Christchurch with kids: the best family-friendly things to do

Planning a family trip to Christchurch? Here’s plenty of fun for you and your crew.

Two people ziplining at Christchurch Adventure Park with Christchurch and mountains in background, Christchurch, New Zealand. Image credit: ChristchurchNZ
  • Jetstar
  • May 2022

With a vibrant mix of old and new, Christchurch is an ideal spot for a family getaway. Natural beauty abounds, including the picturesque Avon River that runs through the city, alongside historic buildings and colourful street-art. Galleries and museums offer kid-friendly activities, the Botanic Gardens are like one big playground and there are nearby beaches for seaside family fun. And, being New Zealand, there are plenty of adventure activities on the menu to satisfy even the smallest adrenaline junkie!

Splash around at Hanmer Springs

Find fun and relaxation for the whole family at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa. It’s just 90 minutes from Christchurch, with beach access and a magical mountain backdrop. Parents can mellow out in the hot pools or on the loungers around the freshwater lap pool. Kids can splash up a storm on the waterslides at AquaPlay or under the waterfalls in the Children’s Activity Pool.

People relaxing in a series of hot pools at Hanmer Springs, New Zealand. Image credit: Hanmer Springs
Relaxation for the adults, fun for the kids. Image credit: Hanmer Springs

Ride the Christchurch Tram

The Christchurch Tram is an immaculately restored heritage tram that takes in all the major tourist sites in Christchurch, with live commentary. You can hop on and hop off at the 17 stops on the route, and kids ride free, so it’s a great and affordable way to get around.

The Christchurch Tram in front of the Arts Centre, Christchurch, New Zealand. Image credit: ChristchurchNZ
The Christchurch Tram at the Arts Centre. Image credit: ChristchurchNZ

Get your thrills at Christchurch Adventure Park

Christchurch Adventure Park has super fun activities for all ages, from mountain biking and ziplining to Christchurch’s longest chairlift, all in a forest setting. You can even ride New Zealand's highest zipline as a family – it’s dual-lined so you can race each other through the park. There’s a kids’ bike loop trail, clinics and programmes in mountain biking, and for the really small ones, there are fairy doors to spot in the Adventure Park Village.

A person in a red helmet laughs as they zipline above a forest on a sunny day, Christchurch Adventure Park, New Zealand. Image credit: Miles Holden
Ziplining through the air is fun for the whole family. Image credit: Miles Holden

Get frosty at the International Antarctic Centre

Take a trip to Antarctica at the award-winning International Antarctic Centre. Kids can experience being buffeted by snow and wind in the Storm Dome or take a rocky ride on an all-terrain Hägglund. There’s a Husky Zone, as well as twice-day penguin feeding times and amazing 4D theatre experiences. During the school holidays, extra activities include learning what it takes to be a husky handler and going backstage to learn all about caring for the little blue penguins.
The exterior sign of the International Antarctic Centre, Christchurch, New Zealand. Image credit: FiledIMAGE/
Get the kids to rug up and explore the Antarctic. Image credit: FiledIMAGE/

Hit the Margaret Mahy Playground

Named after the beloved New Zealand children’s author, the Margaret Mahy Playground is the biggest children’s playground in the Southern Hemisphere and it’s a knockout good time for the kids. You’ll lose them for hours on the epic climbing ropes, broad slides, trampolines, flying foxes and play equipment. There are barbecues for self-catering, as well as food and coffee carts. The playground is free, fun, and a fabulous day out for the kids.

Children descending a broad slide under a red shade at Margaret Mahy Playground, Christchurch, New Zealand. Image credit: ChristchurchNZ
Margaret Mahy Playground guarantees hours of fun. Image credit: ChristchurchNZ