These ten playgrounds are top places for play, where thoughtful landscaping and fun equipment have been combined to create something special.

Many of the playgrounds listed below have been recently upgraded to create places where children are physically challenged and can find excitement and adventure in safe surroundings.

Some are large complexes with multiple choices of equipment, while others are small, local gems with amazing views and wider opportunities for exploration and imaginative play. All make great destinations for a free family fun day.

Groynes playground.

The Groynes

This new playground was installed April 2016 on the western side of the reserve near the lake and boatshed.

It is made from timber to suit the natural park environment.

One of its big attractions is a rope swing made from coconut fibre rope; a first for Christchurch.  

Flying fox at Spencer Park.

Spencer Park

This large playground has long been a favourite destination for families.

Art elements featuring wetland birds are perched on top of the play structures which include a flying fox, huge climbing net and a sandpit with digger and water pump.

It also has sheltered picnic areas and a paddling pool with lots of walks and a free animal park nearby.

Slide at Victoria Park.

Victoria Park 

This playground is not new, but its location high on the Port Hills makes it a great family destination.

As well as the usual play equipment it has this speedy, old-school slide with one of the best city views on offer!

There’s covered picnic tables and family-friendly walks nearby, plus a visitor centre to explore.  

Tower at South Brighton playground.

South New Brighton Park

This new playground opened at the end of 2015 features an awesome range of equipment for a range of ages – with a central feature of a 7-metre high climbing tower.

Kids can climb the central net to a viewing area and see great views of the park, estuary and Port Hills. 

Rope swing at Brownlee Reserve.

Brownlee Reserve

A local gem, this small playground high on the hills above Sumner is tucked neatly inside natural rock walls.

More suited for younger kids, it features the usual swing sets and a new climbing net but also has a fabulous tunnel slide, reached by scrambling up the rock.

Beyond the playground are lovely slopes and a grove of huge pine trees, with amazing sea and hill views and a rope swing.  

Ouruhia playground.

Ouruhia Reserve

Accessed off Marshlands or Guthries Rd, this playground was upgraded in 2015.

It has a flying fox, basket swing, rock climbing boulder and a sociable circle of 5 swings.

A sealed bike track circles the play area, and a nearby stream has a track through plantings, including a dense grove of terakau/ cabbage trees.

Craighead Reserve.

Craigiehead Reserve

Craighead Reserve, off Northcote Road in Papanui has new equipment to suit a range of ages and abilities including climbing frames, a basket swing, and a stationary train with brightly-coloured carriages for younger children.

It’s been moved closer to the popular BMX track so parents can supervise children on both.  

Redwood Springs Playground.

Redwood Springs  

A big and modern playground in the Styx River Esplanade Reserve featuring climbing frames, slide, water pump and flying fox.

There's also a walking track along the Styx River with a viewing area over Redwood Springs themselves; fascinating to watch the water bubble up.

No toilets on site but there are some at Murchison Park nearby.

Scarborough playground.

Scarborough Reserve

Located at the Scarborough end of Sumner Beach this has been a favourite destination for families so can be quite busy!

It has a mix of the classics like swings and a rocking horse, with new equipment such as this spinning disc, it's recently upgraded paddling pool is a huge drawcard - as is the nearby beach, icecream shop and free BBQs. 

Margaret Mahy Playground

Margaret Mahy Playground

This list would not seem complete without this showcase playground in the central city.

This spectacular all-ages, all-abilities playground includes a 4-metre wide slide, water cannons and sprinklers, climbing tower with spiral slide, tunnels, swings and wonderful landscaping.

A jetty beside the river provides some quiet time, with tame eels to feed and a new bbq area coming soon.