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Christchurch things to do for free

  • 4 minutes


Adventure, getting outdoors, public entertainment plenty of variety and its free

Discover the sheer diversity of things to do for free from enormous lego pieces in the Imagination Station of the library to a giant swing for an instagram pose. Enjoy orienteering in The Groynes or join a free guided walk of the city exploring its Antarctic heritage. Find out when the festival season is and get the feet tapping to the live entertainment. For more ideas what to do check Christchurch travel guide and Christchurch top 6 short outdoor escapes – Best Bits for the free outdoor easy walks.



Antarctic Audio Tour – Ice themed entertainment

Find out quirky historical snippets on a free guided audio walk around Christchurch. It is fascinating to hear about the deep association the city has to the Antarctic.  Christchurch is one of five gateway cities to the Antarctic. As you follow the trail enjoy the street art of Scott Base and the Penguins Mural in Cathedral Square. There are 17 geo-locations on the audio clips. Hear about the husky dogs and their trials and tribulations.


Ernest Shackleton, on his way to Antartica forgot a bottle of whisky. Find out what happened to the bottle.

The other four gateway cities are Cape Town in South Africa, Hobart in Australia, Punta Arenas in Chile and Ushuaia in Argentina. Download the free guided audio walk

@Canterbury Museum
@Canterbury Museum


Discover the 19th century street walk and dinosaurs of the museum. Conveniently located next to the Botanic Gardens FREE ENTRY is the museum in its gothic stone glory. Definitely worth a look

Visit The Christchurch Art Gallery

Rotating exhibitions are housed in a light filled architecturally stunning building. Start the experience with a instagram shot of the public sculptures outside and you are on your way to joining kids, families and couples finding something art inspired in the gallery spaces. Check their website for free art activities.

Christchurch Art Gallery, Christchurch, New Zealand
Christchurch Art Gallery


The library is flash and doesn’t fit into anyone’s preconceived ideas of what a library should be.

Recommended is the Discovery Wall, a seven metre touch screen. The library spaces are interactive with visitors encouraged to touch, feel and sit on objects.

Anyone over twelve will be envious of the Imagination Station A huge enormous Lego and Duplo station. Check out the children’s floor and wonder if you can hop into the pit and explore what to do with huge pieces of lego.

@Air Force Museum of New Zealand
@Air Force Museum of New Zealand

The highlight is the hangar with real planes and visitors are encouraged to get into the cockpit of a fighter jet. The museum has the usual heritage stories of New Zealand’s Air Force and a great reasonably priced cafe.

Christchurch is at the forefront of public art displays. The city is constantly refreshing its displays. For up to date art trails pop into the Arts Centre for a brochure of what’s new on the block. And all that art is free to walk around and view. Check out Watch This Space for glorious art images and artist’s storylines.

Read more about Museums, galleries Christchurch what to do and see

Christchurch Adventure Park

Need to burn off some energy then the Christchurch Adventure Park offers serious downhill mountain biking or ziplining. The pump track is free and you get to watch the visitors ziplining overhead. The downhill mountain bike chairlift is NOT free.


Adventure with a free orientation map to discover hidden markers in the Groynes. Download a copy Permanent Courses – Halswell. There are swimming holes, a lake for water sports, walks and for a reasonable price hire a paddleboat. Read more about The Groynes

#chchswing GIANT SWINGS

Huge orange frames firmly planted at an angle are the perfect spot for adults, instagram buffs to swing from as part of their Christchurch holiday experience. The extraordinary playground is for grownups with the highest swing getting you 3 metres in the air. Location 214 Manchester Street, Central City and part of The Giant Swing can be found on the corner of Manchester and Gloucester Street, across the road from the Margaret Mahy Playground.


Grab a joystick and with friends play a school arcade game with an enormous screen on the side of the building lighting up with the results. It is innovative and free for passers by to join in the fun. Location Tuam and High Street, city centre

@Bread & Circus – World Buskers Festival
@Bread & Circus – World Buskers Festival


Public entertainment on a grand scale and Christchurch is unmissable when a festival is on.

  • World Buskers Festival (January / February). Magic, eclectic acts, slightly strange and free public entertainment. Multiple shows throughout the festival period
  • Christchurch Lantern Festival (early in New Year). Christchurch gets into the swing of things with lanterns lit up adorning the Avon River precinct. There are shadow puppets, skilled entertainers and live music. Food vendors with Asian spices wafting the air.
  • Christchurch Walking Festival (September – October). Get out and about with local experts on guided free walks.


Pack snacks and foodie treats and get going. Christchurch has glorious places with free entrance to parks and reserves.
Read more about Christchurch top 14 places to picnic

Christchurch Farmers Market

We all have to eat and the Christchurch Farmers Market is located in the beautiful grounds of Riccarton House. The exquisite Victorian homestead is on the banks of the Avon river. With the buzzing energy of the markets. Enjoy live music, grab delicious street food from vendors and enjoy the atmosphere of a classic weekend market.  Riccarton Bush Reserve adjacent to the markets you have the making a great Saturday. Discover the last of the 600 year old kahikatea trees that used to cover the Canterbury Plains.

Check out Christchurch weekend markets for more inspiration and Christchurch top 5 walking trails

@Christchurch Farmers Market
@Christchurch Farmers Market


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