Generic filters
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in excerpt

Nature & Wildlife

Christchurch 15 top picnic spots for families, couples and singles

  • 5 minutes

Canterbury, South Island

Parks, reserves and Banks Peninsula

Rediscover the impromptu feel of a picnic in Christchurch. Find the best picnic spots . Getting away from it all is the stuff of holidays. Christchurch outd oors, beautiful scenery and things to do from recreational boating at the Groynes to summit exploration on Mt Cavendish is an invitation to relax.  Nearby are cafes for wet weather days. On Christchurch’s warm sunny summers to kick off the footwear and go paddling in creeks at Abberley o r Orton Bradley Parks. Check out the local delis for picnic ingredients and relish the taste of a Canterbury summer al fresco day.
  1. Groynes Park

Enjoy a premier picnic area with pretty much everything going for it from walking tracks, fishing locations, orientation courses and multiple playgrounds.

  • Flying foxes, rope swings, slides enough space for all the family to explore the climbing, jumping equipment
  • Couples hire a boat and test your navigation skills
  • Orientation courses are fun for teenagers and adults interested in testing their ability to read a compass
  1. Bottle Lake Forest Park

Coastal and forest walks, mountain-bike tracks and horse-riding trails. The Visitor Centre, located at the Waitikiri Drive entrance, has track maps, brochures and displays about the park’s history and ecology. There are public toilets in the car park.

  • Families, couples and singles can enjoy the shared trails
  • Kids can explore the Fairy Village. The fairy door walk is a flat easy trail



  1. Abberley park

Suburban haven is a quiet surprise. Discover the joy of a mature garden with its babbling stream and scented garden.

  • Kids playground and shady trees
  • Adults will enjoy the meandering stream framed by mature flowering borders with plenty of seating to relax into the shared moment
@Friends of Abberley Park
@Friends of Abberley Park
Riccarton House & Bush, Christchurch, New Zealand
Gardens at the cafe in Mona Vale
  1. Mona Vale Reserve

Historic Mona Vale is the perfect location for visitors to Christchurch to sample the ‘Christchurch garden’ The herbaceous borders are full of colour, the mix of exotic and native trees the blended garden that Canterbury is renown for is a delight.

  • A romantic destination with its attractive heritage buildings, bush tracks and garden setting
  • A cafe offers an alternative to an al fresco picnic
  1. Risingholme Park

Another romantic setting where couples will enjoy a glorious garden

  • Lovers of formal rose gardens have the ideal place to saunter around with the English style garden a local community favourite
  • Heritage homestead is not open to casual visitors

Read more Christchurch romantic places, couples things to do, and remember to pack clothing layers, sunscreen and picnic rug.

  1. Mt Cavendish and Port Hills

Gondola ride sweeping visitors up and over the plains to the surrounding hills is a must do for visitors and locals alike.

  • Enjoy panoramic views of the Canterbury plains
  • Catch the gondola and get the sense of being whisked away
  • Mt Cavendish has a cafe if the weather is not great
Christchurch Gondola view, New Zealand
@Orton Bradley Park
@Orton Bradley Park
  1. Orton Bradley Park

A private working farm with a park, paddocks, creeks and short easy walks among mature rhododendrons.

  • Paddle in the creek
  • Leisurely walks to climbs to enjoy views of Lyttelton Harbour
  • Entrance fees apply
  1. Quail Island

A Lyttelton harbour inner island to explore with an interesting past. Easily accessible from Lyttelton Harbour on the Black Cat ferry service.

  • Find the ships graveyard
  • Quarantine buildings
  • Safe swimming beaches

Read more about Quail Island.

The rusting hulk of a shipwreck, the Darra, lies on the coast of Quail Island, New Zealand
The rusting hulk of a shipwreck, the Darra, lies on the coast of Quail Island
  1. Omahu Bush

A special place where volunteers and passionate locals have ‘saved’ an area of bush from predators. The birdlife and native vegetation regeneration programme is flourishing.

  • Enjoy exploring an area where dedicated locals are making a difference
  • Climb Gibraltar Rock and relish stunning views of the Lyttelton Harbour
  1. Kaitorete Spit, Banks Peninsula

There is something special about shingle barriers and the part nature plays. The spit separates Lake Ellesmere from the Pacific Ocean, Kaitorete walking tracks introduce visitors to the endangered birds that call the place home and follow in the footsteps of pre-European Maori trails

  • In 2004, that one of the country’s most significant textile finds was unearthed – tiny fragments of a Māori cloak carbon dated at around 1500AD, making it two centuries older than any cloak ever before found in New Zealand
  • Fascinating place to picnic and visit for visitors interested in conservation stories
Akaroa Beach on the Banks Peninsula, Akaroa, New Zealand
Akaroa Beach on the Banks Peninsula
  1. Banks Peninsula beaches

Camp Bay, Purau Bay are among the gems hidden in plain sight. There are few visitors and being approximately an hour from Christchurch have the makings of a magical day at the beach. There are streams running into small coves, driftwood to build impromptu forts and space aplenty.

  • Romantic moments where the world is just the two of you
  • Places where kids can run free
  • Shaded corners and toilets

Check Banks Peninsula beaches worth a detour for inspiration.

  1. Lake Clearwater

Water sports anyone? Lake Clearwater is a great place for windsurfing, kitesurfing on the shallow lake surface. Located in the Hakatere Conservation Park (Canterbury). The views of Mt Sommers are magnificent.

  • Shared walking / mountain biking trails
  • Less than 1 ½ hours from central Christchurch is the Canterbury high country and its underrated lakes definitely worth visiting

Check DOC resource for up to date information.

Lake Clearwater @DOC / iwishmynamewasmarsha
Lake Clearwater @DOC / iwishmynamewasmarsha
NZ birds, flock of ducks, Travis Wetland Christchurch New Zealand
NZ birds, flock of ducks, Travis Wetland Christchurch New Zealand
  1. Southshore Spit & Travis Wetland

An accessible peninsula with interesting birdlife another conservation spot perfect for a day fossicking and taking in the scenery. Boardwalks, wide open spaces with sand dunes where shorebirds nest. Nearby New Brighton has plenty of cafes, a fabulous kids playground and the pier for wet weather days.

  • Enjoy views to Redcliffs, Christchurch and distant glimpses of the southern alps on clear sunny days
  • Pick up foodie treats in New Brighton and get away from the crowds where nature is in charge
  1. Ashley Gorge (Rangiora)

Less than an hour from Christchurch is a Rangiora treat. Grab an ice cream in Rangiora, snacks from the local cafes and picnic at the riverside.

  • Waimakariri treasure offering gold standard picnic options with the local council ensuring the swimming hole is fit for purpose every summer, The Willows
  • Couples wanting to spend time together
  • Families getting the kids out and about with toilets and a reserve at the fingertips

Read more What’s so great about Rangiora.

Waimakariri River, NZ
Waimakariri River, NZ
  1. The Willows – swimming, picnics & recreational fishing

Waimakariri River Regional Park with great swimming holes, picnic areas and toilets. The area is a designated  parking area. Enjoy walking and cycling trails, and a 4.3-hectare dog park that includes agility equipment, open spaces, and picnic areas. Dogs must be under effective control at all times.

The Willows, Waimakariri Regional Park is located next to the Waimakariri River. Remember to check water quality before taking a dip.

Fishing is a popular activity within the Waimakariri River Regional Park. Whether it’s river run salmon or trout, surfcasting or trying your luck at whitebaiting, anglers can be seen throughout the park from the river mouth at Brooklands up as far as the Waimakariri Gorge.

Find out more about Things to do in Christchurch places to visit, attractions, activities & heritage and get started on your holiday planning now.


Travel pack information

Safe swimming everyone, check Can I swim here? Beforehand.



Best Bits travel guide is published by Owned and managed by PacificJane Ltd.


Our editors independently visit tour operators, purchase tickets, pay for accommodation, and rate products and places. We are not paid to go on a tour or visit a place. We only make money if you decide to purchase a product through our website links. We promise to never accept free products from manufacturers in return for boosting their products. Read more about our affiliate programme in the terms and conditions HERE.

Related articles


If you have a query about content, travel deals or anything else, our team is happy to answer all your questions 🙂

    Your information is secure, no third party involved.
    100% Safe, secure, privacy guaranteed. Privacy Policy.