Things to do  |  6 Jan 2020

A new insider’s guide to Christchurch aims to encourage more people to discover their own backyard via 100 nature play activities over summer.

Interlaced with coastal paths and hill tracks – along with multiple parks and gardens – 100 Days of Summer suggests fresh exploration options with a family friendly focus.

Initiated by members of the Nature Play Ōtautahi group – and twin sisters – Miria Goodwin and Anneke Beardsley, the guide promotes the great outdoors, listing free activities or places to visit to boost well-being.

“The benefits of being outdoors for mental and physical health, for children’s brain development, for social connection and for fostering a connection to nature are increasingly well known,” Ms Goodwin says.

“However, there are often barriers for people getting outside with their whānau, including the cost of activities, lack of affordable transport, not knowing good local places to go, or a lack of confidence and concerns about safety.

“This brochure aims to encourage people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to do more activities outside this summer and enjoy all the many beautiful places Canterbury has to offer,” she says.

The advocates for outdoor activity and mental health have worked with Child and Youth Friendly Christchurch, local businesses Woodland Escape and Little Kiwis Nature Play, and the Christchurch City Council to develop the brochure.

“We all asked people within our groups and networks to suggest activities and locations in and around Christchurch where getting out into nature is fun and easy and we turned the ideas into 100 different activities,” Ms Goodwin says.

Council Parks Programmes and Partnerships Manager Kate Russell says the guide illustrates the wealth of wonderful activities – and fun open spaces – freely accessible in wider Christchurch.

“From visiting the fragrant garden in Abberley Park to gazing at the stars during a night out, these summer suggestions are ideal for getting youngsters out and about,” Ms Russell says.

“The guide is also easy to read and carry, offering a daily pointer that suits all ages.”

Among the many suggestions are hugging a tītoki tree, looking for dolphins off Godley Head, searching for street art in the city, watching the sunrise from New Brighton Pier, booking a night at a DOC hut, or bird watching at Southshore Spit.

Designed to fit easily in a backpack, 100 Days of Summer is available from Christchurch City Libraries and Council Service Centres.