There's heaps to love about Kaikōura!
You may want to ride the Coastal Pacific train to get there. A great experience for everyone to see the stunning scenery. The train runs from Christchurch to Piction, stopping in Kaikōura on the way.
There's plenty to do on this side of town:
Or head a bit further up the road to Waimairi Beach:
A fantastic day out at the seaside!
If you like to wander, discover old treasures, taste new foods, and support local - organise a trip around the markets.
There are plenty around the city to choose from: from central city Riverside Markets, to bric-a-brac, artisan or second-hand stalls in the suburbs:
Lyttelton Farmers Market - Saturdays. Stallholders offering fresh fruit and vegetables, free-range eggs, bread, meat, fish, cheese, juices, herbs and plants sell at the market every week. There are also treats and creative stuff too.
Christchurch Riverside Market - every day, inner-city. Offering a range of eateries, enjoy perusing a huge number of indoor and outdoor eateries which cater for all tastebuds - and they make great coffee here too! Browse the stalls and grab some groceries for the week - local merchants offer meats, bread, seafood, eggs, salamis, cookies, kombucha, fresh vegetables (some amazing avocadoes!), sweets, and even beer to take home! A great one-stop option if you want to give your family a real treat. If you want to dine al fresco, sit at the tables outside the market, or wander down to the Avon Riverside terraces.
Riccarton Market - Sundays, Riccarton Racecourse. Peruse and pick up up bric-a-brac, memorabilia, repurposed clothing and this community market. An idea for kids when they have saved up some pocket money, and an opportunity to show them how to get value for money on recycled and repurposed goods.
Christchurch Farmers Market - Saturdays, Riccarton Bush. Enjoy brunch at one of the many food-stalls throughout the market; enjoy the opportunity to buy fresh, locally grown produce and baked goods.
Mt Pleasant Farmers Market - Saturdays. Offering vegetables, berries, herbs, mushrooms, honey, milk & cream, The Weekend Press, meats, organic food, gluten-free baking, pastries, breads, cheeses and more.
Opawa Farmers Market - Sundays. This market prides itself on having the best selection of fresh local produce in Christchurch, including a large organic range from well-known and trusted local growers. Top up your vege shop with fresh artisan bread, French-style pastries, free-range eggs, locally made Italian cheeses, seasonal fruits and much more.
The Works Market, Waterloo - Sundays, 9am-2pm. Welcoming families, friends, dogs on leads...anyone! Offering quality produce, baked goods (including a good range of gluten-free and coeliac friendly options from FOG Food), coffee, art, other creations and entertainment for the children. Plenty of off-street parking and toilet facilities. 400 Waterloo Road, Islington Christchurch.
Such a great way to see the city and support local!
Just over the hill from Christchurch, a day of adventure in Governors Bay awaits! Plenty of things to do here:
You could spend an entire day at in Halswell and in the surrounding hills:
There is so much to do in this lovely port suburb, just over the hill from Christchurch:
Make a day of it - pack the car, pack a picnic, pack your shoes and go exploring!
We're loving Methven, there's:
Bring back the Sunday Drive! Oxford is a 45-minute drive north from Christchurch - nestled near the foothills of the Southern Alps.
Oxford has heaps of things to do:
Take part in their wonderful community events:
Hit up Google before you head out there and search for "what’s going on in Oxford today?"
So much to do in this little piece of seaside paradise!
Walk barefoot along the beach, feel the sand between your toes, and the splash of the water on your feet.
There’s plenty of options in the city right now!
Otherwise, just wander around and soak up what's going on - there's always something new and exciting being built or developed. Plus, there are loads of coffee and ice cream options in the city. Sorted!
Easy to spend an afternoon on this side of town!
This is a great option if it's raining, you've cabin fever or you simply need a change of scenery.
A one-hour drive from Christchurch, this is a wonderful option for a day out.
Nestled in the midst of a working sheep, cattle and deer farm, Washpen Falls offers breath-taking views of the Canterbury Plains.
Take sturdy shoes, plenty of snacks and water, wet weather gear, and dry clothes for when you get back to the car.
The perfect place to get your buzz on - Adrenalin Forest - only a 15-minute drive north of Christchurch.
High excitement and a great confidence builder!
There are loads of apps offering audiobooks at the mo - here's a list of the good ones to save you time! Snuggle in with an audiobook - easy!
An awesome option for a rainy day, or download to keep everyone entertained on a long, car trip!
Why not make a date with your cousins, good family friends, and set up a night to go camping in their backyard?
Such an easy and great last-minute option: throw the tent, sleeping bags and a picnic into the car, and off you go!
Here are some great ideas from DOC to help get you motivated!
A great way to feel like you are getting away, but without too much fuss.
Only a 1.5 hour drive from Christchurch, Akaroa is a great option for a day trip.
Fish n chips on the beach, a hike in the hills, or a stroll around the township is a great way to spend the day.
If you've extra time, (and spending money), you could add to the experience by booking:
There's plenty of accommodation options available too - although we recommend you book in advance, especially in summer.
Only a 45-minute drive north from Christchurch, Ashley Gorge is a great option for either a day trip, or an overnight stay.
Take a picnic, sunscreen, hat & togs, and enjoy an ice-cream on the way home!
Castle Hill Village is located in the Canterbury high country 100km west of Christchurch (one hours' car travel on State Highway 73),then 33km west from Springfield (over Porters Pass). The Village is a great place to base yourself if you want to go:
The main cost here will be petrol. However, once you are out there, you can spend hours clambering over the most magnificent boulders, and enjoying the wide-open expanse of this truly magical place.
A 2-hour drive south of Christchurch and nestled in the foothills of the Southern Alps, this South Canterbury town is a breath of fresh air.
Check out their range of accomodation options to suit all budgets.
Taken either as a day-trip or school holiday adventure, this alpine town has plenty to offer!
Less than 2-hours drive from Christchurch, there are plenty of accomodation options, including Air BnB, Hanmer Holiday Homes, Bookabach or the famous Top 10 Campground.
With so many winter and summer options, this is a great place to spend your weekend or school holidays!
About a 4.5 hours drive south of Canterbury, you will land yourself in the Otago region.
There is plenty to see and do in this "Scarfy Town", so a few days down this way will fly by!
Dunedin is a great base to spend a few days, especially if you wish to travel further south, eg, down to the Wanaka Lakes or Queenstown.
There are plenty of things to do and see in this gorgeous lakeside town:
Be sure to check-in at the local Tourist Office for the latest deals, or search for great discounts on the likes of Bookme or Grabone.
If you are up for an adventurous, and action-packed holiday, then this part of the world is a great visit. Renowned for its beautiful beaches, national walks, glorious waterways - there is so much to chose in the far north of the South Island.
We suggest doing your own research, but as a starter, here are a few ideas:
There are plenty of Air BnB and holiday park options:
Be sure to check-in at the local Tourist Office for the latest deals, or search for great discounts on the likes of Bookme or Grabone.
Located on the West Coast of the South Island (funny that!), there is so much to see and do in this rugged part of the world. Just under a 4-hour drive from Christchurch, it is renowned for its iffy weather, so pack your jackets.
We recommend you do your own research, however, a few things that have come recommended to us include:
Suitable for all age groups - to do together, to supervise, or to leave your kids to it! Here are a few ideas to get you motivated:
Note for parents – be patient and recognise it won’t be perfect - it's more about the process, than the outcome. Just have fun!
If you have a child that loves art – here’s a nice "outing and activity":
A great school holiday out-and-about option, which you can complete on a Chillin' at Home, or rainy day!
Collect as many Kiwi Guardian medals as you can!
A programme established by the Department of Conservation, this activity programme encourages kids to learn about nature, earn cool rewards and go on epic family adventures.
So get your walking shoes on, pack your backpack, and start collecting!
This wonderful initiative is not just limited to Canterbury - there are Kiwi Guardian signposts and codes all around New Zealand, so you can take this activity on holiday with you.
Dig out your old Twister game and teach your kids how to play.
If you don’t have the actual Twister game, make your own! Cut out and colour 24 circles, (6-each red, blue, green and yellow), tape them to your floor, create a simple spinner, and limber up to get bendy!
This makes for a great birthday or Christmas present - check The Warehouse or Whitcoulls, or even Trade Me for a pre-loved version!
Many memories have been made playing family board game favourites!
Check out your local bookstore for specials, and board games make great birthday gifts!
Download the interactive Mural Map called Plain Sight - which brings Christchurch’s street art and murals to life through augmented reality.
Delivering an innovative and interactive experience, it’s a modern and fun way to look around our ever-developing city.
A great option to do with your older teens - let them show you around the city!
Build a hut in the living room big enough for you all to sit in and watch a movie together.
A great way to create connection and great memories.
When the weather's iffy, or if you just feel like chilling out, why not catch a movie?
A good place to start and to see what's on, visit www.flicks.co.nz - a directory of cinemas and screenings around Canterbury. To save time:
Check out the Christchurch Art Gallery, located in the heart of Christchurch city.
Jump in the car and head out to some beautiful waterfalls and walks around Canterbury. We’re lucky to have some good ones pretty close, and here are a few of our favourites:
You can discover other waterfalls in the Canterbury region by visiting the New Zealand Waterfalls website.
Great for fitness, confidence, and fun for all the family.
YMCA Adventure Centre
Offering a range of adventures for all age groups!
The YMCA has an incredible offer for Real Parents followers - simply add in the code "realparents" to any online booking to receive a generous 2-4-1 deal on a "Clip 'n Climb" activity * - even throughout the holidays! How's that for a good reason to call a friend and arrange a catch-up!
Make your booking here!*
* this offer is only valid for online bookings for Clip 'n Climb and for school age and pre-school entries only. This offer will not be available for walk-in bookings.
Apparently New Zealand is one of the last places that still allows children to climb trees, and we'd hate to see it no longer available. Of course there's safety as a number one factor, but if you're there, they'll be okay.
General rules are to use branches that are the same width as your wrist (they will hold you) and stay close to the trunk of the tree where things are much more sturdy.
But look for some trees you could support your kids to climb - at home, in the neighbourhood or while on holiday.
There are so many great cafes in Christchurch which welcome families and young children. We know there are plenty of them out there, so please do touch base and let us know where you recommend and why.
Some recommended cafes when you have kids in tow include:
Look out for offers! First Table offers great deals for early-bird diners, where you pay $10 up-front to receive 50% off the cost of your meal and selected restaurants.
Your local Entertainment Book offers 2-4-1 and 25% off a range of takeaway, cafe, bistro and contemporary dining choices.
If you don't know about Creative Junk, well now's a great time to head down and choose some awesome pieces to create something cool. It's a magical place filled with all sort of incredible artwork and project materials that come from the off-cuts from factories and printers...
This kind of fun will support your kids' imaginations, creativity, can-do attitudes, sense of curiosity - all the good stuff!
And next time you go to throw away the cereal box or egg carton - rethink it!
Unleash the creative flair!
Plus, it's a lot of fun!
Nestled in Arthur's Pass National Park, the Devils Punchbowl is a magical outing.
The track climbs up to the base-lookout, offering truly unforgettable views. During the winter season, brave the chill and enjoy the beautiful sight of the falls, especially beautiful when it's been snowing. Some say it's one of the best short walks in the area.
Take plenty of snacks and water, and some sturdy shoes and a warm coat if you venture out in the colder months!
A great way to spend any day and suitable for all age groups:
A great way to understand our city, culture, people and heritage.
Why not challenge yourself, and your friends, to an hour of fun, teamwork & problem-solving? Head to an escape room, where the challenge is to work together to solve the puzzles and escape the room in the nick of time.
There are a couple of options in Christchurch:
A great option for a birthday party, work event, or end of year Christmas function.
There are so many tracks and trails up in the Port Hills — it’s just knowing how to find them.
Check out this map of tracks listed around the city, otherwise, here are some of our favourites:
There are so many options to chose from in the Port Hills - just ensure you pack some sturdy shoes, hat & sunscreen in the summer, snacks and plenty of water.
It’s a lovely idea to feed the ducks around the city, but it’s important to feed them correctly and avoid polluting our waterways.
Some of the best places around Christchurch to find and feed these little guys seem to be:
To keep our native bird and wildlife flourishing, why not make a donation to the Wildlife Veterinary Trust, founded in 2007 to treat and rehabilitate sick and injured wild and native birds.
Go feed some eels
Some fun facts:
Depending on the weather, the best places around Christchurch to watch these slippery guys in action seem to be:
Be mindful of your fingers when feeding them though, as they have pretty sharp teeth!
Great for fun, and fitness!
Ask the grandparents or other family members who love you, for an annual pass, so you can pop out any time you like.
Make or buy a kite and head to the park to try it out! It really is that easy!
We liked these instructions for three simple kites: everything looks to be available from Bunnings or Mitre 10.
As kids get older stunt kites can be a real hit - one to offer up to the grandparents or aunts/uncles for gift ideas.
Other ideas for future projects might include a bird-feeder, sand-pit or -- if you’re feeling confident -- a playhouse.
Handy Hint: many hardware stores have a fenced-off play area & cafe, which gives you time to enjoy a hot cuppa while the kids are kept entertained. Once they’re done, roam the aisles for your home-made DIY supplies.
There is so much fun to be had in the garden! Bunnings, Go Gardening NZ and Tui all have great ideas and inspiration. We also think it's fun to:
Many garden centres have an indoor cafe and playground, so why not take the kids and let them play while you enjoy morning tea and some downtime. A great option on a rainy day!
Grab a bunch of mates and have a game of tennis, basketball, hit the BMX tracks or skatepark, play petanque, go fishing.
Make use of the many good reasons why we pay rates and tick off this extensive list of activities set up by the Christchurch City Council which shows you where to find free sports courts and bike tracks around the city.
Why not grab the bus and hit the pools on the other side of town? Or meet in Hagley Park for a hit of tennis?
Colouring-in is awesome any time - for both kids and adults. It’s actually really good for us because we often move into a "flow" state when we’re doing it!
If you don't have any books or materials, you can download and print pictures at home, or scribble on a page and colour the spaces. There are so many resources online ー google and check what you want, a few good sites include:
For younger kids:
For older kids and adults:
Or look out for great deals in the bargain bins at places like The Warehouse, Whitcoulls, or even the supermarket.
Just spend time colouring together, or you could always test your skills in the 3 marker challenge! Close your eyes, choose 3 colours and that's what you have to complete your picture!
Buy books and felts/pens/pencils/crayons when they’re on special and stash them away for a rainy day or reward for awesome behaviour.
There are so many things you can craft at home, and this is such a good option for a rainy or at-home day.
Chat with your kids about what they would like to create; get out existing materials and see what’s possible.
As a starting point, you only need a stash of paper, crayons, pencils & a black pen to get creative. Let them lead the process of planning, deciding colours, materials and design.
Online Activities: there are so many ideas online demonstrating art and craft ideas. Check out Youtube and social media pages for inspiration. Here are some of our faves:
Some tips to get your craft journey started:
Kmart, The Warehouse, Farmers, Warehouse Stationery, Spotlight have in-store and online specials. Address the parcel to your child, for an extra special surprise!
Google some easy lego creations, and see what you can make out of existing pieces. Search the internet for some cool lego challenges, including:
Lego is an awesome birthday present - put it to the grandparents as a gift idea. Or search Trade Me for some second hand options: you will often find someone having a clear out!
Arion Farm Park is especially good for the younger kids, who love and want to interact with farmyard animals.
Located 15 minutes from the airport (at 890 McLeans' Island Road, close to Orana Wildlife Park), they offer the opportunity to:
Glenlothian Farm - another great day out! Feed, pet and interact with the animals, as well as learn things about rare breeds they have. They've also got a craft shop, craft classes and host birthday parties.
Sometimes it works really well when families have shared goals – saving money to towards something, spending more time together, getting the house or garden sorted... and then there’s getting fit together! We’ve selected a few ways you can do this in healthy ways:
Or there are a number of apps you can download for an indoor/at-home experience:
Keep it fun, keep it about "fitness" and health – rather than weight. If you’re doing this – you’re doing some great role modelling! Go you!
There are a quite a few good options for getting your horsey fix!
Most companies run lessons throughout the school term, as well as offer school holiday programmes. Check in with them to see what's on offer. These places have been recommended to us:
Heathcote Valley Riding School
Mairehau Riding Centre
Waimak River Riding Centre
Send us a message if you know of any others.
It's never too early to get your kids helping out in the kitchen! Why not host a Mini Masterchef?
Head to 'The Practical Stuff' section for more tips around getting kids to help around the house.
Visit some of the best art galleries, zoos & museums in the world - virtually - and from the comfort of your own sofa. From Paris to New York, Amsterdam to Cincinnati, and even up to Mars! Let your kids can observe awesome animals, peruse to priceless works of art & then explore the universe.
Our fave zoos are:
Our fave art galleries and museums are:
Beyond this there are virtual tours around the world, as well as some other educational resources:
Let us know of any other cool learning sites?
We’re so lucky to have super cool libraries, with super cool librarians in our city! Our fave libraries are:
Different libraries offer different activities each day, all set up to be for to be age and stage appropriate:
Here is a list of library locations throughout Christchurch - check out if there are any activities online that you can plan to attend. Gather a group of friends and enjoy an outing together?
Kids are never too young to start with card games. Not only are games like these good for their brain and dexterity, but it’s also fun for them to challenge (and sometimes beat) their parents.
A simple deck of cards is a good starting point for children. Think of games like:
These are all good value option, and great suggestions to friends and family for birthday or Christmas presents.
We love chalk! It's so easy & old school, a great way to send some cool messages and a reason to be out in Autumn or Winter for a bit.
Oh yeah... if you have run out of hard-chalk, you can make your own squidgy, liquidy version that you can squeeze out of old sauce bottles (or just paint with):
In a large mixing bowl:
Get creative and have fun!
Kids might like to do this in the bath, or grab the washing basket (if it doesn’t have holes) or a clean bucket and fill with warm, bubbly water.
Allow your child to add their toys and give them (possibly a much needed!) bath.
It's a great outside activity too!
Prepare for this to turn into an imaginative game in which you must take part!
A great number of things can come from this: an opportunity to teach children about online technology, marketing, the value of money, being charitable, recycling and re-purposing what you no longer need.
The International Antarctic Centre is a great place to hang out - especially on a rainy day - and they have a great cafe too! Situated approximately 15-minutes drive from Christchurch central city or a 5-minute walk across the road from the Christchurch Airport terminal.
There's heaps to see here:
Head to their website to check out their ticket pricing, as they often have specials deals available.
Nothing like heading to the bowling alley on a wet and rainy day!
Check out the Entertainment Book, Treat Me, BookMe, or GrabOne in case they are running any promos or discount offers.
Christchurch has our very own Monarch Butterfly Queen – who knew!?
Maria Romero has established The Butterfly Musketeers - dedicated to raising awareness of the life-cycle of the monarch butterfly and sharing her knowledge of how to best care for them, and how to establish butterfly-friendly environments.
In Autumn, especially around ANZAC Day, look for monarchs, particularly in:
Maria also offers butterfly-themed birthday parties or events - a real treat for the butterfly enthusiast in your life!
Geo-caching is looking for hidden "caches" which are could be tins or jars or boxes hidden all around the world actually.
But what exactly is it? In sum: it’s a little bit of code-cracking, a little bit of scavenger hunting and quite a lot of anticipatory excitement.
This article is good at explaining it because, to be honest, the associated websites that talk about geo-caching can be a little confusing for the novice geo-cacher.
How to geo-cache:
This is a great ongoing activity for the whole family – it’s a 'lil bit addictive and every outing may start to include finding a geo-cache!
Go Go Karting for a dose of adrenaline, and high octane fun.
Whether you are an expert adrenaline junkie go karting driver, or just learning to drive - have a go! Might as well!
Great option for birthday party or school holiday activity.
Christchurch is a city with a lot of recent history.
Take some time to explore the memorials in Christchurch – a great way to talk about our history and some of the tougher topics we get questioned around, such as, the Christchurch earthquakes and Mosque attacks.
But it's also a great way to "do something" if kids are curious about their city. Where possible, why not take some flowers or make art to leave at the sites.
185 Empty Chairs
51 Flowers Mural
Canterbury Earthquake Memorial
These are some of the more longstanding and permanent memorials in Christchurch, however, keep an eye out for the occasional, temporary tributes.
Some of our favourite places to dine on more substantial fare, eg, breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner, desserts...include:
First Table can offer great deals for early-bird diners, where you pay $10 upfront and get 50% off your final bill. Your local Entertainment Book offers 2-4-1 and 25% off a range of takeaway, cafe, bistro and contemporary dining choices.
Great for larger families, early eaters, and those who have big appetites!
Rock it up with "Christchurch Rocks" - an awesome way to spend an at-home day, rainy day, or a perfect activity for the school holidays.
You can stretch this project out to last several days — great to add to the school holiday calendar:
Remember to take and upload photos of where you have hidden your rocks!
There are so many cool virtual spaces offering insights, experiments and loads of fun! Head to some of these websites for some inspiration:
Otherwise, why not create a DIY science kit, and jot down your experiments in a notebook? Homemade volcanoes are always fun (vinegar, baking soda and maybe food colouring). These go great in the sandpit!
Why not make some science-y presents – a homemade bath-bomb is a goodie (and a great birthday or Christmas present option!)
Instagram, TikTok or Snapchat yourselves around the city! Place yourself in the most iconic and recognisable spots in Christchurch:
then make creative works of art and take it to the 'gram: (#ExploreChC is trending well!)
Let us know of any other cool spots to take some pics!
Mini Golf is an interesting family adventure - some love it, some hate it! But it’s always worth a go.
There are a couple of places around the city where you can enjoy a putt:
Depending on the age of your kids - take the competition completely out of it. With teens - competition could keep it fun, but go easy.
Let them raid your wardrobe and see what combos they can fashion out of your clothes - use it as an opportunity to figure out what you no longer wear and might want to donate to charity?
Funnier still - have them mimic you! Don't forget to grab some snaps too, as will be fun to look back on in years to come!
Warning - this can be a bit of an eye-opener!
There are so many online platforms for connection these days.
Organise a time to catch up with a friend, and schedule an online play-date - either voice or video chat.
There are a number of free apps you can download to make this happen, and which can host a number of people on the same chat. You just need to have a strong wifi or data connection:
Otherwise, an old-fashioned chat on the telephone works well too!
They don't call Christchurch the Garden City for nothing! Parks we love in Christchurch include:
Here’s a link to the Christchurch City Council website with loads of other ideas of where to find a good walk, parks & other cool places to explore.
Christchurch is full of fun, safe & adventurous playgrounds, so it's a great option to simply drive, walk, bike or scoot to your local park. This is a great way to explore your neighbourhood, as well as others further afield. There are loads of options across the city, but here are a few of the more interactive ones we know of:
If you have older children, use this map of where you can find parks with playgrounds, and let them lead the way using their navigation skills.
Make a day of it by arranging to meet a friend at a new park, on the other side of the city - pack a picnic, extra clothes and head away for the day.
A change of scene can be as good as a holiday!
Rainy days often attract birdlife to the wetlands, so see how many birds you can spot (and name!).
If it's a bit chilly: pack a thermos, a few towels, a change of clothes, gumboots and a jacket. Once parked up, let the kids go wild, jumping in puddles as they race around the tracks.
Once done, head back to the car, dry off, turn the car heater on and enjoy a hot chocolate together.
Willowbank Wildlife Reserve - located in Harewood, this Christchurch institution is a five-minute drive from Christchurch Airport and about a 20-min drive from Christchurch's city centre.
Offering a great day out, there are so many choices:
Handy hint - If you have young children, ask the grandparents (or any family member who loves you!), for an annual pass as a Christmas or birthday surprise?
A super easy day out - take a bucket & spade!
Find the best family-friendly beaches in Christchurch, and which ones you might need to be wary of. Try and find a beach that is patrolled throughout the summer months and be sure to keep your children in sight and swimming between the flags at all times.
Some of the more popular beaches in Canterbury seem to be:
Find the best family-friendly beaches in Christchurch, and which ones you might need to be wary of. Try and find a beach that is patrolled throughout the summer month and be sure to keep your children always in sight, and swimming between the flags.
Make a list of things you need and give yourselves a budget (maybe get this out in cash and leave the eftpos card at home). There are so many op-shops and Save-Marts to choose from around the city and beyond.
Do a bit of homework with an avid op-shopper and ask for their faves – it’s likely they’ll want to come too, which will add to the fun.
It doesn’t have to be clothes though: second-hand furniture for a bedroom makeover, books, kitchen things… there are loads to choose from.
Oh, the treasures to be found!
Whether you’ve never been on a ski field before, or have been loads of times, it’s an exhilarating time - even for the views, squelch of your boots in the fresh snow, or enjoying coffee as you watch the kids in a lesson. It really is a great day away.
To snowboard or ski for the day our local choices are plentiful:
Remember to pack plenty of snacks, a full thermos & a change of warm, dry clothes for the ride home!
The ultimate adventure experience - go rafting or jetboating!
If you have the budget this is a great idea for a birthday or special occasion - head out to raft the Rangitata Gorge or jetboat down the Waimakariri or Hurunui Rivers.
There are a large number of Christchurch based companies that offer tours, so best to research and find the most suitable for your ability and budget.
Check the Entertainment Book, TreatMe or GrabOne before you go, as they sometimes offer deals and discounts.
Try out the Sensory Room at The Southern Centre at Pioneer Recreation Centre.
Here you will find a multi-sensory recreational environment that uses innovative lighting and sound technology; where you can feel vibrations, touch different textures, change lighting effects and experience different smells.
And did you know there’s a Children's Sensory Gardens (in New Brighton) too? It has a musical path and all kinds of exciting sensory items to give children, including those with special needs, the chance to explore their senses through interaction with nature.
How cool is that?
Many of our adventures are home learning opportunities, but this is more specific in helping with actual school-learning.
Your school will probably send you some info and links, and we reckon it's best to work within their guidelines and expectations for learning at this time.
Our advice is to take each day as it comes, follow your children’s interests and keep it fun.
Let us know of any other useful websites or resources?
Try your skills at homemade mini-golf. This is an awesome game for encouraging creativity and developing hand/eye co-ordination:
If inside – keep the swings low!
Taking it back in time. Introducing a classic game the whole family can play, either indoors or out.
Great for creativity, movement and fitness, counting, and just a whole lot of fun:
Freeze small toys in a bowl of water or place one toy in each individual cube of the ice tray. Give your kids things to help them free their toys - spoons or things that will scrape the ice. Place the on a tray and slide the ice around - watch it melt over the course of the day, and come back to it to try free more of the toys.
We've seen this done with an Elsa figurine or doll sitting on top of the frozen toys - Elsa froze your toys… you need to free them!
Bring the picnic rug or some towels to the lounge floor and set up a picnic for lunch, dinner or even just some snacks for afternoon kai. Maybe invite some favourite doll friends, superhero figures - whoever you can see that might want to get in on the fun!
A quick google search will bring up your nearest toy library. Take your kids along while you join. Let them pick some toys for the next few weeks (that' s the best bit - it saves you money and the toys won't clutter your come forever).
Toy libraries are also a great place to connect with other parents in your area.
Here’s to all the times that we’re at home, and when getting outside would do us the world of good. Here’s some fairly low energy ways of doing it:
Whatever you choose – take your time, be in the moment and enjoy. Simple things like this are our gentle reminder to be kind to you too.
It's fair to say we live in busy times, so it's important to make some time for yourself.
If you can, set aside 10-minutes in your day to meditate - it will have oodles of benefits.
Here are a few well-known mediation apps to get you started:
Remember: there’s no right or wrong way to meditate - just give it a go and see what happens!
Hit the water and go kayaking in and around Christchurch - either by river or sea. There are plenty of options to get out on the water around Christchurch:
Make sure to pack an extra set of dry clothes for when you get back to the car!
Great for car trips or ‘screen-free’ downtime. Some of our faves include:
If you are not sure how to access podcasts, then read this guide first. Happy listening!
A great way to while away an afternoon is search the park, or even hunt around your back yard, for dropped leaves and petals. Look for different shapes, sizes and colours, and orgnaise them into patterns, groups or picture ideas.
Then either buy a flower-press, make one yourself or check out this tutorial - it's pretty straight forward!
Press the leaves/petals for however long you need to, and once ready, glue them on paper to make pictures, or make cards for friends and family. You could even use whole flowers, leaves, seeds and to make potpourri!
As a stage-by-stage project, this is something to keep kids potentially occupied for weeks (and is a great rainy day activity too).
Anything home-made is always a great gift option - and it doesn't need to cost much either!
There's never a better time to start learning Te Reo Māori.
There are heaps of online resources that can get you started:
Please let us know of any other resources you can recommend.
This can be a great thing to do with your kids – especially if you all love the water.
It’s also great role modelling – they get to see you learning too.
Surf schools are located in Sumner and Waikuku, and offer all-year-around lessons (if you are keen enough to brave the winter cold!).
Look out for great deals and packages on offer and snap them up for birthday and Christmas gifts. And make sure to pack plenty of warm clothes and snacks for when you get out!
There are so many great campsites in and around Canterbury.
This is a great, cost-effective way to go on holiday. Even if you found a campground on the other side of town - a simple change of scene is always fun, no matter how close to home you end up.
Whether you are a rugged outdoors camper who likes to be surrounded only by nature, or you would prefer to comforts of electricity and running water - there are plenty of options to chose from.
There is a fantastic range of free and bookable campsites around the region. Check out:
Remember: be tidy camping kiwis. Take only photos, and leave only footprints!
Whether rain or shine, the pools are always a great option! There are a range of pools around Christchurch:
Outdoor Pools (open for the summer months)
Outdoor Paddling Pools (managed by the Christchurch City Council)
Check out this link for a map of where to find your nearest paddling pools and water-play areas. Pools are open mid-November to early March. Some of our favourites include:
These paddling pools are not supervised by lifeguards, so please keep an eye out at all times!
We love Trees for Canterbury and all they stand for. We collaborate with Trees for Canterbury by giving the parents we've worked with a small native tree to end our time together which acts a pretty cool kind of symbolism.
If you're keen to get your kids into gardening, you can't go past natives and Trees for Canterbury is certainly the place to get them. They're located in Ferrymead, so there's plenty to explore in the nearby Charlesworth Reserve, as well as playgrounds, AND get natives for your garden!
The other thing we love is Trees for Canterbury is their planting days. Generally twice a month they arrange a community reserve planting, re-planting and rejuvenating Christchurch with native trees. It's such a great thing to do and model for your kids. Here's all you need to know for details and dates of their planting days.
All you need is 1 cup of uncooked rice, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and food colouring. Place all the ingredients in a snap-lock bag, seal and mix (shake) together.
Once mixed together, spread out rice onto a sheet of baking paper on baking tray and allow to dry. Repeat to make additional colours. Pour rice into a large container and add small toys for imaginary play or a great sensory experience.
Don't worry about the mess - your kids will love the satisfaction of the noise it makes when being vacuumed up.
Who doesn't love the idea of the museum and toys combo?!
The New Zealand Museum of Toys and Collectibles will be as much fun for you as it is for your kids. Your toys will stand out, evoke the memories and start the endless conversation our kids love hearing about - what life was like when you were a child.
A great activity for cold or rainy days. Located in the heart of the city, you'll find hot chocolates for afterwards not too far away, or another adventure!
This is a great activity for tired parents! If it's a warm day, take it outside, provide bowls of water and add in stone, leaves, petals, small pieces of bark or wood. If you're indoors and your pantry has some food colouring, you could add some - mix colours, get the spoons or whisk out.
Often this activity outside will turn into an incredible imaginative game - be sure to play along!
Water balloons don’t always have to end in a 'war'’!
While sometimes that's fun, it can also end in tears and man, can it use up a tonne of balloons!
Here’s some other fun ideas for reducing the number of balloons used, and the need for competition:
Keep a towel handy, and prepare to get wet!
There's loads of fun to be had once the sun goes down!
An awesome way to create connections and make memories!
Obstacle courses are great for creativity, agility, thinking about safety and engineering. And then, of course, teaching kids how important it is to clean up and put everything back once you’re done.
Inside courses - work with what you have inside the house:
Outside course – create an obstacle around the back yard:
Remember: it's a team effort to set up, and a team effort to clean up!
Take it old-school and hit the pin-ball machines & arcades. Check out:
Why not hit the op-shops first and find some classic '80s clothes to complete the occasion?
Despite the weather, it's always good to get out on your bike. Whether it's riding into the city, around your local park, in the forest, or up in the hills... there are plenty of tracks to choose from.
Use your bike rack:
If you don’t have a bike at home, visit any of these local bike-hire shops to hire one. Let us know of any other great tracks around the city!
Orton Bradley Park is a private 650ha rural property situated on the southern shores of Lyttelton Harbour, open 365 days a year.
A fun-filled day out for the whole family!
Spend some time together painting each other’s nails, applying a face mask or make-up or experimenting with some new hair styles.
This time can be really connecting with kids - it's close, it's concentrated and a great way to listen to what they've got to tell you.
Party games aren’t just for parties – these are nice ideas for any time your family could do with a bit of fun and movement. Why not play:
Share your faves with us?
You don’t have to be looking for a new family pet to visit the pet store. But be warned you may end up with one! Kids love cruising around your local pet store and getting mesmerised by the wonderful array of fish on display!
Otherwise, there are a number of petstores around the city where you can watch/purchase some fish! Check out:
Note that many pet-stores, including Animates, no longer have cats, dogs or other furry animals on display. They felt that the overall experience was not that great for their little mates, and so if you do wish to add a fur-baby to your whanau, then check out the Christchurch SPCA.
Remember, a pet is for life, so be sure that you're sure!
Did you know that the Christchurch City Council has planted 6846 fruit and nut-producing trees around the city - and now invite Christchurch locals to help themselves to the produce!
Offering plums, apples, walnuts, apricots, almonds, quince, pears, chestnuts and many. How's that for awesome!
Check out this interactive map and organise to forage for some treats!
A great idea for an afternoon tea outing!
There is no shortage of beautiful picnic spots in Christchurch where you can pack a chilly-bin of food, grab a rug and head out for the day. Some of these spots allow you to take your own BBQ too. Check some of these places out:
Remember to be a tidy kiwi: take only photos, and leave only footprints.
This can be quite a fun way for older kids to play with play dough again - or engage with their younger siblings play.
You know how this goes - make something and the other has to guess what it is!
Focus on the fun, not the artistic ability!
Puzzles are good for us – they allow us to get into a flow state (kind of calm, happy place) which boosts our well-being:
Not just puzzles, but also colouring-in, practicing musical instruments, singing - all creative activities can bring calm and flow.
Stay in your PJs all day - something the kids probably wouldn't expect, but they’ll remember as a "best day"!
Explain it’s a relaxing day – invite the kids to your bed as a family island and spend as much of the day there as you can. Guilt-free.
And while in you PJ’s try some of our other Chillin' at Home activities (in case boredom creeps in!).
Coz why not?!
This will potentially take a whole weekend and include either a list-to-do, several outings to the DIY, paint shops & fabric stores and watching youtube clips of bedroom makeovers (which you can neither afford, or want to be part of your home!).
So, there’ll be negotiating to be done! But the journey and process is a goodie for getting rid of clutter, organising, and giving quality goods to The Red Cross.
And once it’s done, they’ll have a happy haven (for a while, at least).
Set your boundaries from the outset, and let everyone knows what’s do-able (new curtains, a paint job, new duvet cover are not possible, but you will help them shift the bed!). Good luck!
Kids love riding the bus! An easy way to see the city, visit new areas and while away a few hours. Just need a bit of planning and you're good to go:
Plan ahead: put the slow cooker on so that dinner's done by the time you get home.
You can either do this at home, inside, outside, or when out & about.
First, decide where you want the hunt to be.
Out and about:
Get the scrap-booking of old photos and keepsakes underway! Kids will love going through their old photos and keepsakes, and will happily help you display their treasures (as long as you let go of it having to be perfect)!
Otherwise, take it online: create a photo book (with extra effects and text), and get them pro-printed. Some good online bookmakers include:
Photobooks also make Christmas and birthday gifts for grandparents, friends, and family!
Turn the music up and dance (start off solo, and it’s likely the kids will join in)!
Try making up a dance routine to your favourite song and put on a show for the family – we’re seeing this all the time on social media!
A great way to connect, move your body, and have fun!
Kids and teens love staying up with you! Here are some cool ideas:
Oh – by the way: do this when you have nothing planned for the two days after!
Nothing like picking your own fruit! There are plenty of orchards and berry-farms around the city that invite you out to pick your own:
Best to call head and check the berry farms are open before hopping in the car - they're not always available. And check the best way to make payment - some are cash-only.
Sometimes your little legends need water to settle and calm. We love an afternoon 'play' bath which is all about play, rather than part of the daily routine.
Run the bath, add bubbles if you have some, then get creative with what you put in there to support play - duplo people, the plastic tea set, honey sticks bath drops, bath crayons, plastic animals... it's up to you. Blowing bubbles in the bath with straws can be fun (though you know we'll say to limit the amount of bathwater a child drinks!).
Once the play bath is done, snuggle in and read a book together.
Taking a ride on the Christchurch Gondola is a great way to see the city!
If you plan to head up frequently, look to invest in an annual pass ー perhaps ask the grandparents if they would like to contribute to this, as part of a birthday or other big present?
A ride on The Christchurch Tram is a great way to explore inner-city Christchurch and experience being a tourist for the day.
If you plan to ride the tram frequently, look to invest in an annual pass ー perhaps ask the grandparents if they would like to contribute to this, as part of a birthday present?
Riccarton Bush (once known as Dean’s Bush) is located in the grounds of Riccarton House and a magical place to explore.
Enjoy a stroll through the tranquil grove of tall kahikatea trees in this ancient native forest. A lovely way to spend some time, simply exploring, talking, discovering...
On the way out, enjoy a picnic along the banks of the Avon River and see if you can spot any ducks or eels? But please don't feed them bread - it's really not that good for them!
The theatre isn’t a place we often think to take kids, but The Christchurch Court Theatre produces amazing shows and has a dedicated kid’s show every holidays.
A fab way to support the local arts (and an excuse to get dressed up for the occasion!).
And a great option for a rainy day or school holiday activity.
Watch a movie or favourite programme together – and don’t feel guilty about it!
Decide the night before whether you are going to have a morning or afternoon session, and balance this out with some outdoor activities or exercise, either before or after.
Quite simply, Netflix 'n Chill is a great way to spend any time of day!
Take advantage of 3-hours of free car-parking in the main carpark and enjoy strolling around Hagley Park Botanic Gardens:
Plenty of options here, rain or shine!
A great way to spend an afternoon, at one of Christchurch's ice-skating rink, Alpine Ice or MoveX.
They both have cafes on-site for when you want to take a break from the cold.
The lawn is a magic place we can:
All things that support our wellbeing!
Check out the amazing LAWA website that updates the quality of the water, and accessibility, of your local river.
Results are updated throughout the day, so you can see the latest water quality information to decide where to swim or paddle. Then:
Be careful though! Canterbury rivers are unmonitored and can be dangerous. Keep near your kids or stay in the water with them and leave the inflatable pool toys at home - rapids pull them away fast!
The trampoline is so much more than a bouncy thing taking over the backyard or the thing you move to mow the lawn. If your kids are over their tramp – get on it and make it fun. We love:
Try some of the youtube tricks – but be careful of your back!
Take off to the Air Force Museum - perfect on a rainy day!
With free entry, you can easily spend a few hours here exploring, learning and having fun!
An awesome day out for the budding aviator in your life!
A good option for when you're chilling at home, or heading out & about for the day.
Save these photos to your phone, or upload to the cloud and save for a day when you have time to make an online photo album.
There are some great options in the Garden City if you want to get out onto the water:
Be sure to pack some dry clothes and plenty of snacks for when you get back to the car.
Get the kids involved in throwing a small party – a surprise party, a get-together, a celebration – we don’t have to wait for birthdays!
Let them create the theme, come up with the design, agree on a workable budget, invite the guests, decorate, choose the food and have loads of fun!
A great school holiday, rainy day or just-coz activity!
Step on board a classic open top double-decker for a one-hour bus tour around central Christchurch on the Christchurch City Sightseeing Tour. Great for if you have family and friends in town, and you're looking to show off our great city!
Your guide will tell you about the history of the city from its pioneering days to the present day. You will view some of the areas affected by the earthquakes, see how Christchurch is preserving some of its iconic heritage buildings and learn about the latest plans for restoration of the inner city.
A great way to discover your own backyard!
Dedicate a magical afternoon trying to track down the iconic Archwizard of Canterbury – often found chatting with locals in New Regent Street.
Head to Tūranga Library across the road for a magic book of some kind. Perhaps download a Harry Potter audiobook for the car ride home, or plan to watch a movie once you get home?
Feel like getting right up close & personal with some wildlife, or experiencing the ultimate animal adventure?
This is a great inside game:
Great hand-eye coordination for wee ones!
Tumbletimes is a casual session designed for babies and preschoolers to explore their capabilities at their own pace in a fun, safe and social environment. Drop-in, as there is no need to book.
Offered in several locations around the city - including:
A great way for kids to burn energy, and for you to meet other parents.
It's amazing what fun can be had with a tyre! Kids can fit in the big ones, they can be cars again with only the aid of a good imagination, or another creation! You can plant in them or hang them as a swing!
We've witnessed and been part of literally hours of play with an old tyre!
Do you have an old family friend, ex-neighbour, or elderly relative that you don't often get to see? Then school holidays are a great time to arrange a catch up:
This can easily turn into an all-day activity, so pack some extra snacks in case you end up staying longer!
Give some love to animals!
Contact the Christchurch SPCA for opening hours or to have a chat to see what you can do.
Sometimes we forget that our neighbourhood is a destination! Heading outside is so good for our wellbeing - it's where we notice things, enjoy nature, take in the weather, chat, connect with neighbours and feel good.
It's also the best way to stop any niggles that might be bubbling between any members of the family - just getting outside will change the mood. Even just call it - "right I'm off to walk the block, I'd love you to join me" - even if it takes a bit of a nag! We bet they will.
On the lawn or at the park, anyone will join in a ball game as long as it looks fun:
Keep it fun and remember competitions are best for ages 8-years old and up.
Yoga is great for all ages and is known to improve physical, mental and emotional health. And it's fun too!
You can either do yoga in the comfort of your own home, or head out to your local yoga studio. Here are a few of our faves:
Out and about
Yoga is a great option for all ages, and fun when you do it with someone else. So grab a yoga-mate and get upsidedown together!