Things to Do with Kids in Christchurch

Finding affordable ways to keep your family entertained during a trip to Christchurch can make or break a holiday to the Garden City, so we have put together some of the things we recommend you do with your children around Christchurch.

We also love having families come to stay with us at the Airport Gateway, so don’t hesitate to talk to our friendly reception team about the best options for your stay – we have spacious rooms and plenty of multi bedroom options with self-catering kitchens to fit the whole gang.

Christchurch City Library, aka Turanga

Due to open on October 19, 2018 this is going to be a pretty extraordinary library. Of course it will be the most modern in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the largest in the country as well. Lots of things to do and explore in addition to the books.

The entire library is a digital hub supported by a variety of high-tech features including virtual reality headsets, gaming consoles, laser cutters, digital walls, 3D printers and an interactive touchscreen sharing the history of Canterbury.

Taiora QEII Pool and Hydroslide

(backed up by Pioneer Stadium and Jellie Park if you want something on our side of town)

If your family enjoy spending time in the water, check out the brand new QEII pool and hydroslide built on the old site on Travis Road out towards New Brighton. Not quite as big as its predecessor, this is still a great place to spend time with the family. Note the hydroslide is only open for children over 5 years and taller than 107cm.

The complex includes –

  • 25×25 metre lap pool, two-metre deep with movable floor
  • 25×10 metre learn to swim pool
  • 130-metre-long hydroslide, suitable for double and single rafts
  • Leisure pool including a lazy river
  • Splash deck with water adventure playground
  • Spa pool, sauna and steam room (access only for ages 16+)
  • 8×8 metre toddler pool
  • 19×6.5 metre hydrotherapy pool.
Imagination Station

This is always a great option if your kids (and you) enjoy Lego. You can make any kind of creation you can imagine at the Imagination Station, which is located behind Christchurch Cathedral in Cathedral Junction. Which is right alongside the Tram Track, so for a double whammy catch the tram and do a few circuits around the city, then jump off at Imagination Station for some fun.

They have some classes coming up just in time for the October School Holidays too, so get online and book if you are planning to be in the city.

Nearby there are plenty of places to eat and drink in case the team gets hungry.

Margaret Mahy Playground

margaret mahy playground christchurch nz

The Margaret Mahy Family playground is proving popular with kids of all ages – and at all times of day and night it seems, with plenty of the activities suitable for anyone from the very small to the fully grown!

Again this is free and you can stay and play as long as you like. There are usually several food and drink vendors located at the side of the park, and  you are also an easy walk from New Regent Street which has a number of great cafes and restaurants if you want to sit down and enjoy a meal or a coffee (or some Rollicking Gelato!)

New Brighton Beach Pier and Playground

The Pier has recently been fully restored following the earthquakes so is a great place to go for a wander to enjoy the views or take your kids fishing if they are keen.

The New Brighton Library building is your entry point so you can always combine a library visit with a walk on the pier, and there are cafes built into the Library as well, so all your needs are covered.

Nearby is the Brighton Playground which has also been given a new lease of life, including the famous whale paddling pool. There’s a large carpark right next door and of course you can also get access to Brighton Beach to go exploring or enjoy a swim when the weather is warmer.

If you are around the city over the summer months, look out for the Kite Day down at New Brighton Beach as this is always worth heading along to. Some amazing kites of all sizes will be flying, plus there is food and entertainment on offer.

Bike Riding Parks for Kids

These are a cool creation and a wonderful safe way to take your children out riding their bikes and learning some onroad skills – without actually being on the road. Even better, these parks are completely free!

Westburn Reserve is just a few blocks away from us in Burnside and the new Knights Stream bike skills park is in Richmond Ave, Halswell.

Right next to the bike area in Knight’s Stream is a skate park, and a half basketball court, so there are lots of options to keep the family occupied.

Roll With It Pump Track, and the Kyle Park BMX Track

For more skateboarding and biking fun, check out the Roll with It pump track in the centre of Christchurch, which is perfect for younger kids who want a manageable amount of adventure. This is a GapFiller project and is right in the heart of the city. Head to Mollet Street, between St Asaph and Tuam (just a block away from the bus exchange). And did we mention it is free?

Kyle Park is a bigger BMX track located in Hornby, with all the facilities you would expect from a city BMX club. There is a membership fee to join and use the track, although the first few visits are usually free. Get in touch with the club through their website to find out more.

 

What’s New in Christchurch?

As the city continues to rebuild, new projects, buildings and businesses are popping up all over the place.

Christchurch Central Library, Turanga

Very close to completion now are the brand new Christchurch Central Library, called Turanga which is located on the edge of Cathedral Square opposite the now under construction Convention Centre.

The five storey library will be the largest in the South Island and is due to open in October 2018. It will feature up to 100 computers, an innovation zone for trialling new technology, 3D and laser printers, music, film and video editing studios, two roof terraces and accessible balconies, a playground, a cafe and more than 175,000 books.

Hoyts Central, Colombo Street opposite the Bus Interchange

Right in the heart of the city, the newest and most innovative movie theatre complex in the South Island is also nearing completion, and has a September completion date. It marks the return of the cinema chain to central Christchurch following the demolition of their 8 screen Moorhouse Avenue complex in 2012.

The seven-screen complex will have a food precinct on the ground floor with 17 dining outlets, two very large cinema screens and two screens featuring luxury seating and food-and-drink service. Every seat will have a recliner style chair.

Nando’s, Joe’s Garage and Auckland gastropub Cleaver & Co will be among the restaurants in the emporium area of the complex. The food offering would be similar to the popular Little High eatery on St Asaph St, which has a variety of food outlets opening out onto a central indoor seating area.

Te Ara Ōtākaro Avon River Trail

For those who are interested in exploring the city and like to get in some exercise at the same time, the new Te Ara Otakaro Avon River trail has recently been completed. This is a pathway that is suitable for pedestrians or cyclists and winds from the central city through the residential Red Zone and out to Pages Road, which isn’t far from the coast.

More info and a map are on the Christchurch City Council site here.

The Arts Centre of Christchurch

The Arts Centre of Christchurch has been a wonderful drawcard for Christchurch over the years and has now had more than half it’s buildings brought back to life in an extensive post-quake restoration project. Among other things it is home to numerous retailers, restaurants/cafes, the University of Canterbury’s School of Music and Teece Museum of Antiquities, Rutherford’s Den and much more.

Check out what events and activities are on year round through the Arts Centre website.

One of the highlights coming up very soon is the Botanic Garden D’Lights which this year will be including part of the Arts Centre in the interactive displays. Find out more here.

 

NZ Ski Season 2019 is at hand!

One of the wonderful things about Christchurch in the winter is our close proximity to New Zealand’s best ski areas – including Mt Hutt which has the longest ski season in Australasia and is the largest ski area in New Zealand.

And even better, from right here at the Airport Gateway, you are just 1 hour and 43 minutes drive away from our doorstep to being on the ski field, ready to go!

As well as the stunning vista of the Canterbury Plains you can enjoy on a good day at Hutt, there’s also a great selection of runs to choose from – from the challenging to the beginner and everything in between.

This video of Mt Hutt from the 2017 season (Filmed by Blackbird NZ) shows some of the most stunning experiences you can have on this mountain.

Season passes are still available at great prices and the mountain is due to open on June 8th, 2018.

As well as Hutt, you can also use Christchurch as your base to head off to Porters Pass (just 1 hour 16 minutes from here), Mt Cheeseman and if you want to venture a little further afield, Round Hill at Lake Tekapo, Mt Dobson just past Fairlie and Fox Peak this side of Fairlie are all options.

Cheeseman and Fox are both club fields, so would suit more experienced skiers who don’t mind using  an old school nutcracker tow to get up the mountain.

In the meantime, get your flights and Christchurch accommodation booked in good time to make sure you don’t miss out!