Margaret Mahy Playground: Largest Playground in the Southern Hemisphere

The Margaret Mahy Playground, largest in the Southern Hemisphere is a must visit in Christchurch, New Zealand // Backyard Travel Family

Margaret Mahy Playground

Christchurch is home to the LARGEST playground in the Southern Hemisphere, and is named after a much loved New Zealand childrens author, Margaret Mahy.  This playground needs a post of its own, because we just love it so much!  It is innovative and has an element of risk, yet is really safe. The hardest thing will be keeping a tab on the kids as they run from place to place.  Are you keen to check out the best playground in Christchurch, ok… the best playground in New Zealand?

Margaret Mahy Playground: So many activities

It has the main playground with a huge metal slide that is so wide that you never need to wait to have a turn (Do be careful, sometimes when the weather is just right, the little ones will fly off the end) There are inground trampolines, swings, lots of things to climb, a flying fox… just see the pictures, there’s no real point explaining 🙂

Safe Water Play at the best Christchurch playground

If it’s warm, definitely bring togs (swimsuits) for the kids as there is a large splash pad and an ingenious pump and dam type system.  I loved it with my young kids because I didn’t have to worry too much about them falling over in a deep pool, giving them more room to explore on their own. (supervised but not helicopter parent)  There is also a large sandpit with plenty of room for all the kids, even when it is busy.

Best time to visit the Margaret Mahy Playground

The best time to visit the Margaret Mahy Playground is during the week, when the kids are at school or early in the morning.  Around lunchtime seems to be the quietest as the toddlers have all gone home for a nap.  School holidays and weekends are definitely the busiest.  There’s plenty of room for everyone at these times but its just easy to lose sight of them.

How to get to the Margaret Mahy Playground
The Margaret Mahy Playground address is 177 Armagh Street.  This Christchurch playground is actually quite a large space, so if you search for the corner of Armagh Street and Manchester Street.
There is some free parking onsite which is awesome, but sometimes it is busy too and you just won’t find a park.  There is often time limited but free parking on Madras Street (one way street heading south to north) but if you drive around you are likely to find some space, or a parking building nearby for a few dollars an hour.  
Other activities near Margaret Mahy Playground


Founder of Backyard Travel Family

Jen is a super organiser when it comes to travel. Having travelled extensively in Europe and Africa, has lived in London and the USA and holidayed in many parts of Asia, she is not a newbie to the travel space

Jen has three young children, 5 and under and travels around New Zealand with them.

Backyard Travel Family New Zealand. Lets share these articles and spread the love

what you need to know


Armagh Street between Manchester St and Madras St

age group

This is great for all ages. For the very young kids there are appropriate swings, little slides, mini trampolines and they could sit on your knee and do a lot more.

Duration: Easily a few hours if you have the time, good luck extracting them before an hour is up


- Toilets
- Food/Ice cream/Coffee trucks on site
- BBQs near the river/carparks - Free carparking, but there is not a lot of it. You may need to find some street parking and this may cost a few dollars an hour

What to bring

- Sunscreen (there are some shaded areas but the kids will never stay there)
- Togs and towel
- Picnic lunch or food for the bbq
- Coins/phone for parking if you can’t find free parks

Food options

- Ice cream and coffee carts usually onsite and a food truck (more common in the summer)
- BBQ onsite from BYO food
- Lots of central city restaurants/cafes within walking distance (head to New Regent Street and the Crossing shopping centre on Colombo Street)

What the critics thought

You can't see in the big tall slide... its all dark inside, then you pop out the bottom. Its fun to play in the water too... you turn these handles and it picks up the water and shoots it to the dam. Sometimes, if we've been good, Mum lets us get ice cream.
Backyard Travel Family / Your go to for practical advice for active families travelling around New Zealand
5 year old adventurer
The Splash Pad is a favourite of mine, as with young kids, they can explore, without you having to hover over them so they don't get into strife in the water. I love that there is a good element of risk here, while it all being safe. Definitely a must do in Christchurch!
Backyard Travel Family / Your go to for practical advice for active families travelling around New Zealand
Chief Travel Organiser
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