9 Jan 2023

Looking to explore the outdoors with your littlies these holidays?

A walk is an awesome way to spend family time together and get some exercise, as well as learn about nature. 

Here are our top five toddler-friendly walks from around the city. 

Ernle Clark River Walk

Time: 20 minutes return, buggy-friendly.

Features: Big trees, Ōpāwaho/Heathcote River, swans and ducks.

Start at Ernlea Terrace (opposite South Library, Colombo St) and follow beside the river through Ernle Clark Reserve. 

For a slightly longer walk you can carry on to reach Cashmere Playground (another 30 minutes return).

Sister City Gardens

Time: From 15 minutes to one hour, you decide!

Features: Flowers, bridges, sculptures and art. 

Start in Halswell Quarry Park where you can take several short 15-minute walks exploring the Sister City gardens or wander beside ponds. These tracks can also be linked up for a longer walk (about one hour).

Some tracks are suitable for wheelchairs and buggies.

Coastal Path Lyttelton

Time: 20 minutes one way. Some parts might be challenging for buggies. Don't forget to pack togs for a swim!

Features: Beaches and bays, pirate playground.

Starts from outside the white gate at 7 Park Terrace, Lyttelton.

Follow a wide, well-formed track along the coastline above the shore.  You can take a connecting path (five minutes) to drop down to explore Magazine Bay.  From here the track passes through regenerating forest and pine trees before dropping down to the shore at Corsair Bay, a popular swimming and picnic spot.

There are toilets and drinking fountains here, and a pirate-themed playground beside the car park.

Travis Wetland Observation Tower

Time: 10 min return.

Features: A cool tower, wetland, lots of birds (you might see one of the big, beautiful Royal Spoonbills which have started nesting here). It's also a Kiwi Guardian  site.

Start at Clarevale Reserve playground, Clarevale Street. Follow the path towards Travis Wetland. Turn left to reach the observation tower. For a longer walk, turn right to go to the bird hide (30 minutes return).

Riccarton Bush

Time: 40 minutes return and buggy-friendly, this is a good one to do on a hot, sunny day as the trees provide a pleasant bit of shade. 

Features:  Massive native trees, mysterious native forest, streams, Kiwi Guardian site.

Riccarton Bush is the only area of podocarp forest remaining in Christchurch and includes a magnificent stand of towering kahikatea. The track is buggy-friendly and loops through the shady forest beyond the predator-free gate.