A Jam-Packed Itinerary For Families
Family days out can be hard to plan, especially when you have children of different ages to keep happy and entertained. Luckily Canterbury is a wonderland for family fun, with options for all adventure levels. Use this itinerary for inspiration when planning your day out in Christchurch. Mix and match activities to suit your schedule and preferences and remember there may be travel time between locations you need to factor in.
Start With A Splash
The day starts in the beautiful Akaroa, as the historic French village is home to endless activities and expeditions for families of all sizes. For an experience you won’t forget, Black Cat’s Swimming With Dolphins is a must. Cruise out into the majestic surroundings of Akaroa Harbour and naturally encounter wild Hector’s dolphins who call the waters home. As you make a splash into the harbour, you will be a part of the dolphin’s world, as they play and swim around you. Swimming with dolphins is a true bucket list experience, and something the whole family will reminisce on for days and weeks to come.
Black Cat also offer wonderful tours to Quail Island, which overlooks the SailGP course on Whakaraupō, Lyttelton Harbour. You can spend a full day or half-day on the tranquil island, with the Quail Island ferry taking you to and from. Pack a lunch and your swimming togs for a fun and relaxed family day. There are some beautiful walks that you can take around the island with great views and even a few shipwreck sightings.
Visit The Pohatu Penguins
If you are in Akaroa, then The Pohatu Penguins needs to be on your agenda. Get up close and personal with these cute creatures, as you watch them in their natural habitat. Pohatu is the largest Australasian Little Penguin colony on mainland New Zealand, where White-flippered Penguins have been protected for the last three decades.
The tranquil Pohatu Bay makes for a stunning walk with great spots to snap a few family photos. As you walk around the colony, you can have a look at some of the nesting sites and check in on the Little Penguins. During your visit, you can take part in the weekly monitoring program, learn interesting facts and support 30+ years of conservation effort.
Wander In The Garden
The happiest garden you may have ever seen, The Giants House is a fun little visit while in Akaroa, and the perfect spot to take pause. The historic house is a colourful oasis and the gardens home to many weird and wonderful sculptures and mosaics. The Giant's House is a playful wonderland that both children and adults will love to get lost in. Stop in at the café The Artist’s Palette for a light lunch and coffee and sit out in the garden to rest up and recharge before the afternoon's activities.
Get Ready To Paddle
After an amazing morning in Akaroa, it's time to head back into the city to finish the days fun. Your first stop is Waka on Avon, for a unique cultural experience. This 45-minute waka paddling activity is an amazing way for your family to learn more about Māori culture and try something different. The historical trip takes you down the Otakaro Avon River, as your group paddles the hand-crafted waka. While you paddle, hear some of the early stories of Canterbury’s Ngai Tahu Iwi and the earliest European settlers.
Stop For A Play
Since your waka dropped you off here anyway… you may as well let the kids have a run around and burn off their last burst of energy. The Margaret Mahy Playground is a dream for kids of all ages and abilities. The large space has many features including the slide, jungle gym, water play area, tables and chairs. There are nearby food and drink vendors if anyone needs a refuel, and toilets as well. The inner-city spot is perfect for when you need to kill some time, with easy accessibility and modern facilities.
And Now It’s Time To Chill
Before heading back to your accommodation, be sure to take some time to sit back and relax at He Puna Taimoana. After a big day full of activity, a soak in the gorgeous hot pools is just what the whole family need. Enjoy the seaside views while lapping up the five luxurious pools, or for those who want the full experience, there is a plunge pool, steam room, and sauna too. There is a family pool with slightly lower temperatures, so everyone can enjoy.