5 Fun and Free Things to do in Christchurch with Kids
Boasting surrounding wilderness, historic sites and a generous canopy of mature deciduous trees, Christchurch is a great place to visit in autumn. And, with the school holidays just starting, it’s the perfect getaway destination for you and the whole family. Let us inspire you with some of the amazing free things to do in Christchurch with the kids. You and your family will be loving the Garden City in no time!
Within easy walking distance of the city centre, Hagley Park has a family-friendly atmosphere, with a quintessentially English vibe. The park is set over 165 hectares (407 acres) of wide-open spaces and mature woodland.
Large oak trees and sprawling manicured lawns offer plenty of easy-going space to explore. If you really want to burn off some energy, there’s over 8 kilometres of perimeter pathway on North and South Hagley Park. Along the way, you may wish to detour through one of the many architecturally designed walking trails. You’ll find no shortage of things to occupy young minds, including a 2 kilometre loop of the Ōtākaro–Avon river, Lake Victoria, and various water gardens all featuring an abundance of waterfowl. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a model yacht race!
Does Hagley Park sound like the kind of place you and the kids would enjoy? We have beautiful family-friendly accommodation situated right on the park!
No visit to the Garden City would be complete without a stop off at the glorious Botanic Gardens. The Christchurch Botanic Gardens are set over 21 hectares, right next to Hagley Park. The gardens feature a variety of exotic and local plants of New Zealand, several conservatories, ornamental buildings, a climatological station, a nursery and most important if you have younger kids – a playground!
For energetic youngsters, there’s also a rock wall and logs for climbing, plus plenty of other ways your children can engage with nature all around the grounds. You’ll also find great eating and shopping options, nestled within the peaceful environment of the gardens.
Once you walk through the Botanic Gardens, you will arrive at the Canterbury Museum. This historic building was established in 1867 by the late explorer and geologist Julius Von Haast. Inside, you will see rare Maori artefacts and more than 1,000 paua shells adorning the walls of the famous Paua Shell House. There’s also a pioneering-era Christchurch street and one of the world’s most significant collections from the heroic age of Antarctic exploration – plenty of exciting stuff to engage young minds!
All of the attractions listed so far are within easy walking distance of Parkview on Hagley. If you stay with us, you’ll be able to fire up the family with a continental and cooked breakfast, before setting off for your Christchurch adventure.
If you’re keen to go a little further afield, an exploration of the Port Hills is another great activity to do in Christchurch with kids. It’s just a short drive from the city centre and once you arrive at the Port Hills, you can explore further on foot, by bike or by driving.
The Port Hills offers lots of scenic sights, with bush-clad gullies and rocky outcrops. When you’re atop them, no matter which direction you look, there’s always something spectacular to see. In one direction, you can look back over the city of Christchurch. From another, there’s breath-taking views across the Canterbury plains to the snow-capped Southern Alps.
One of the best kept secrets of the Port Hills is the Rapaki Track, which has views of both the beautiful Lyttleton Harbour and Christchurch city!
If you’re feeling super adventurous, you might like to drive the family across to Banks Peninsula. The area is known for stunning views, beautiful bays and quirky camp grounds. This quaint township has a hotel/pub, 2 cafes, a petrol station, art gallery, craft store and small museum. However, it’s the surrounding natural beauty that will leave a lasting impression.
If you have any surfers in the family, the southern bays have some of the best surf around, and there’s plenty of more sedate swimming beaches too. On land, there’s numerous walking tracks, including the spectacular Little River Rail Trail.
After your autumn outing, you’ll love coming back to your luxury family suite, where you can warm up in a walk- in shower or luxuriate in a spa bath.
What’s your favourite free thing to do in Christchurch with kids?
We’d love to hear that, so we can share it with other parents and those travelling with kids. Leave a comment below and tell us more 👇