Five fabulous toddler-friendly walks.

There are plenty of great ways to explore parks with our children. Going for a walk is an awesome way to spend family time together, get exercise, as well as learn about nature. 

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

Ernle Clark River Walk

Time: 20 minutes return, buggy-friendly.

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

Start at Ernlea 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 minutes return).

Ōruapaeroa Travis Wetland Observation Tower

Time: 10 min return.

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

Start at Clarevale Reserve playground, Clarevale Street. Follow the path towards Ōruapaeroa | 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

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 be linked up for a longer walk (about one hour).

Some tracks are suitable for wheelchairs and buggies.

The Coastal Path

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

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.

Pūtaringamotu Riccarton Bush

Time: 40 minutes return, buggy-friendly.

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

Pūtaringamotu Riccarton Bush is the only area of podocarp forest remaining in Christchurch and 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!