Christchurch's popular beach location is only a 20 minute drive from the city centre - yet with soft sand, great surf and swim beach, rocks to climb, promenade, cafés and ice creams, you'll feel like you're really out of town!
If you're keen to have a go at surfing or just want to play on a bodyboard, head towards the Clock Tower and Scarborough Beach. On most days of summer you'll find surf or bodyboard hire, and surf lessons advertised on the promenade. They offer kids' or adults' classes, as well as private lessons.
The promenade is a great spot for strolling or bike/scooter riding, and at the far end you'll find café, toilets, kids' swimming pool and playground. This is also the end with the best surf.
Sumner Village is home to numerous friendly and laid-back cafés and restaurants, the well-known Hollywood Cinema, plus surf shops, supermarket and other local shops to browse. Sumner is flanked by the rugged Port Hills - gateway to Lyttelton Harbour and the Banks Peninsula and also home to numerous walking and mountain bike tracks.
From Sumner you can pop over Scarborough Hill to the tucked away beach called Taylor's Mistake. It's off the main drag - in fact, the road ends here, at the beach's carpark.
There are toilets, outdoor showers and picnic tables, and a secluded, sandy beach, that often gets the best surf in the area. At busy times it may be manned by surf lifesavers.
Ten minute's drive from Christchurch City brings you to a sandy beach that literally stretches, uninterrupted, for miles along the coast. It's a popular beach for dog walkers, kite surfers, blowkarters, horse riders and you'll always find a great spot for a family picnic.
If you head north along the beach, a couple of hours walk will bring you to Spencerville, from where you can carry on walking alongside the Brooklands Lagoon, eventually coming out at the Waimakariri River. Each way will take just over 2 hours.
The focal point of New Brighton, Brighton Pier stretches over 300m over the sea. It's a popular spot for fishing, and at the near end you'll find the New Brighton library - a haven of comfy cushions and sofas where you can settle in with a magazine or book, overlooking the ocean. There's also cafés and restaurants to hand, along with a large children's playground.
Kite Day welcomes hundreds of kites of all shapes and sizes, and fantastic designs, every year. The summer sky lights up with colour and the creativity of the kites is a must-see! Buskers and street entertainment, stalls and family fun make this a great family outing - look out for the event early in the year, each summer.
Surfing and Kiteboarding
New Brighton is a popular location to grab a board and learn to surf, or even take kiteboarding lessons.
Meanwhile South Brighton Surf Club is a favourite location for kite surf lessons. It's more suited to teenagers, as the kites are large and difficult to manage at first. In fact your first lesson is all about learning to fly the kite on the beach!
North Brighton and Bottle Lake
North Brighton beach and surf club take you out of the main town beach area, to a more laid-back spot, with sand dunes leading down to the beach, car parking, toilets, café and large playground with flying fox.
The Pegasus Bay walking/biking track follows alongside the beach to the entrance to Bottle Lake Forest. If you stay on the 7km stretch of sandy track you come out at Spencerville Park and the far end of Bottle Lake Forest. This is also the start of Brooklands Lagoon bird sanctuary, with wetland walks and bird viewing platforms.
Bottle Lake Forest Park
A mountain biker's paradise, especially for family or beginner bikers. There are dozens of dedicated biking, walking or horseriding tracks winding through the forest.
The far end of Bottle Lake Forest brings you out to Spencerville - a recreation area with BBQs, sheltered picnic spots, paddling pool, flying fox, children's adventure playground, mini golf and the exciting Adrenalin Forest, where you can take a walk in the treetops.