at the Christchurch Lantern Festival

Bring the whole family along to experience the unique displays of the vibrant Chinese lanterns in the heart of Christchurch, to recognise Chinese New Year celebrations. For two evenings a year, the stunning Avon River Precinct and Cathedral Square is transformed with hundreds of brightly coloured Chinese lanterns. Here it becomes a captivating place to enjoy delicious Asian food stalls, entertainment and traditional Chinese culture and crafts.

Seaside village exploring

On a sunny day, head out to Sumner village and it's neighbouring bay, Taylors Mistake.

Taylors is the beginning of the beautiful Godley Head Walkway, which gently meanders above the cliffs to secluded Boulder Bay and the WW2 gun emplacements at Godley Head. The views from the edge of the mainland to the open sea are astonishing and provide the perfect backdrop for a picnic. Swimming at Taylors is great fun for primary aged kids, especially if there's boogie boards involved.

f the weather isn't so kind, Sumner has a delightful historic cinema, complete with the latest flicks for all ages to enjoy. Top off your day at Utopia Ice where ice cream is made from scratch or fish and chips from Red Snapper.

An island adventure for little explorers

Kids love to travel through tunnels, so rent a car and take them through the hills (literally) to the port town of Lyttelton. From here you can catch the ferry to Quail Island, in the middle of the harbour. Make sure you keep an eye out for the endangered Hector's Dolphin - a thoroughly cute cetacean with a rounded dorsal fin.

Once the training location for Scott and Shackleton's ponies and dogs preparing for the Antarctic, Quail Island is steeped in Canterbury history and the perfect place for an adventure. Pack a picnic (there are no food outlets) and take your time exploring the little island. If you're up for a walk, there's a treasure-laden trail that leads to an abandoned shipwreck, historic cemetery, cliff-side vantage points and plenty of secret coves and beaches. The island is a protected recreational reserve and offers a sheltered, sandy bay for swimming in the summer, as well as the chance to spot little blue penguins.

Into the wild at Willowbank

Not far from the central city, Willowbank Wildlife Reserve is a great place for a hands-on experience with some of New Zealand's most elusive native species, including kiwi. For the most interactive experience, purchase some of the reserve's animal food and feed the wildlife as you make your way around the loop.

Your kids will love the haka performances and the chance to try a traditional hāngi meal, which is cooked underground using hot stones.

Three sections make up the Willowbank experience. Start with Natural New Zealand section, where you're able to meet kiwi, tuatara and other endangered native species.

The Heritage and Wild New Zealand sections offer interactive experiences with traditional farm animals, including greedy Kune Kune pigs and a pond of tame eels. The Māori cultural experience is not to be missed. Your kids will love the haka performances and the chance to try a traditional hāngi meal, which is cooked underground using hot stones.

Playground image courtesy of Margaret Mahy playground