Christchurch, coined the Garden City, is an Anglophile settlement of well-tended gardens and tree-lined streets. Its crowning jewel is the 52-acre (21-hectare) Christchurch Botanic Gardens, attractively set within Hagley Park alongside the winding Avon River. The gardens are planted with thousands of exotic and indigenous plants and trees including seasonal blooms such as magnolias, azaleas, and 250 varieties of roses.
Many visitors opt for a narrated tour of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens by caterpillar—an electric-powered, open-top shuttle that makes frequent stops. Hop on and off at your leisure and meander through the extensive grounds. Combine your tour with a 30-minute punt ride on the Avon River: Relax in a flat-bottomed boat while a punter navigates the willow-lined banks with a long pole.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Botanic Gardens are a must-see for gardeners, arborists, architecture enthusiasts, or anyone wanting a relaxing oasis away from the bustle of the city.
- This family-friendly destination features a children’s playground that’s been popular since the early 1900s.
- Smoking is not allowed, nor are dogs permitted.
- You’ll find a cafe at the Visitor Centre, a restaurant at the Tudor-style Curator’s House, crisscross trails for walking, and inviting lawns for a picnic.
How to Get There
Find the entrance to the Botanic Gardens on Rolleston Avenue, located on the western edge of central Christchurch, less than half a mile from the CBD. The destination is one of 17 hop-on hop-off stops on the Christchurch Tramway, which makes a 50-minute circuit around the Garden City.
When to Get There
Wander among more than 100 beds of roses in bloom from pre-Christmas into January. Bordering the Rose Garden you’ll find a stunning array of dahlias between January and April. Begonias can be found in the Townend House conservatory from mid-January until the end of March. However, any time of year is worth a visit.
Plentiful Photo Opportunities
The Christchurch Botanic Gardens include a water garden, rock and heather gardens, New Zealand gardens, a herb garden, a daffodil woodland, and so much more. Six conservatories protect desert plants, tropical blooms, begonias, alpine plants, and orchids. Also of note are architectural landmarks like the Peacock Fountain, Cuningham Glasshouse, Band Rotunda, and Antigua Boat Shed.