- Have outdoor fun at the Margaret Mahy Playground.
- Go swimming at any of the Christchurch City Council Pools like the Graham Condon Recreation and Sport Centre.
- Enjoy a picnic at Sumner Beach.
- Enjoy bike trails at Christchurch Adventure Park.
- Ride your scooters and skateboards at Washington Way SkatePark.
- Go on a street art tour.
- Enjoy free orienteering at the Groynes.
- Explore Canterbury Museum
- Hop on the cockpit of a fighter jet at the Air Force Museum.
- Play with LEGO at the Imagination Station.
If you’re looking for exciting plans this weekend that won’t cost a lot, you’ve come to the right place. We researched far and wide to come up with this list of free activities you can enjoy in Christchurch with your kids!
So what are we waiting for? Let’s dive in and check out this list for some fresh new ideas for you and your children!
1. Have outdoor fun at the Margaret Mahy Playground.
Image from Christchurch City Council
|Address||Armagh Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch 8013, New Zealand|
|Operating Hours||+64 3 941 8999|
The Margaret Mahy Playground, named after a beloved children’s author, is the largest playground in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s such a fun and innovative place great for preschool and elementary children.
There’s a wide array of play equipment including a large metal slide that’s a hit with the young ones. There is also a lot of equipment you can climb, a flying fox, some inground trampolines, and different kinds of swings.
There are artworks, water play, and climbing nets that can be used for adult and child play. It’s the perfect place for the imagination to run wild.
Aside from these fun features, there are plenty of tables and chairs, free electrical BBQs on site, and an indoor picnic area. There are also some food vendors present most days.
There are also plenty of bathrooms, changing rooms, and even water fountains for when you get thirsty.
2. Go swimming at any of the Christchurch City Council Pools like the Graham Condon Recreation and Sport Centre.
|Address||3 Sisson Drive, Papanui, Christchurch 8053, New Zealand|
|Operating Hours||Monday-Friday (5:30AM–9:30PM); |
Saturday-Sunday (7 AM-8 PM)
|Contact details||+64 3 941 6888|
|Cost||Preschool child with parent or caregiver during school hours (from 9am to 3pm on Monday to Friday). – FREE|
The Christchurch City Council has swimming, training, and competition pools open for use. They also have wave pools, toddler pools, lazy rivers, outdoor pools, dive pools, and hydroslides.
So everyone can get in on the fun. This is perfect especially when the weather is warm. They have an array of pools available like the Graham Condon Recreation and Sport Centre.
Other pools include Jellie Park Recreation and Sport Centre, Pioneer Recreation and Sport Centre, and He Puna Taimoana, among others.
As for the rates, preschool children with a parent or caregiver (maximum of two preschoolers per parent) during school hours which is from 9am to 3pm on weekdays can swim for free. Weekends, public holidays, and school holidays are not included, however.
Note: Older kids and adults have to pay a small fee. Children under 16 have to pay $3.80, while adults are charged $6.70.
3. Enjoy a picnic at Sumner Beach.
|Address||Sumner, Christchurch 8081, New Zealand|
Sumner Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the city and for good reason. They’re a great beach holiday destination, from what we’ve seen.
It’s a 400-meter stretch of clean white sand perfect for picnics. The beach is always loaded with families enjoying summer afternoons while slurping on dripping ice cream cones.
You can even just blast some nice and funky tunes from a portable speaker as you enjoy the view.
There are also a lot of cool cafes and restaurants here that your family can enjoy. Not only that, the kids can also enjoy a quick dip at the beach.
Just make sure to remind all the children of all the safety rules when you’re at the beach. Always keep close attention to the kids while they swim and get in the water with them if you can to ensure their safety, especially if you have little ones.
4. Enjoy bike trails at Christchurch Adventure Park.
|Address||225 Worsleys Road, Cracroft, Christchurch 8022, New Zealand|
|Operating Hours||Monday-Friday (11 AM-7 PM); |
Saturday-Sunday (9 AM-5PM);
Closed on Tuesdays
|Contact details||+64 508 247 478|
|Cost||Children under 10 ride for FREE but chaperones have to pay for a pass|
If your kids enjoy biking, take them to Christchurch Adventure Park for a good time. There are lots of walking and bike trails you can enjoy here.
They have a free to use introductory biking loop trail for families with young children if you’re interested in mountain biking. Children under 10 ride for free but must be accompanied by an adult, who will have to pay for a chaperone pass that costs $40 each.
For more advanced mountain biking trails, do know that you’ll have to pay for a pass as well. You can check out this page to see how much you have to shell out depending on your age range.
Other activities at Christchurch Adventure Park include riding the zipline and a chairlift to be able to see the whole park.
From what we’ve seen, the park is very family-friendly. It’s really a great place to bring your children to explore and have a great time.
When you want to unwind, they have a cafe and bar you can go to after all the fun so you can rest and enjoy a nice cup of coffee.
5. Ride your scooters and skateboards at Washington Way SkatePark.
|Address||255 Waltham Road, Sydenham, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand|
|Contact details||+64 274 668 219|
If your children find learning how to ride a skateboard cool, then why not take them to skateparks in the city? The one at Washington Way Reserve on Moorhouse Ave. is over 7,661 square meters in size and is perfect for beginner skaters.
They have different ramps, rails and a beginners bowl area. Just make sure to remind children to stay safe while in the park by wearing their protective gear like helmets, knee pads, and elbow pads.
6. Go on a street art tour.
Image from Watch This Space
|Address||Numerous locations (Ex: 33 Riccarton Road, Riccarton, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand)|
If you want to take a break from the adventurous activities we mentioned above, then this activity might be more your speed. Christchurch is teeming with beautiful street art that you can check out, you can mark your favorites and go on a self-guided tour.
When you explore the city, you’ll see colorful and vibrant street art from a range of inspiring artists.You can take Instagram-worthy pictures with your kids or even do a photowalk.
Just make sure that if you do a photo walk that you bring a trusty power bank with you to keep your phones up and running.
There are murals inspired by Alice in Wonderland, a mural dedicated to New Zealand’s Rugby League World Cup head coach David Kidwell, and even artwork depicting elements of Māori culture and mythology.
We think this activity is better suited for older kids, however.
7. Enjoy free orienteering at the Groynes.
|Address||Northwood, Christchurch 8051, New Zealand|
|Operating Hours||Monday-Sunday (7 AM-9 PM)|
You might be asking, what is orienteering? Orienteering is the sport of finding your way around a course from one point to another with the use of a map.
It can be done in a fast manner or at a gentle pace, it’s all up to you! If your family is a fan of scavenger hunts, then this adventure is a must-try.
You’ll be walking a lot, however, so make sure to wear comfortable shoes and clothing and dress for the weather.
You’ll be walking around the Groynes Recreation Reserve and you’ll be guided by their orienteering map that you can print here for free or you can get a copy at the cafe there.
It’s really enjoyable and it can be a family activity of looking for the secret markers along the way. You can also take some time to check out the area and feed some ducks, hire a paddleboat, and even fish.
Your kids can also bring their bikes and they can enjoy biking around this area as well.
8. Explore Canterbury Museum
Image from Canterbury Museum
|Address||11 Rolleston Avenue, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch 8013, New Zealand|
|Operating Hours||Monday-Sunday (9 AM-5 PM)|
|Contact details||+64 3 366 5000|
|Cost||FREE but donations are appreciated|
Canterbury Museum first opened in 1870, since then it has made its name for its natural and human history collections that are fascinating to check out. They also have plenty of exhibitions, events, and permanent displays that make them worth a visit.
The museum is also housed in a beautiful stone building. It has amazing architecture as you can see in the picture above.
If your kids are into science and history, they’ll love the different displays here. We think exploring this museum is perfect for preschool kids and older kids.
As for taking photos and videos, you are allowed to do so as long as it’s for personal use. Some displays might be fragile, however, so make sure to check out the signs if you’re allowed to take a picture or not.
Note: You’re not allowed to use selfie sticks when taking pictures. You also need to ask permission to use a tripod and other similar equipment a day in advance before going to the museum.
9. Hop on the cockpit of a fighter jet at the Air Force Museum.
Image from Christchurch City Libraries
|Address||45 Harvard Avenue, Wigram, Christchurch 8042, New Zealand|
|Operating Hours||Monday-Sunday (9:30 AM-4:30 PM)|
|Contact details||+64 3 343 9532|
We think that museums are fantastic because kids can have fun and learn new things all at the same time. The Air Force Museum in Christchurch is a specialist museum that tells you about the history of New Zealand military aviation.
Your kids can enjoy the great collection of interactive displays and aircraft. You can even hop on the cockpit of a fighter jet and let your imagination run wild.
They also have a 45-minute ‘Behind the Scenes’ guided tour that will help kids understand the history behind it all more clearly. There’s also a flight simulator that will excite the young kids.
Overall, it’s a great place to bring the family for an educational yet fun tour!
10. Play with LEGO at the Imagination Station.
|Address||60 Cathedral Square, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand|
|Operating Hours||Monday-Friday (9 AM-8 PM); |
Saturday-Sunday (10 AM- 5 PM)
|Contact details||+64 274 382 106|
|Cost||FREE but a donation of $3 each visit is appreciated|
The Imagination Station is a great place to bring your kids, especially the younger ones. The play area can be located at Hapori Community floor (level one) of Tūranga, Christchurch’s Central Library.
They have around six building tables and two building pits filled with LEGO and Duplo bricks for building. As with their name, your kids’ imagination can run wild as they build whatever they want to.
As a bonus, they have excellent bathroom and baby facilities here.
Do note that although entrance is free, they do recommend making a donation of $3 each time you come to help sustain the venture. You can even just tap your credit card here for a more seamless transaction.
There you have it, these are some fun child-friendly activities in Christchurch you can enjoy for free. Did we miss out on any?
Don’t hesitate to let us know. By the way check out the following related articles: