Top 10 Activities For Kids In Christchurch

Despite the effects of its devastating earthquake, Christchurch remains a great destination for families, with beautiful open spaces, funky cafes, and plenty of things to keep even the most active child entertained.

Here is our pick of the 'top 10 activities for kids in Christchurch'.

1. Canterbury Museum

In the heart of the central city, Canterbury Museum offers visitors the chance to find out more about New Zealand’s natural wonders and its heritage. Exhibitions include the history of Antarctic exploration and of early Maori. Children will love the Discovery room, which is full of hands-on exhibits, and the street lined with old-fashioned shops. 

Location: Rolleston Avenue. Opening Hours: October to March - 9.00am - 5.30pm /  April to September - 9.00am to 5.00pm. 
2. Air Force Museum

The Air Force Museum at the old Wigram airfield, is a little (and big) boy’s dream day out. A large hangar holds a range of aircraft from early examples to the modern day, while exhibition halls tell the story of the New Zealand air force and some of its heroes. 

Location: Harvard Avenue, Wigram. Opening Hours: 10.00am - 5.00pm.
3. International Antarctic Centre 

At the International Antarctic Centre you can shelter in a snow cave, slide down an ice slope, and see how you fare in a wind chill of minus 18. Outside, adventurers can take a ride on a Hagglund - a tracked vehicle used in the snow, while back indoors nature lovers will enjoy watching the penguins at play.

Location: Orchard Road, next to Christchurch Airport. Opening Hours: 9.00am - 5.30pm.
4. Adrenalin Forest

If the kids need to burn off some energy and you fancy a family challenge then head to Adrenalin Forest, just north of the city. Set in a picturesque forest it features six pathways with difficulty ranging from small jumps to a challenging flying fox. Next door, Spencer Park is a great place to wind down with a playground, and beach a short walk away.

Location: Heyders Road, Spencerville. Opening Hours: November to April - 10.00am - 2.30pm / March to October - 10.00am - 2.00pm on weekdays and 11.00am - 2.00pm on weekends.
5. The Roxx Climbing Centre

If the weather isn’t so great and you still need to let off some steam, head to The Roxx indoor climbing centre. Visitors can choose from traditional rock climbing, or the clip and climb system, which allows you to climb without a belay partner, making it a great activity for kids.

Location: Corner Waltham Road and Byron Street, Waltham. Opening Hours: The Roxx: Monday to Friday - Midday - 1.00pm; Saturday and Sunday - 10.00am - 6.30pm /  Clip and Climb: Tuesday to Friday - 4.00pm - 8.15pm, Saturday and Sunday - 10.00am - 6.15pm.
6. Pirates Island Adventure Golf

If you are a competitive family, you might like to challenge each other on the golf course at Pirates Island. The winner will be the one who manages to steer their ball around the shark-infested waters, through the caves and past the waterfalls. No experience is needed, making it a fantastic choice for children of all ages. 

Location: Roydvale Avenue, Burnside: Opening Hours: May to October: Monday to Wednesday - 9.00am - 5.00pm, Thursday to Saturday - 9.00am - 9.00pm, Sunday - 9.00am - 7.00pm /  November to April: Monday to Sunday - 9.00am to 9.00pm.
7. Botanic Gardens

For a change of pace head to the Botanic Gardens, a splash of green in the middle of the city. The new visitor centre offers lots of information about the gardens and the plants within them as well as a café. Children will love the playground and in summer there is a paddling pool, which is popular with locals and tourists alike. If you get tired, or want to know more about the gardens, you can hop on the Caterpillar bus for a guided tour.

Location: Rolleston Avenue. Opening Hours: November to February -7.00am - 9.00pm /  March and October: 7.00am - 8.30pm / April to September: 7.00am - 6.30pm. The gardens are open every day.
8. Willowbank Wildlife Reserve

If your children love furry animals, then they will love Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. The reserve is compact enough to cover in a few hours, and has plenty of cute animals including lemurs and wallabies, making it a perfect attraction for families with small children. Lucky visitors will spot a Kiwi roaming around in the Nocturnal House. A traditional Maori village has been recreated in part of the park to give visitors an idea of how Maori lived, and guided tours are available.

Location: Hussey Road, Harewood. Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 9.30am - 7.00pm.

9. Orana Wildlife Park

If you prefer your animals slightly more exotic, then head to Orana Wildlife Park in the peaceful Mcleans Island area. Over 80 hectares, visitors can see animals close up thanks to the zoo’s open range style. You can watch the animals being fed or, for a little extra money, feed a lemur or a tiger yourself or even ride among the lions.

Location: Mcleans Island Road. Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday - 10.00am - 5.00pm.

10. Punting on the Avon, Gondola, Tram

No visit to Christchurch is complete with having done at least one of these iconic activities. Take a peaceful ride along the Avon River in a punt or learn more about the city’s history on a ride with one of the knowledgeable tram drivers. For the best views, head to the Christchurch Gondola which takes you 800 metres up. At the top, you can explore walking tracks or visit the museum, which explores the region’s history. Combination tickets are available for these attractions offering great value for money for families who want to try more than one.

Location: Gondola, Bridle Path Road, Tram, New Regent Street, Punting, Cambridge Terrace or Worcester Bridge. Opening Hours: Gondola: 10.00am - 5.00pm / Tram: September to March - 9.00am - 6.00pm, April to August - 10.00am - 5.00pm / Punting: October to April - 9.00am - 6.00pm, May to September - 10.00am - 4.00pm.

Apart from these big attractions, Christchurch also has plenty of other activities for kids, including parks, beaches, family friendly cafes and a host of playgrounds. So, whether you are staying for a weekend or a week, you will find plenty to keep you occupied.