Christchurch, Walks & Parks

  • Greenwood Park

    Entrance to this 'park' is located on the Summit Road, between the Gondola and Sumner. As you drive up towards the summit from the Sumner direction you'll pass a wooded area on your right and a gate to a field on your left. This is signed Greenwood Park. There's a not-too-steep track to walk up, that is wide and easy for buggies. Views are panoramic - from one point you can see the Southern Alps, Christchurch City, Sumner, Lyttelton Harbour and the Banks Peninsula! Great for unusual scenic photo angles! The track comes out overlooking Lyttelton township at some old World War II gun enplacements (great for sheltered picnics!). There's also mountain bike tracks through Greenwood Park, which are well-marked, crossing the walking path about half way along.

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    • Location: Summit Road, Christchurch
  • Hoon Hay Scenic Reserve

    This spot is easily missed when travelling down summit road as It's not very well sign posted ! But being only a short 5 minute walk I would definitely recommend stopping. It's one of the best views of Governors Bay/ Lyttelton Harbor I've seen (yet) Travel to this spot using the GPS coordinates below, it will take you to a grass 'carpark', follow the grass foot path up the hill, but keep an eye out as there's a small turn off that's easily missed. Take a picnic and relax, let the kids explore.

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    • Location: 2016 Summit Rd, Kennedys Bush, Christchurch 8971
  • Akaroa Head Scenic Reserve

    40 minutes return, 1.1 km. From Akaroa, take the Akaroa Lighthouse Road - 11 km of steep, narrow rough road, suitable for four wheel-drive vehicles. From the car park wander down the road, entering the reserve through a gate; take the road down past the foundations of the lighthouse keeper’s house and other buildings, to the site of the old lighthouse (now relocated at Akaroa). From here, follow the old supply road, constructed 1878–79, which ends at an iron ladder descending to a rock shelf in Little Haylocks Bay. The walk is suitable for buggies and offers views of towering cliffs. Fur seals/kekeno are seen in the bay, with local colonies of white-fronted terns/tara, black-backed gulls/karoro and white-flippered penguins/kororä.

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    • Location: Akaroa Lighthouse Road
  • The Groynes Picnic Reserve

    Parklands galore – 85 hectares of reserve, streams, lakes, playground, fishing, BBQ spots and walking trails. Off Johns Road, near the airport and 15 minutes drive from the city centre The Groynes is a perfect place to picnic, feed the ducks or go for a walk. All trails are flat and there are short walks that follow the lakes and streams. Otherwise follow signs for the Waimairi Walkway for an easy 1 – 2 hour return stroll. Fishing is allowed and is definitely kid-friendly – restricted to under 17s.

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    • Location: Christchurch - 160 Johns Road, nr airport.
  • The Rhino Walk (Children’s Bay Walkway) - Akaroa

    The start of the walk is a 10 minute boardwalk walk with beautiful views. Then venture further to access Childrens Bay Farm tramp (3hr loop if you return on the back roads), a walk... read more

    • Location: Childrens Bay Road, Akaroa
  • Cass Bay - Magazine Bay walkway

    This easy waterside stroll winds from the Cass Bay playground back to Lyttelton. The path meanders round tiny inlets, including Corsair Bay – a favourite swimming spot with changing rooms and picnic area. You come out at Magazine Bay – follow the marina from here into Lyttelton or take the road or walking path back to Cass Bay. Features: Cass Bay playground, with flying fox. Corsair Bay picnic and swimming spot, Magazine Bay: marina and museum, Lyttelton port town.

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    • Location: Christchurch - Lyttelton Harbour
  • Spencer Park

    Spencer Park is just 15 minutes drive north from the city centre, right on the beach at Spencerville. Facilities include: BBQ pits, sandy volleyball court, tennis, mini golf, adventure playground, flying fox, toddlers' pool and tons of running around space. It's just a stone's throw from a sandy beach and the popular Bottle Lake Forest Park - a perfect forest for walks and family-suited mountain bike trails. Spencer Park is also right opposite the fantastic Adrenalin Forest - a great outdoor climbing adventure for kids and adults (see our activities section for more information.) If you want to stay on-site, right next door is Spencer Beach Holiday Park. Check our accommodation section for more on this great family accommodation.

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    • Location: Heyders Road, off Lower Styx Rd, Christchurch
  • Diamond Harbour - Stoddarts Point Walkway

    If arriving by ferry turn left from the wharf and follow the pathway nearest the sea, rather then walking up the road. The track itself is very clear, but not well signposted. Follow the flat path alongside the cliff edge, through natural bush. You come out in the center of Diamond Harbour village, near Stoddart’s cottage. From here you can wander back through the township towards the wharf. Features: This walk has a stunning outlook across the harbour and there’s lots of woodland to play in. However, during the first few minutes of the walk the path takes you very close to steep drop offs. Keep children with you for the first section and take extra care if biking. (Half hour via drive/ferry or 1 hour drive from city centre)

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    • Location: Christchurch - Lyttelton Harbour region
  • Halswell Quarry Park

    A unique, 55 hectare family-orientated park on the outskirts of Christchurch. The disused quarry makes for an interesting (and fenced off) stroll, with its striking amphitheatre of steep, jagged rock walls. There’s plenty of grassy spots and picnic areas to spread out and play, plus loads of walking and bike tracks that wander through woods and orchards. Take a walk through the ‘sister-city’ gardens, with Korean statues and bridges. Toilets and water on-site. To get there from Halswell, take Kennedys Bush Road south toward the hills. A marked turnoff at the base of the foothills leads into the park. A lake on the left is surrounded by the new plantings of the Sister Cities' Gardens, and on the right, the abandoned buildings of the quarry are visible.

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    • Location: Christchurch - Halswell
  • Biking - McLeans Island

    Part of the Waimakariri River Regional Park, the McLeans Track is a well-built, smooth 10km mountain bike track that is ideal for family biking. There are plenty of twists and turns, bumps and small ups and downs, to make it great fun, without being too technical. Ideal for beginner bikers or family groups! Plenty of parking at the start of the track, and there's also a cabin open at weekends, selling bottled water, drinks, muffins and other goodies. You can even rent bikes (for both kids and adults) and helmets, at the start of the track (weekends only, or by arrangement from On Your Bike - 03 348 1738).

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    • Location: Opposite Orana Wildlife, McLeans Island Road, off Johns Road, Christchurch
  • Akaroa Heritage Park and Woodhills Track

    Akaroa Heritage Park is accessible from Long Bay Road or on foot via Woodill's Track. Since it was established in 1992, over 1000 native trees have been planted by individual tree enthusiasts.  It is an great place to park up and go for a whole or a part walk on the Woodhills Track (even a short 15min walk takes you into some really interesting bush) finishing back at the car to get out your picnic and enter the park with its absolutely stunning views of the peninsular, and sculptures. Facilities include picnic benches and toilets.

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    • Location: 280 Long Bay Rd, Akaroa 7583
  • Riccarton House and Bush

    An inner city haven – historic house with café and toilets on-site, situated on the river bank in extensive grounds. The Riccarton Bush walk is an easy 20 minute walk through protected, ancient native forest – it’s undisturbed and is an interesting window into how Christchurch would have looked to the first settlers. In fact it’s the sole remnant of the Kahikatea forest that clothed much of the coastal floodplains. The sound of birds in this pocket of forest is significant. Other than this there’s Riccarton House and Dean’s Cottage to wander through, plus lots of grass area for the kids to play.

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    • Location: Christchurch - 16 Kahu Road, Riccarton
Map of New Zealand
  • Central Otago
  • Bay of Plenty
  • Coromandel
  • Dunedin
  • Gisborne
  • Fiordland
  • Hawkes Bay
  • North Canterbury
  • Manawatu
  • Nelson & Golden Bay
  • Northland
  • Marlborough Sounds
  • Rotorua
  • Queenstown
  • Taranaki
  • South Canterbury
  • Taupo
  • Southland
  • Waikato
  • Wanaka
  • West Coast
  • Whangarei
  • Bay of Islands
  • Tauranga
  • Gisborne
  • Hamilton
  • Napier
  • Kapiti
  • Palmerston North
  • Whanganui
  • New Plymouth
  • Arrowtown
  • Te Anau
  • Akaroa
  • Ashburton
  • Hanmer
  • Kaikoura
  • Methven
  • Mt Cook
  • Oamaru
  • Tekapo
  • Timaru
  • Abel Tasman
  • Motueka
  • Nelson Lakes
  • Blenheim
  • Picton
  • Catlins
  • Gore
  • Stewart Island
  • Central Plateau
  • Invercargill
  • Cromwell
  • Greymouth
  • Hokitika
  • Westport
  • Glenorchy

Our favourite destinations…

Auckland destination2

Auckland

New Zealand’s economic heart and biggest city is also an exciting family visitor destination, situated on a sunny harbour with city beaches just minutes away from the CBD. Orientate yourself by heading down to Viaduct Harbour, wandering the waterfront, checking out the super yachts or enjoying the waterfront restaurants. Nearby is the must-visit Sky Tower along with excellent and kid-friendly museums and tons of exciting activities!

Wellington

Wellington is New Zealand’s capital. Here you will find New Zealand's parliament buildings, including the 'Executive Wing', more well-known as 'The Beehive' due to its distinctive shape. Another icon to look out for is the Wellington Tram, which was the main means of public transport between 1878 and 1964.

Christchurch

With a population of around 400,000 Christchurch, in Canterbury, is the South Island ’s largest city, yet much of it has the feel of a small town. Perhaps that’s why it’s known as the Garden City but with the expansive Hagley Park, Botanic Gardens, Port Hills, River Avon and numerous beaches the city certainly has an open, relaxed feel that’s hard to beat.

Queenstown

With its well-deserved reputation as New Zealand’s activity adventure capital you’ll never run out of activities and things to do in Queenstown, but you may run out of time! With breathtaking scenery, activities and festivals, cafes and restaurants, skiing and snowboarding, shopping and wineries, this lakeside alpine resort rates as one of the world’s top vacation destinations for all ages and seasons.

Rotorua

Rotorua sits on the shore of Lake Rotorua, one of sixteen lakes in the area formed by hundreds of thousands of years of eruptions from the Taupo Volcanic Zone. The area is renowned for its geothermal activity and top of any activity list is to see the bubbling mud pools that are around the region for yourself. The Waimangu Volcanic Valley offers a first hand insight into the devastation caused by the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera and is a great place to discover steaming volcanic craters and bubbling, spitting  pools of mud!

Nelson and Golden Bay

The Nelson and Golden Bay regions, at the top of the South Island, boast enviable sunshine hours, glorious sandy beaches, safe swimming spots, lots of wildlife to look out for, and Abel Tasman National Park - an absolute must to explore, on foot, by kayak, your own craft or watertaxi.  Nelson is home to a vibrant arts and crafts community with a fabulous Saturday market, and is close to award-winning wineries and family-friendly bike tracks to take you around the coast.

Hawkes Bay

Napier was rebuilt after the 1931 earthquake and is now known as NZ's Art Deco City.  The Art Deco influence has created a unique city – nowhere else can you see such a varied concentration of art deco style. With over 2,200 sunshine hours a year, Napier is a year-round holiday destination with countless activities to entertain the kids – there's days of entertainment on Marine Parade alone, plus numerous other family-friendly trips and activities.  Add to that the beaches, walks and flat cycle paths, outdoor cafes and entertainment, and you have a perfect holiday destination!

Northland

Beautiful, unspoiled beaches, fishing, historic gum fields, kauri forests – the Far North has it all. With subtropical temperatures, it's often known as ‘the Winterless north', with warm, humid summers and mild winters.
Gateway to the Bay of Islands, Paihia is a pretty, lively beachside town and a perfect base for your family holiday. It’s your start point for Bay of Island adventures including day cruises, sailing, kayaking, swimming with dolphins and reef or wreck diving.