Willowbank Reserve
Nature and Outdoors

Experience the best of Aotearoa / New Zealand’s wildlife with an outing to the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, just 20 minutes from Christchurch’s city centre. Here, children and adults can admire the native kiwi in a nocturnal house, book an animal encounter or guided tour, and watch animals like otters, eels and kea at feeding time. The reserve is divided into themed sections, with monkeys, turtles and capybaras in the Wild New Zealand area, peacocks, sheep and llamas in the Heritage New Zealand area, and kākāriki, ruru and tuatara in the Natural New Zealand area. Families can easily spend the whole day here, with the Willowbank Cafe offering lunch meals, kids’ meals and drinks to keep you fueled throughout the day. Swap wildlife for beautiful blooms and stunning scenery at Te Māra Huaota o Waipapa /  Christchurch Botanic Gardens - just a five-minute drive from the city centre in your Dollar rental car. A day out at the gardens offers an educational, fun, and relaxing family-friendly activity for all ages. With flowering gardens to wanderopen spaces to roam and conservatories to browse, embark on an adventure amongst greenery, and unwind here with a family picnic. 

Christchurch Antarctic Centre
Adventure Activities

The Adrenalin Forest obstacle course is the perfect place to take your family on an adventurous experience in the great outdoors. With high ropes and flying foxes starting from 20 metres high, the scenic course suits all skill levels and has been designed for all ages. Adults and kids can climb, jump, and swing their way through the treetops while learning new skills and stepping out of their comfort zones. Embark on an icy adventure with an outing to the International Antarctic Centre, located just outside of Christchurch Airport. Here you’ll get the chance to explore the Arctic in a one-of-a-kind experience, unique to Christchurch. Feel the chill of minus 8º Celsius in the Storm Dome, learn about the flora, fauna and landscapes of The South Pole in the Antarctic Gallery, and watch kororā / little blue penguins waddle around the indoor and outdoor viewing area. There’s also a cafe here to keep you warm while you wander the Arctic, and pop by the gift store on your way out to pick up some snow-covered memorabilia. If you’d like to visit the Storm Room, it’s recommended to wear closed-toed shoes to safely enjoy your experience.

Christchurch Tram
Cultural and Educational

Looking for a fun way to discover Christchurch? Head out on your own guided tour of the city with a trip on the Christchurch Tram. A trip on the tram takes 50 minutes and begins at Cathedral Junction. The route passes through Cathedral Square, over the Worcester Street Bridge and past the Botanical Garden to return to the starting point. As the tram stops at each station along the way, you can choose when you’d like to get off and explore, with key highlights on the route being Tūranga - the largest public library on the South Island, the all-abilities Margaret Mahy Playground and the Botanic Gardens. For a look into the city’s geological history, discover stories from the 2010 - 2011 Canterbury Earthquakes at Quake City. With an interactive seismograph, a liquefaction simulator and documentary films on display, this hands-on experience is educational for kids and adults alike. Children can rebuild their own version of the city with LEGO, while adults listen to stories of the earthquake survivors. Visit here to learn more about the earthquakes and discover how the community helped rebuild Christchurch into the city it is today.

Avon River
Relaxation and Leisure

For a relaxing way to journey around the city, sit back and enjoy a tour of the Avon River on a punt boat. Choose to depart from either the Antigua Boat Sheds or Worcester Bridge for two unique experiences. The Antigua Boat Sheds route takes you through the picturesque Botanic Gardens for a peaceful journey, while the Worcester Bridge voyage passes by some of Christchurch’s iconic attractions including Te Pae Christchurch Convention CentreVictoria Square and the Christchurch Town Hall. Please note, the Worcester Bridge site is not open every day, call ahead to check whether tours are operating. Take your view of the city to the skies on the Christchurch Gondola. A fun, family-friendly activity to admire Christchurch, the Southern Alps, and the Harbour from 445 metres above sea level. Plus, there are walking tracks, a cafe, and a gift shop at the Summit Station for the ultimate Christchurch experience.  

Whether you and the family discover Christchurch through botanical walks, tram rides or museum history, there’s plenty to do here when visiting the South Island on the school holidays. 

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