Looking for ways to keep your tamariki busy over the school holidays? There's plenty of low-cost activities to enjoy in the Garden City this summer.
World Buskers Festival
The World Buskers Festival is heading to Christchurch from 19 – 28 January 2024. The city will become the ultimate playground of fun for the young, the old and the young at heart. The programme is packed with ticketed and non-ticketed events, including a comedy club, a silent disco walking tour, happy yoga or a juggling drummer show. Prices range from free - $100.
Fill your summer weekends with markets across Christchurch and Banks Peninsula. Head over to the Lyttelton Craft and Treasure Market each Saturday next to the Lyttelton Farmer’s Market. Check out the Linwood Village Market on the first Saturday of each month (6 Jan and 3 Feb), or the Vegan Night Mākete on the last Saturdays (27 Jan and 24 Feb). The Shabby Chic Market in Woolston and the Arts Centre Market in Central City will be on each Sunday, and the Spencer Park market and gala will be underway on the 1st and 2nd day of the year.
Enjoy the arts outdoors and soak in the summer vibe with the free Open Air series at The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora. Head along to the Outdoor Cinema on first two weekends of January for a range of films including some earlier in the evening that are child friendly; Take a story walk with Christchruch City Libraries on 17 January, starting at Rutherford’s Den. Enjoy an operatic telling of the story of Goldilocks by John Davies in the North Quad on 28 January; Listen to the amazing sounds from the Middle East, Africa, Iran and Asia in the North Quad on 11 February.
Head down to Tūranga before 4 February to check out the creative takeover, Sanctuary. The exhibition will showcase work by over 30 diverse rangatahi, featuring upcycled furniture, custom-made rugs, digital artworks and an exhibition catalogue. Sanctuary will change monthly and extend beyond the gallery walls – look out for tiny doors, hidden bookmarks and more secret artwork around Christchurch’s central library.
Anthony Harper Summer Theatre presents The Odyssey
Anthony Harper Summer Theatre is back this January for another season of rip-roaring entertainment at Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Enjoy a comedy show based on the epic poem Odyssey by the ancient Greek poet Homer, taking place at the Gardens from 11 – 28 January. The Theatre is free to attend, koha welcomed. The shows are for all ages but are best enjoyed by those 12 years and older.
Summer Sundays, Christchurch’s outdoor summer music series supported by The Hits, is returning this summer with four free concerts to entertain the crowds. First up on 28 January is Around the World with Mundi and Hera. Second in line on 4 February is Got the Blues with Penny Blues Band and Mudfish. Third up on 11 February is Emerging Indie with Spirit Boy, Con Carne and Mim Jensen. And to finish the series on Sunday 18 February is Jazz on the Lawn featuring The Curio Club and Chicks from Corea. Each session will be from 2 – 4pm at the Archery Lawn. Picnic food, drinks and chairs are welcome.
New Years Eve celebrations
Bring in 2024 with your tamariki (children) at Ōtautahi Christchurch's biggest afternoon family NYE party with iconic kiwi children's entertainer, Suzy Cato. NYE Kids Countdown will be on from 4 – 7pm on New Year’s Eve at North Hagley Park. Keen to party on? Stay a little later for Rock The Park with some of New Zealand’s finest rock acts including Elemeno P and Dolphin Friendly, on at the same venue from 8pm – 12am. Both events are free admission.
Mitre 10 Sparks 2024
Get your friends and whānau together to celebrate the 41st year of Mitre10 Sparks, with a dazzling fireworks extravaganza, featuring the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. Party with kiwi vocal legend, Annie Crummer, who will be taking the stage alongside local Christchurch singers Roslen Ulaula and Harry Burt. This free, all ages event will be kicking off at 6:30pm 3 February at North Hagley Park.
Come fly a kite at New Brighton Beach on 13 January at Kite Day 2024. Head down to New Brighton Pier from 11am – 3pm with your kite for a day of fun in the sun. There will be sandcastles, games and a heap of activities to keep you entertained. Please note dogs are not permitted in kite-flying areas.
Elmer's Ōtautahi Elephant Trail
Follow the fun, free and family friendly sculpture trail, Elmer's Ōtautahi Elephant Trail, which will appear in locations across Christchurch until 18 February. Sixty sculptures will be spotted around the city, all uniquely decorated by artists and school children. Download the app or head to the Elmer website to find the map and start hunting!
Pack your togs, towel and sunscreen and splash into an epic summer with Christchurch’s pool parties. Head to Waltham Summer Pool on 30 December for Summer Splash and enjoy the pirate ship inflatable, obstacle slide and king slide. Make your way to Norman Kirk Memorial Summer Pool on 6 January for Summer Chill Out and take part in a scavenger hunt an obstacle course. Bring your Disney loving tamariki to Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre on 13 January for the Dive In Movie with Disney and jungle-themed bouncy castles and Disney’s Elemental on the big screen. Sports enthusiasts and aspiring athletes, come along to Jellie Park Recreation and Sport Centre on 21 January for the Summer Sports Day with mega basketball hoops, ball rush and inflatable wipeout. General pool admission fees apply.