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Best Playgrounds in Christchurch 2023

So, you’re heading to the Garden City with the family, and you want to know what are the best playgrounds in Christchurch. Well, you’re in luck, because we’ve just published our top 5 playgrounds in Christchurch list. 

Here is our list of the best playgrounds in Christchurch that are definitely worth visiting. 
Best playgrounds in Christchurch - Margaret Mahy Playground

The Best Playgrounds in Christchurch

1. Margaret Mahy Family Park

Constructed in 2015 as part of the Christchurch city post-quake rebuild, Margaret Mahy Family Park is the jewel in the crown of the garden city’s many public parks and playgrounds.  

Covering a whopping 16,000 square metres, it is New Zealand’s largest playground and perhaps Christchurch’s most loved.  

Named after the famous children’s author, the park tells a story that reflects the local Canterbury landscape with its iconic braided rivers, patchwork plains, sandy coastline, and lively wetlands. There is a huge range of fun activities available and something for everyone, including an 8-metre-high climbing tower and twisty slide, separate sand and water play areas, flying fox, a large Pour’n’Play mound and super slide, and a good spread of swings, spinners, rockers, and other play pieces.  

For those less inclined to vigorous play, there are gentler options available; a stroll along the Avon River that runs adjacent to the park is a nice way to relax while the big kids burn off some energy in the playground. Picnic tables and free public BBQs are available, so bring some snags and settle in for a day of food and family fun. 

Best playgrounds in Christchurch - Scarborough Playground

2. Scarborough Park Playground

Located in the seaside suburb of Sumner, Scarborough Park Playground is a local Cantabrian favourite, and it’s not hard to see why.  

With one of Christchurch’s most popular beaches on its doorstep and a surfside café and ice-cream shop all within a stone’s throw of the playground, this playground really does have it all.  

Recently upgraded by the Christchurch City Council, the playground offers a large range of play opportunities. Equipment pieces include swings, an eagle’s lair climbing net, a dancing snake rope swing, a mouse wheel, and an iconic rocking horse which was kept from an older playground on the same site that was replaced in 2018.  

In addition to all of this, there is a popular paddling pool located between the main playground and the beach where families often spend hours paddling and playing. Is there a better way to spend an afternoon? We don’t think so.  

Best playgrounds in Christchurch - The Botanic Gardens Playground

3. The Botanic Gardens Playground

If the Margaret Mahy Family Park Playground is the jewel in Christchurch’s parks and playground’s crown, then the Botanic Garden’s Playground is something of a hidden gem.  

Located in the 153-year-old Botanic gardens, this playground has a large range of play equipment pieces for children of all ages. There are swings, slides, rockers, and fort structures, and while the equipment and surfacing are a little dated, the playground’s beautiful park setting more than makes up for it.  

Visitors to the park are rewarded with relaxing park walks through beautiful flower beds, established trees, and views of the meandering Avon River.  

To top it off, the playground is home to the city’s largest outdoor paddling pool which was opened in 1944 and has been a popular summer destination for Christchurch’s young families ever since.  

Best playgrounds in Christchurch - Victoria Park Playground

4. Victoria Park Playground

Above the hillside suburb of Cashmere, overlooking the city, Victoria Park playground is one of Christchurch’s best kept secrets.  

The playground itself might not look like much and it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the previous playgrounds, but its stunning location and great use of the hilly landscape make it a playground that’s well worth a visit.  

The playground equipment consists of two small wooden forts, a swing set, and a few assorted spinners and springy ride-on pieces. But it’s what’s outside the playground that really makes this playground special, and that’s the long metal slide that runs down the side of an adjacent rock formation.  

The Port Hills are a 12-million-year-old remnant from the Lyttelton volcano crater and the hills around this playground are volcanic formations. The rocky outcrop is an interesting play feature that can keep kids busy exploring for hours. And with picnic tables and several nearby bush and mountain walks, this playground is a fantastic spot for some family adventure. 

Best playgrounds in Christchurch - New Brighton Pier Playground

5. New Brighton Pier Playground

During the 1960s and 70s, the beachside mall at New Brighton was a bustling weekend hotspot. And it was in 1971 when a playground was built that would soon become a favourite place of play for Christchurch locals.  

The original playground from the 70s featured a pool with a large concrete whale. Soon after the playground opened, it became known as “The whale Pool” playground. Over the years, New Brighton’s popularity as a Saturday destination faded, but the iconic status of the Whale Pool remained.  

Then in 2018, the old playground got a revamp.  

Now there is a whole new playground on the same site and a new whale pool too. The playground includes a large waka, swings, climbing nets, rockers, and spinners.  

With its proximity to the New Brighton Pier, the beach, and the recently opened saltwater hot pools, this revived playground is a major piece in the overall renewal of New Brighton as a weekend destination for families. Which is why it belongs in the top 5 best playgrounds in Christchurch.  

And there you have it: The 5 best playgrounds in Christchurch to visit this year.  


If you’re looking for more exciting playgrounds near you, check out our handy playground map where you can find a number of playgrounds and outdoor spaces to enjoy.