Winter Activities in Christchurch

Have those Southerly blasts got you hunkered down? Well, it's time to grab your puffer, we've got some activities to get you out of the house this winter.

Photo of puffer jacket hanging up by Rick Barrett.

Words by: Ashlyn Oswalt

Photography by: Neat Places & Rick Barrett 

If winter’s feeling like a drag, check out our ultimate list of winter activities to keep you warm and embrace the season here in Christchurch. Whether you’re looking to hunker down or are ready for a lively night, this South Island city has a wide variety of activities to make winter more bearable, even when the weather outside is howling.

Man viewing paintings.

Stroll CoCA & Christchurch Art Gallery

Christchurch Central City

Conveniently located right next to each other, Christchurch’s CoCA (Centre of Contemporary Arts) and the Christchurch Art Gallery make for a perfect winter’s day activity. The former offers an ultra-modern, two-storey deep dive into the contemporary art of today, from near and far. The latter is housed in a stunning glass building, featuring a rotating ensemble of all sorts of art from all over the world. Little curiosities abound at the gallery, and the friendly staff are always around the corner to answer any burning questions that may arise.

Drone shot above He Puna Taimoana.

Soak at He Puna Taimoana

195 Marine Parade, New Brighton, Christchurch

There’s nothing better than soaking in hot pools on a cold day, and now the experience is on the city fringe at He Puna Taimoana - New Brighton’s hot pools. Located right next to the sea, these five hot pools offer stunning ocean views and a relaxing atmosphere. Luxuriate in the sauna and steam room, and be sure to look into their adults-only bookings if you’re looking for a quiet evening.

Harry Potter stairs at Turanga.

Tūranga

60 Cathedral Square, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

Tūranga, Christchurch’s central city library offers something for everyone on a cold winter’s day. The first floor features a child’s fantasy land, complete with a LEGO pit, activities, and plenty of books to go around. Above, dig deep into Christchurch or your own family’s history on the “Identity” floor, which offers a rich collection of historic documents. Further above you’ll find a vast collection of fiction and non-fiction, Māori art, 3D printers, and more. If sifting through the extensive collection has worked up a thirst, we suggest heading downstairs to Foundation Café for a warm cuppa.

View out of window at Black Estate, North Canterbury towards vines.

Road trip to Waipara Wineries (Black Estate, Greystone, Georges Road Wines)

614 Omihi Road, Waipara

Located just an hour outside of Christchurch, Waipara provides the perfect backdrop for a winter’s day wine tasting. Georges Road Wines, a small estate with big wines, is a friendly spot worth a visit. With a “make your own cheese board” option, the space sings with simplicity of the best kind. Next door, head to Terrace Edge Wines, a family-owned vineyard and olive grove with a large array of award-winners. From there, try Greystone wines, where you can try organic wines, like their vine-fermented pinot noir. They also offer a pre-set menu long lunch which includes wine tastings in a lovely, cosy setting. Finally, make your way to Black Estate for either more tasting or another long lunch and enjoy the vineyard’s biodynamic wines. If you’re feeling rather indulgent, both Black Estate and Georges Road offer accommodation on their vineyards.

Close up of a bowl of onion rings next to board game.

Get Competitive at Dice & Slice

181 High Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

If spending a winter’s day holed up inside, munching on pizza, and sipping local craft beer is your style, then we suggest elevating it with a few board games - à la Dice & Slice. This exciting space in Christchurch’s SALT district offers an extensive list of board games and a staff who know how to use them. Choose from family favourites like Monopoly and Life or cult classics like Catan and Ticket to Ride. What’s more- their pizzas are all from BASE next door and their wine, beer, and cocktail list give other popular bars a run for their money.

Riverside market by the Avon

Eat Your Way Around Riverside Market

96 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

Riverside Market, along the Avon River, provides plenty of tantalising treats sure to warm you up on a winter’s day. Featuring food stalls with places from all over the world, you’ll want to try a bit of each one, taking your taste buds on a global trip. Start by grabbing yourself a cup of coffee, and then slowly work your way around the world - dumplings! Burritos! Ramen! Tempeh! Pastries! If you’re really organised, you can even do some gift shopping along the way, as some stallholders inside sell giftable goodies, while the storefronts in the laneways provide some retail therapy.

Two men on the bouldering gym at Uprising.

Get a sweat on at Boulder Uprising

199 Ferry Road, Waltham, Christchurch

Work up a sweat bouldering at Uprising. The lofty space features bouldering problems for all levels - even kids! It has plenty of space to spread out and get stuck in. If you’d rather something more gentle, their purpose-built yoga studio offers world-class yoga in a serene setting. Finally, once you’ve finished your activities, grab yourself a beer and pizza from their café and enjoy it on the mezzanine floor, with views of the boulderers below.

Performers on stage at The Court Theatre.

Catch a live performance at The Court Theatre

Bernard Street, Addington, Christchurch

There is hardly a better time to enjoy a show than in winter, and the Court Theatre provides an incredible place to catch a live performance. As the largest theatre company in New Zealand, the Court Theatre sets the bar high for proper entertainment. From comedies, musicals, children’s theatre, mysteries, and Māori and Pasifika plays, the theatre has something for everyone. Their “Scared Scriptless” improv nights are a real treat, though, and you’ll want to make a proper date night out of them by ordering a Base pizza and pint beforehand.

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