These 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 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.

Scarborough Park

This playground re-opened in 2018 with a mouse wheel, eagle's lair climbing net, a dancing snake rope swing and large climbing tower.

Older Christchurch residents will remember the bright rocking horse which has now taken on a decorative role in this exploratory seaside haven.

New Brighton

New Brighton playground. Opened just before Christmas 2017, beside the library and pier, this new destination playground has it all; from water cannons and musical toys to swings, slides and a large waka that children can climb and play in.

The new splash pad play area is wheelchair accessible and includes a clone of New Brighton’s iconic whale.

The Groynes

This new playground was installed in 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. 

Spencer Park

Spencer Park playground; photo A Campbell. 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, a paddling pool, lots of walks and a free animal park nearby.

Victoria Park

Slide at 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 a speedy, old-school slide with one of the best city views on offer.

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

South New Brighton Park

Tower at South Brighton playground. This new playground opened at the end of 2015 features awesome equipment for a range of ages, with its central feature a seven-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. 

Ouruhia Reserve

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

It has a flying fox, basket swing, rock climbing boulder and a sociable circle of five 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

Craighead 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 was moved closer to the popular BMX track so parents can supervise children on both.  

Redwood Springs

A large, 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 the Redwood Springs; fascinating to watch the water bubble up.

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

Christchurch Botanic Gardens

Christchurch Botanic Gardens playground.

Located near the Armagh Street entrance to the gardens, this has long been a favourite destination for families so can be quite busy.

It has the classics like swings and climbing towers to suit a range of ages, plus a mobility swing for wheelchairs plus recent nature pla additions of a log pile and climbing boulder.

Margaret Mahy Playground

Margaret Mahy PlaygroundThis list would not be complete without this showcase playground in the central city.

This spectacular all-ages, all-abilities playground includes a four-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 barbecue area coming soon.