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Your Winter Playground

Ultimate Winter Family Itinerary

Ōtautahi Christchurch

Winter Wonderland Experiences

Ōtautahi Christchurch is the perfect destination for families to play in during the chilly winter months. With an abundance of activities ranging from skiing and gondola rides to stargazing and hot pools, your family is guaranteed an unforgettable winter wonderland experience in the city that comes alive as the temperatures drop.

Exclusive Winter Deals

Day One

Take some time to unwind and relax at He Puna Taimoana Hot Pools while enjoying the breathtaking views of New Brighton Beach. This incredible seaside spot features five heated pools, a separate plunge pool, a sauna, and even a café to grab some delicious treats (plus kids under three get in for free).

Once you're all warm and toasty, head to the other side of town and elevate the chill at the International Antarctic Centre. Take the family on an exhilarating ride on a Hägglund, then step inside the Storm Dome to feel the icy cold chill of an Antarctic storm in -18 degrees celsius. Watch adorable rescue penguins swim, pet some huskies and enjoy 4D short films that will transport everyone to the heart of Antarctica. Exploring the icy continent hits different when in one of the five Antarctic gateway cities in the world.

Looking for the perfect foodie experience to finish off your first day? Head to Riverside Market, a bustling indoor farmers' market, boutique shopping centre, and international cuisine hub situated at the heart of Ōtautahi Christchurch. Overlooking the beautiful Ōtākaro Avon River, this lively destination is the perfect place to escape the cold, indulge in some retail therapy, and enjoy delicious food. Parents of picky eaters do not fret! With oodles of cuisine options, you can count on finding something your kid will love, even if that is just an ice cream.

Day Two

Rise and shine, pop on your warmest booties and beanies and get ready to explore Willowbank, the ultimate New Zealand-themed wildlife park. Get up close and personal with some of the cutest animals and endangered species around - you can even pet and feed some of them. From emu and capybara to alpaca and kune kune pigs, what better way to get a dose of fresh air than quality time spent with everyone’s favourite four-legged friends?

Next up, take a gondola ride filled with breathtaking views of the snow-capped Southern Alps, sprawling Canterbury Plains, and the sparkling waters of Pegasus Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The Christchurch Gondola is an iconic Ōtautahi experience and a fun way to see the city while staying warm. While you’re up there, explore nearby walking tracks, and enjoy Kiwiana goodies at the gift shop. The Red Rock Cafe also offers the perfect spot to sit back, relax, and savour the fantastic views with a delicious drink, snack, or meal on a cool day.

Head back into the city and jump on the Christchurch Tram. These beautifully restored heritage trams are one of the city’s most iconic and best-loved attractions. With an all-day hop-on, hop-off ticket, friendly and knowledgeable drivers will provide engaging live commentary throughout your journey, ensuring the whole family is entertained – and don’t forget, kids go free.

Day Three

Begin your day early and embark on an exhilarating adventure to one of the nearby ski fields. Mt Hutt is just a 90-minute scenic drive away and was recently voted as the top ski field in New Zealand. Alternatively, you can head to Porters or Mt Cheeseman (also close by) for club field options and more family friendly skiing. All of these ski fields offer gear hire as well as lessons and programmes for both children and adults. Plus, kids under five enjoy free admission at Mt Hutt and children 10 and under ski for free at Porters and Mt Cheeseman.

Once you're done carving the slopes, make your way back to the city and indulge in an incredible dining experience on The Terrace. This ultimate central hub boasts an exceptional selection of restaurants and bars, all within walking distance, making it the perfect spot to warm up on those chilly days. Whether your family has a palate for Japanese, American, or Mediterranean cuisine, you'll be spoilt for choice with the numerous global eats available.

Day Four

Located just a 1.5-hour drive away from the city, spend your next day in Akaroa, an excellent place to observe majestic marine life with your family. Embark on cruise with Akaroa Dolphins, or Black Cat Cruises and see the rare and indigenous Hector's dolphin, along with seals, penguins, and many coastal seabirds. It's always a hoot for the young ones (and the young at heart!).

After your adventures on the harbour, warm up at one of the local hospitality spots before heading to Akaroa Stargazing. Discover the wonders of the night sky with the help of telescopes, binoculars, or even just your naked eye. With the tools and knowledge provided, you can spot amazing stars, learn more about our galaxy, and witness your children's eyes light up with inspiration and amazement. Stargazing is a stellar experience with endless opportunities to learn, be amazed, and bond with loved ones.

Day Five

Squeeze in one more family activity and spend the day at Orana Wildlife Park, home to over 1000 animals representing more than 90 different species. Get up close and personal with the majestic giraffe, magnificent white rhinos, beautiful lions, tigers, and New Zealand's national icon, the Kiwi. 

Let your kids safely explore the natural world and experience new sights and sounds as they interact with some gorgeous new friends. Take your time wandering the park, stop for a picnic lunch and make lasting memories with the whole family.