Christchurch Visitor's Centre
The Visitors Centre should be one of your first places to go when coming to my fair city. It has heaps of help for the travellor including accommodation finding service, brochures of all the places you want to go in Christchurch plus most of the South Island, bus timetables and it has the entrance to the Aquarium. The Centre is located in the South Western corner of the Cathedral Square and can be accessed through the main doors (as you can see in the photo) or via the Wheelchair access to the left as well as access through Hereford St walkway.
Just opened on 10 May 2003
Open 10.00 till 17.00 daily
Wednesdays till 21.00
This beautiful gallery is located in the heart of the City's cultural precinct, within Worcester Boulevard, Gloucester and Montreal Streets.
The new facility features two floors of exhibition space, educational activity areas, an auditorium, a café and bistro, two retail outlets, a sculpture garden and underground parking.
Port Hills are a range of hills on Banks Peninsula that seperate Christchurch and Lyttleton. The highest point is Mt Herbert at almost a km high (which is not higher then Mt. Kosciusko). Pine plantations dot the gentle slopes and valleys of the hills.
The port hills are a nice place to go for an afternoon drive, to visit the port town of Lyttleton, view Quail Island, where once a Leper colony was situated, or go for a pleasant walk.
The Shags of the Botanic Garden
I have no idea since when the shags are nesting in the Botanic Garden. I only spotted them this summer (2007/2008) because some of them were flying low and one was sitting on a little artificial island in the pond by the information centre. So I looked a bit higher than normally – and saw all those nests high in the trees, and some baby shags begging for food and stretching their necks, and junior shags fighting.
Obviously most of them fly to the outskirts of Christchurch during the day and come back to their tree home in the evening to roost. So the best time to see them outside the breeding season is morning and evening. The best time for watching and photographing the nests is early morning, otherwise you have to look against the sun.
As it has taken me several years to spot those pied shags I post this tip under Off the Beaten Path ;-) Everyone I have spoken to after my discovery was totally surprised about the news that those shorebirds have a nesting site in the centre of the city.
I have been at this place very often as there is a nice pond beside the information centre, and I often sit there and watch and feed ducks, scaups and sparrows. Sure, late spring/early summer is the nicest time when they all have their young.
When watching the birds I was surprised to see that the shags and the ducks do not mind each other’s company. Sometimes one single shag shares a little area of the lawn with ten or twenty ducks, and there is no problem. The trouble only starts when the Paradise shellducks arrive. They terrorise the whole flock, chase them, and all the rest flee to the water after the noisy arrival of those beautiful but not really nice rivals.
The information centre is located at the carpark entrance. Access is from Armagh St/Rolleston Ave, and also from the other side of Hagley Park near the Riccarton Rd/Blenheim Rd roundabouts. Or you walk some minutes from the entrance opposite the Arts Centre. Just follow the signs. Beside the information centre is the Botanic Gardens Café.
Get combo ticket for tripple excitement!
Save on activity expenses and buy the tripple pass to see Christchurch from a romantically different perspective: punting on the Avon, riding the tram and floating to new heights on the gondola!
Individually, these activities tote up to a cost of $57 per adult, or $50 for the triple pass. Purchase from the tram driver or any of the friendly ticket sellers at the Cathedral Square stop.
The tramway is an ideal way to explore the inner city, looping from Cathedral Square along Worcester Street, Rolleston Avenue, Armagh Street and New Regent Street. The station is at Cathedral Junction in New Regent Street, but you can hop on and off at any of the stops along the route. It is very convenient to visit top attractions such as the Christchurch Cathedral, Centre for Contemporary Art, Christchurch Art Gallery, The Arts Centre, Christ's College, Canterbury Museum, Hagley Park and the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.
Punt on the Avon from one of two locations: the Antigua Boatsheds next to the Botanic Gardens at 2 Cambridge Terrace or from the city right next to the Worcester Boulevard Bridge. It is a very relaxing experience punting on clear, shallow water beneath weeping willows, peering out at ducklings taking to the water or the sedate pace of Christchurch life.
Wary of a cruise ship docking at Lyttelton Harbour, we tried to make a booking for early the next morning at the city venue, but were told they did not take bookings for the following day. Unperturbed, we went to the Antigua Boatshed location where a young gentleman had no trouble booking us in at 9am the following day - for the city location!
The Gondola is about 8km from Cathedral Square at 10 Bridle Path Road, Christchurch. The 4-berth cable car takes you on a 945m ride 500m above sea level - providing spectacular 360 degree views of Christchurch, Lyttelton Harbour and the coastline. Relax with a latte at the Summit Cafe.