7 Of The Best Family Activities In Christchurch
Article reposted with permission from Anzcro. Author: Amy Mace
Image: Riverside Market
Ōtautahi Christchurch is a city of exploration, where urban regeneration meets cultural heritage. Constantly evolving, the city is blooming with new activities for visitors to enjoy.
Expect street art and innovative projects, a thriving hospitality scene and beautiful green spaces. In central Christchurch, cutting-edge architecture sits alongside some of the oldest buildings in New Zealand.
Ōtautahi Christchurch is your basecamp for South Island adventures, from the rolling hills of Banks Peninsula, to the stunning Southern Alps and famous Canterbury Plains, your family are sure to love their stay in the Garden City. Check out some of our favourite family friendly activities and places to stay below.
Family Friendly Activities in Christchurch
Christchurch is the ideal playground for families with kids of any age. Here’s a few of our top picks for fun days out with your family, and some of the best kid friendly activities in Christchurch.
Image: Penguins pool at The International Antarctic Centre
1. The International Antarctic Centre
Thrills, education and excitement meet at the iconic International Antarctic Centre. Kids will love meeting the resident penguins, riding the Hägglunds snow vehicle like a real explorer, or braving an Antarctic storm with a historic walk—a sure hit for the whole family.
Image: North Island Brown Kiwi at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve
2. Willowbank Wildlife Reserve
Meet New Zealand’s Big 5 at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve; the legendary Kiwi, the cheeky Kea, the ancient Tuatara, the Kaka bush parrot, and the rarely-sighted Takahe. You’ll have the opportunity to feed wild eels, get up close with lemurs, and go behind the scenes to learn from the experienced keepers and see the Kiwi Incubation Facility.
Image: Christchurch Tram
3. Christchurch Tram
Take a ride on the historic Christchurch Tram for a fun twist on sightseeing. The heritage tramcar loops its way around the city, with commentary highlighting famous landmarks and historic spots, plus visits to family-favourite spots including Margaret Mahy Playground. Kids ride free on the tram!
Image: View from Christchurch Gondola summit
4. Christchurch Gondola
Ride the Christchurch Gondola to the summit for an unmissable family experience. Enjoy 360-degree views over Christchurch and across to the snow-capped Southern Alps, and panoramic views of Lyttelton Harbour and Banks Peninsula. Your ticket includes a free Time Tunnel ride, where you can learn of the region’s storied history.
Image: Punting on Avon
5. Punting on the Avon River
Take time out with the family and see the Garden City in a new light, with a scenic punt ride on the Avon river. Glide effortlessly through the beautiful Botanical Gardens as your experienced punter (fully kitted out in authentic Edwardian apparel) provides expert, fun commentary for a family adventure that the kids are sure to love.
Image: Aerial view of Akaroa
Only 90 minutes’ drive from Christchurch lies the iconic French town of Akaroa. Feel the European influence in this picturesque town’s historic cottages, boutique gardens and nature walks—kids will enjoy the Rhino Walk at Childrens Bay, complete with funky sculptures and incredible ocean views.
The town has a variety of seaside restaurants where you can enjoy lunch with a beautiful view. If time permits, book a Harbour Nature Cruise and explore the best views of the harbour’s pristine bays, extinct volcanic crater and the chance to see dolphins, fur seals & penguins up close.
Image: Kea in flight at Orana Park
7. Orana Park
Explore New Zealand’s only open-range zoo at Orana Wildlife Park, and hand-feed majestic giraffes, get up close to gorillas & orangutans, or spot the meerkats as they peek out from their burrows. For the more adventurous, book a thrilling Lion Encounter to ride in a custom-built vehicle and get up close with the majestic king of the jungle.
Family Friendly Hotels in Christchurch
Image: Exterior view of Quest Christchurch
Quest Christchurch’s apartment style hotel rooms offer families a centrally-located, relaxed and comfortable place to stay, with a variety of apartment sizes available. Quest is a short walk from popular scenic attractions including Cathedral Square, the stylish New Regent Street Entertainment Precinct, and the tranquil Botanic Gardens.
Ramada Suites Christchurch
Stay in the heart of Christchurch’s innovation precinct at the Ramada Suites Christchurch, and enjoy easy access to some of Christchurch’s best cafes, bars and eateries in the CBD’s vibrant SALT district. The Ramada Suites’ spacious apartment-style rooms include free Wifi and complimentary parking, so you can unwind in your room or head out and explore the best of Christchurch, right on your doorstep.
The Novotel is conveniently located next to the iconic Cathedral Square and is perfect for exploring the Garden City’s scenic highlights on foot. Rooms are well appointed and all feature either King beds or twin double beds.
Nearby are some of Christchurch’s best green spaces, including Oxford Terrace, Hagley Park, and the meandering Ōtākaro Avon River. And for food and fashion lovers, be sure to check out the famous Riverside Market for gourmet eats and laneway shopping.
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