Five fab toddler-friendly walks

There are plenty of great walks and ways to explore our parks with children, and its great way to spend family time together, get exercise, as well as learn about nature. 

The suggestions below are our five top walks for under-fives:

Ernle Clarke River Walk

Ernle Clark walk.

Time: 20 minutes return - buggy-friendly.

Features: Big trees, Opawaho/Heathcote River, lakes and swans.

Start at Earnlea Terrace (opposite South Library, Colombo St). Follow beside the river through Ernle Clark – watch out for Sam and Samantha, the white swans – they can be a bit territorial in Spring.

For a longer walk carry on to reach Cashmere Playground (another 30 min return).

Travis Wetland Observation Tower

Children at Travis Wetland; photo Celia Hogan.

Photo by Celia Hogan

Time: 10 min return.

Features: A cool tower, wetland, lots of birds, Kiwi Guardian (external link)site.

Start at Clarevale Reserve playground, Clarevale St. 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).

Earn your Kiwi Guardian (external link)badge here!


Sister City Gardens Halswell Quarry Park

Sister City Gardens walk.

Time: From 15 min – 1 hour  - you decide.

Features: Flowers, bridges, sculptures and art. 

Several short 15 minute walks explore the Sister City gardens or wander beside ponds. These tracks can be linked up for a longer walk (about 1 hour). Some tracks are suitable for wheelchairs and buggies.


The Coastal Path – Corsair Bay

Corsair Bay. Time: 20 min one way. Some parts challenging for buggies.

Features: Beaches and bays, pirate playground.

Starts at the white gate at 7 Park Tce, a wide, well-formed track follows the coastline well above the shore.  You can take a connecting path (5 min) 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.

Riccarton Bush

Riccarton Bush.

Time: 40 min return, buggy-friendly

Features:  massive native trees, mysterious native forest, streams, Kiwi Guardian (external link)site

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

Earn your Kiwi Guardian (external link)badge here!