Wonderful Indoor Winter Activities in Christchurch

We are heading into the winter months, so what is there to do in Christchurch with your family (or without) when the days are shorter and the weather cooler?

Turns out, the answer is plenty!


EntX movies

Whether you are a local or visiting the city, movies are always a classic for cooler (or wetter days) and the city has some great options. If you are in the central city, head to the mega theatre at EntX (right opposite the Bus Exchange so you can grab a bus right outside the motel and head right into the city without having to find a park). The bottom floor is full of great eateries, so plan to grab lunch or dinner with your movie. See some pics and find out more about this great complex here. 

And of course there are other options for movies too – Northlands Mall, Riccarton Mall, Palms Shopping Centre, Alice’s, The Colombo, The Tannery and Sumner all have options to choose from.

If you are visiting NZ in the winter months, it is worth downloading the Flicks app  for your phone and then you can see all the cinemas and movies currently running, plus book online.

Turanga/Imagination Station

turanga library chch

Christchurch’s new public library is a place to not only make sure you visit, but also somewhere you can return to over and over again with your kids. If they love Lego, they will love the Imagination Station area that will keep them occupied for hours. Plus there’s a giant electronic gaming wall, computers, 3D printing facilities, music recording studios – and of course, books! And onsite are a couple of cafes to keep everyone going while they are full immersed.

Swimming and Gymming

Chch swimming pools

The city has plenty of options to take the kids swimming including the brand new, rebuilt Taiora QEII pool. Currently under construction is the new Metro Sports Facility in the central city which will have full size pool options, but you can also choose from Jellie Park (just down the road from us at Airport Gateway), Pioneer Stadium which has both gym and pool facilities, and the Graham Condon Pool and recreation complex in Papanui (near Northlands Mall).

Bouldering aka Indoor Rock Climbing

One of the popular indoor activities for locals and visitors alike, is indoor rock climbing and these days the two best places in town to get your bouldering skills on are the YMCA and Uprise aka the Bouldering Gym in Woolston.

bouldering at Uprise gym chch

At the Y you can choose between Clip n Climb and their Climbing Wall – either way its a lot of fun and a great way to spend your time.

You can even book the space for a birthday party. Make sure you book ahead.


mega air trampolining

Trampolining is a great way to get the blood pumping and tire out the kids while having lots of fun and Christchurch now has a couple of options to choose from.

Check out Mega Air trampolining arena in Carmen Road and Flip Out Christchurch in Maces Road.


The city is full of great places to shop, from the suburban malls (which are all linked by the Orbiter bus route in case you want to visit a few) and the many new shopping locations and brand stores that are springing up within the Christchurch CBD.

The malls closest to us at Airport Gateway are Riccarton’s Westfield Mall in Riccarton Road, and Northlands Mall on Papanui Road (as you head towards the Main North Road).

merivale shopping centre chch

For more boutique options, check out the Tannery in Woolston – worth a visit and you can do lunch and a movie while you are there; Merivale – not just the Mall but up to about 50 shops within easy reach of the mall itself including lots of fashion and a great recycled boutique; Sumner – a pretty seaside suburb with great cafes and bars and an eclectic range of shops to enjoy browsing.

the tannery chch



Tips for Travelling with Children

Travel is an exciting experience for most of us, but it can also be tiring and challenging for many, especially if you are travelling with children.

We’ve put together a few tips to make things a little easier and help you with your planning.

1. Book Ahead

Being spontaneous and just deciding to pick up and go, and stay wherever the urge takes you on your trip isn’t something that works well when you have young children.

Being stuck in a location where you can’t get suitable accommodation for the night and the children are tired and cranky is not something that makes for an enjoyable holiday. But doing some planning and booking suitable accommodation in the main places you intend to stay can definitely help things run more smoothly.

2. Late Check-ins

Find out if the places you are booking have the option for late checkins. If you are flying long distance, often you might be landing in Christchurch for example, in the middle of the night. That means you want to make sure you can quickly get to your accommodation and checkin without drama and get those children (and yourselves) into warm beds as painlessly as possible.

At Airport Gateway we have 24/7 mobile checkins and free transfers for our guests from the airport to the motel, so you can be picked up by our shuttle, do your check-on onboard with the driver and go straight to your room when you arrive a few minutes later.

free airport shuttle

3. Turndown Service

Also make sure to ask if your accommodation offers a turndown service, especially in the middle of winter when a warm room and a warm bed makes all the difference. Again this is something we pride ourselves on offering our guests. All you need to do is let us know your planned arrival time and we will make sure your room is ready for you all.

late arrival turndown service

4. Room Service or Onsite Restaurant

Arriving late with a hungry family is no fun, so make sure your choice of accommodation has either a room service menu you can get after hours, or an onsite restaurant. We offer both of these, but our Restaurant closes at 9pm so from that time you are welcome to order from the room service menu.

room service menu airport gateway

5. Full kitchen facilities.

When you are travelling with children, it is helpful to have your own kitchen facilities in your unit. Of course this is one of the benefits of booking a motel unit vs a hotel room.

All of our rooms offer full kitchen facilities, including stove top elements, microwave oven or traditional electric oven, along with a full set of kitchen crockery, cutlery and glassware. You also have a mini fridge in each unit.

Airport Gateway Motel kitchen

kitchen facilities

cooktops airport gateway kitchen

6. Supermarkets Nearby

Once you have booked your room with a kitchen, it helps to know if you can buy suitable food for the family nearby. At Airport Gateway we are five minutes drive from a large Countdown supermarket that is on the Christchurch Airport site. Opening hours are 7:00am – 10pm daily.

So you can either do your shopping before we pick you up in the shuttle, or the next day once you are settled and have had a good night’s sleep. If you don’t have a rental car, ask at reception if the shuttle is heading back to the Airport soon, or else you can catch the bus from outside the motel and be down at the airport in a few minutes.

(Note that if you book your accommodation with us directly through this website or over the phone, you are entitled to breakfast in our restaurant for just NZD$15 per per person. Just call our 0800 number to book your room and ask for the breakfast offer.)

countdown supermarket christchurch airport

6. Portacot Hire or Single Beds

When you book ahead, make sure you are clear about the number of people you are booking into a unit and how many children. In New Zealand we usually cater for additional children or babies with rollaway single beds or portacots. We have portacots available for a small additional fee, so please check with us when you book. Some of our units also have several single beds already set up.

7. Multi Room Options

If your family is larger than 3-4 people, look for places to stay where the option to book a multi room unit, or two adjoining units is possible.

We have several larger units that can accommodate up to seven people with a mixture of single and queen or king size beds. These units are great for bigger groups or if you are planning to stay in Christchurch for more than a few nights. Enquire when you book what options are available.

Multi room unit for families

8. Room to Play Outdoors

Picking somewhere to stay that has room for your children to stretch their legs and burn off a bit of energy is also a great idea. Look for accommodation that has a playground and other facilities suitable for children. Or locations that aren’t far from a park or reserve where they can really have a good run around.

We have a small playground onsite and just a few minutes walk down the road is Burnside Park, which has plenty of open space to play.

airport gateway playground

airport gateway playground


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!