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Christchurch short break getaway, staycation for family & friends

Christchurch, Holidays start here … fun happens in the backyard.

Trip Overview

Kids optional

Duration: 4 days
Start Christchurch
Finish Christchurch


Let’s get the kids outdoors, doing stuff from outdoors walking trails to adventure parks with climbing ropes, water fountains and shared pathways to cycle through regenerating bush covering the scars of a massive earthquake 2010 – 2011.

The track is a mix of shingle, sealed and closed roads unrepaired since the earthquakes, which have been used to create a trail from the city centre out to New Brighton. There are information plaques throughout the trail explaining the past.

  • Length: 11 km (this trail can be walked / cycled in sections)

The Avon River loop is part of the Best 6 short walks in Christchurch.

Beautiful color of Autumn at Avon River in Christchurch New Zealand
Avon River, Christchurch
Day 1


Margaret's playground slides and swings, Canterbury, New Zealand
Margaret's playground slides and swings


Christchurch has one of New Zealand’s premier playground where audience engagement reaches up into the early teens with plenty of interactive objects and activities to indulge the senses. Margaret Mahy playground occupies a former city block demolished due to the 2010 – 2011 earthquake. Now the space reimagined into a space where everyone has fun.


Must do activity young at heart regardless of age.  Margaret Mahy park is a must go destination.  An imaginative use of space created by demolished earthquake damaged buildings is a space welcoming all ages to participate in double slides, tunnels for toddlers or balancing acts on posts, pillars and trampolines. For more tips what to do with the kids check Christchurch holiday inspiration for families, trip guide: Best Bits.

Margaret Mahy playground water fun Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand
Margaret Mahy playground water fun Christchurch
Brighton Beach in mid summer, Christchurch, New Zealand
Brighton Beach in mid summer, Christchurch


NEW BRIGHTON with its innovative playground, paddling pool and outdoor equipment is a great place to go with kids. The nearby beach has summer lifeguards on duty. The pier is a favourite instagram spot. And for bird watching fans the nearby estuary boardwalk is a must.


To ensure a fun and safe day is spent at the beach, please be aware of the beach rules in New Zealand. Find out more about NZ water safety tips.


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.

Play at a premier adventure park. Grab a zipline and float above the forest observing mountain bikers testing their skills on the various trails. There are challenging suspension bridges, nets, swings and flying foxes.

Christchurch’s backyard is Canterbury. Canterbury is where adventure beckons. Reignite the senses and ski at a world-class alpine resort, play golf against a skyline of the Southern Alps, bungee jump off a historic bridge in the Rakaia gorge, raft Canterbury braided rivers in Hanmer Springs, mountain bike, hot-air balloon the Canterbury plains, wind surf and whale watch in Akaroa all within a short drive of the city.



Let’s get out of the rain, indoors stuff to do in Christchurch

@International Antarctic Centre
@International Antarctic Centre


International Antarctic Centre: Best Tourist Attraction in Christchurch, New Zealand

The Centre actively encourages child participation with interactive exhibits and displays.   The centre includes; a hagglund ride with perhaps the opportunity to meet the doggie stars, the husky, ice voyage 4D Show, a snow and ice experience, penguin encounter and an informative, hands on display. Chill down in an arctic storm and get to understand life on Scott Base. The role of ice scientists as ambassadors for the climate change debate is illustrated with interactive exhibitions and materials. There are adorable Little Blue penguins telling their stories of survival.


The Centre is practically at the airport and makes for a great final stop before you depart on your next flight.   Or it is a perfect way to fill in a few hours between flight connections. The Antarctic Centre is a must go attraction

Admission fee applies

Rutherford’s Den

Rutherford’s Den, Follow in the footsteps of one of New Zealand’s great scientist’s  Ernest, Lord Rutherford.  Rutherford’s Den is more than a museum. It’s a whole world of science, history, discovery and wonder brought to life through exciting multi-sensory displays and hands-on experiences set in a stunning heritage building.  For everyone interested in how things work this is a great place to visit.

Housed in the Clock Tower, the den is home to the actual rooms where Rutherford, the father of nuclear physics, studied while a student at Canterbury College (now the University of Canterbury), including a restored Victorian lecture theatre.

@Rutherford's Den
@Rutherford's Den


Out of town by the airport, the International Antarctic Centre blends high-tech attractions with real world experiences to create one of the top Christchurch attractions. The Centre actively encourages child participation with a chance to experience the actual below freezing temperatures of the frozen continent. Here you can ride in Hagglund Antarctic vehicles, meet the resident rescue penguins, experience an ice voyage in 4D, step onto the ice for an arctic storm and browse displays to learn about the history of Antarctic exploration and Christchurch’s ongoing role as one of a few global gateway cities to Antarctica.

Christchurch Library

Christchurch vintage tram, Canterbury, New Zealand
Christchurch vintage tram, Canterbury


Start with a hot favourite, the vintage Tram – Interactive Tour of Christchurch. The tram is a must do activity. The 2.5km route encompasses  city highlights.  With seventeen stops there is access to most main attractions.  The train stops adjacent to the Visitor Information Centre, recently relocated to the refurbished historic Arts Centre precinct. The ‘i’ Site can provide guides to street art installations, pop up exhibitions as well as commercial galleries. Consider purchasing a combined ticket for a caterpillar garden tour and/or the Port Hills gondola as well as the tram ride.   Tickets can be directly purchased from the tram conductor or the Visitor Information Centre.

TIP: Definitely a transport option for families.


Let’s have some fun, teenager’s stuff to do in Christchurch


Christchurch is a hot destination for adrenaline seekers wishing to scream, be scared out of their wits and challenge the senses in an escape room. Three operators invite visitors to experience an adrenaline induced experience.   Find your way out in 1 hour with a quirky story line offering clues with Escape Artists NZ. Code Breakers in the CBD have six rooms designed as puzzles to get your sleathing cap firmly on. Code Breakers The Lost Hut in Antarctica is a firm favourite.  Ferrymead Heritage Park has a delightful way to dine and solve a mystery simultaneously. Get dressed up and The 1970’s and the  mysterious murder of Farley’s International Cirus’ fearless lion tamer.

Read more Christchurch adrenaline, adventure where to go.

Adrenalin Forest @adrenalinforestNZ


Challenge your physical abilities. Based on army training courses is an epic obstacle track nestled among mature trees delivering delight to adrenaline seekers. The course has tree climbing, suspension bridge crossings, rope swinging and flying foxes high in the forest canopy. Adrenalin Forest is suitable for children over 1.4 metres in height. Get the tape measure out and the family booked.


BUDGET ACCOMMODATION doesn’t get better than this atmospheric hostel. The prison is now Jailhouse Accommodation. The gothic revival architecture (1864) is evotive of another era. Stay the night in a cell (including the original solitary confinement room). There are lots of slightly shabby iron bars and gates adding to the sense of lockup.


The chemistry for socialising is the slogan for Bunsen. The cafe is fun, odd and definitely an amazing place to grab the holiday vibe. Skeletons adore the walls with antique medical equipment looking more like torture chamber screws. Bunsen is located in a former clock tower (gothic revival style) and was a chemistry den in the 19th century. Fascinating and the menu is great as well.

Bunsen cafe @BunsenLtd
Bunsen cafe @BunsenLtd

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