Beautiful gardens and spaces. A safe place during the earthquake. Free summer concerts on Sundays. Punt along the river. See my travel guide on New Zealand and photo albums. Don't forget to visit the glasshouse.
Hagley Park, created in 1855, is the largest open space in Christchurch. It was named after the country estate of Lord Lyttleton and is famous for its open spaces. It is the home of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens to be found on the banks of the Avon River which flows through the park.
The open spaces serve a number of purposes including netball courts, Hagley Oval cricket ground and a helicopter landing pad for the Christchurch Hospital.
Open all year there are many entrances. The two access points to the Batanic Gardens are from Riccarton Avenue, which transects the park, and from the continuation of Armagh Street from the CBD at the corner of Park Terrace. The website below is a link to a map of the park.
When you walk under the majestic trees and huge shrubs of the Botanic Garden you get an idea that they must be very old. In fact they have been founded in 1863. Wetlands and sand dunes have been transformed into a place of lush beauty, exotic and indigineous plants side by side.
There are many plant collections and conservatories which should be visited. Anyway, I have two favourite places. Number one is the Central Rose Garden which is surrounded by a high hedge, so not only the roses but also the rose lovers are sheltered from the wind. There are some benches in niches of the hedge, and there is nothing more relaxing than sitting there, reading a book or the newspaper, and the wonderful colours and scents of the roses right in front of your nose, and watching the joy of other people wandering around and putting their noses into the flowers, and starting to photograph as if they had never seen a rose before ;-)
Number two is the New Zealand Natives Garden which looks like a pocket of native bush. Cabbage trees (which are NO palms although they look similar to the yucca plam), rangiora (the huge leaves of this bush are white and velvety on the undersides), kowhai trees (yellow bell-shaped flowers in late winter and tiny leaves) and even Northland kauris are among the collection. Turn around the leaves of the ferns and you will find out that the silver fern has its name because the undersides are greyish silver... Especially in the NZ area you will see and hear the native birds, ie fantails, silvereyes and the huge NZ woodpigeon with its red beak.
As most of the Botanic Gardens are within a loop of the Avon there are many (hungry...) ducks around, as well as kayakers and punters on the water. The most photographed feature might be the Peacock Fountain at the entrance although its striking colours are not everybody's cup of tea.
For refreshments there are a café and a kiosk, and a pool for kids close to the carpark, and the Curator's Restaurant on Rolleston Ave.
Information Centre near carpark (Armagh St).
One of the most delighful gardens of this Garden City is located only 5 minutes from the city center. First developed just before the turn of the 20th century ...
Gates open daily 7AM-5:30PM winter, 7AM-9PM summer, check exact posted times on gates or website. Information centre open daily 10:15AM-4pm summer, 11AM-3PM winter. 30 hectares of exotic and indigenous plants and trees wrapped in a loop of the picturesque Avon River and linking to the 160 hectare Hagley Park, these put the Garden in the Garden City.
The Botanic Gardens are a great place to take a walk, especially along the Avon River which runs along the park. This is the best collection of exotic and native plants in New Zealand. Some of the trees are over 100 years old, and the rose garden features over 250 different types of roses. There are plenty of paths through the gardens that all lead to something different.
The Gardens are open daily. Hours are 7 AM to 1 hour before sunset. Conservatories are open 10:15 AM to 4 PM. There is a restaurant, information centre, and souvenirs available.
The Christchurch Botanic Gardens is a beautiful place to wander around during the day. It has a wealth of plants to enjoys and many tracks taking you through a great variety of landscapes. This includes Alpine, Succulents, and Tropical.
Of the more famous is the Rose garden which is set up in a big circle. A very large number of varieties which make a spectacular spot to take some photo's. In January and February most of the roses are in full bloom.
There is an okay tea rooms in the middle for when you want to stop for a bite to eat and a pool for the kids (if you have them).
The gates to the gardens close 1/2 an hour after sunset so don't get caught out.
During your time in Christchurch, I would definitely take a chance to stroll through the Botanical Gardens. The gardens are located just to the west of the city, by following Hereford or Worcester from the main church.
When Christchurch was officially settled by the English in the 1850's, there sense of gardening was well known in the world. Of course, anything you love to do in your native land would also be wanted in your new destination, so quickly after settlement, the English began plans for a grand garden here in ChCh. In 1863, the first commemorative Oak was planted to signify the wedding between Prince Albert Edward and Princess Alexandra of Denmark. The park remained privately owned until 1946, when the governing board would no longer be able to keep it up, and it was turned over to the ChCh City Council.
The Peacock Fountain next to the main entrance of the Botanic Garden has long been a kind of eyesore. Ok, ok… some people might have liked the striking turquoise pool around the fountain. I thought this shock colour made it stand out too much, and so look like something strange that should not be at the site where it was.
Obviously I was not the only one who saw it this way ;-)The fountain got an overhaul and was painted in new colours, the turquoise softened down a bit – and I think now it is an absolutely wonderful welcome feature of the Gardens with its blue, burgundy and golden details. I never miss to pass there and have a look at this lovely - though a bit kitschy - fountain which gracefully sits in front of the Arts Centre on the other side of Rolleston Avenue.
You might wonder why the Peacock Fountain is called Peacock Fountain although you do not find a single peacock in the sculpture, only herons and dolphins – which BTW look more like normal fish, and the herons like storks LOL It is named after a guy named John Peacock, a businessman and politician of the early days. In 1906 he gave 500 pounds for the beautification of Christchurch’s reserves and gardens, and after much debate this ornate cast-iron fountain was purchased and erected in 1911. It was crafted by the Coalbrookdale Foundry in Shropshire, England.
The fountain consists of three tiers. It sits on a moulded octagonal base surrounded by the already mentioned four dolphins. The lower and upper bowls are decorated with rushes and lily leaves, and in-between you find four herons. Above the upper bowl is a spire giving the fountain a height of over six metres. Fifty water jets spray beautifully into the air.
The fountain did not work well for a very long time. Finally in 1949 it had to be dismantled, so the internal damages could be assessed. But it took until 1995 until the fountain was fully restored. Only at this stage it was relocated to the place where you find it now. Ten years later it got the fresh paint which finally got my nod LOL
On 3 October 2006 a World Peace Bell was unveiled in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. It is the only one in New Zealand (as June 2007). The next one is in Cowra, Australia, since 1990. At the time of me writing this tip there were 21 World Peace Bells in 17 countries.
You find the peace bell in the Botanic Garden when entering the gardens from the Hagley Park daffodil woodlands near the band rotunda. Or, if you come from the main entrance beside Canterbury Museum, walk straight towards the Rose Garden but pass this on its left, and have a look to the left, and you will spot it, as it is a big piece of art.
The World Peace Bell is 1m high, about 60 cm wide, and weighs 365 kg. It forms the centrepiece of an Asian-style garden on a concrete block, surrounded by a kind of steel housing - a very modern-style pavillion.
The bell is a replica of the original World Peace Bell which is located in the inner court of the United Nations headquarters in New York. The World Peace Bell Association in Tokyo donates those bells to cities around the world. Four bells are in Japan.
The history of the World Peace Bell has its roots in the aftermath of World War II. The former mayor of Uwajima in Shikoku, named Chiyoji Nakagawa, presented a token of peace to the UN. It took the form of a large bell of the kind of bells that you normally see in large temples in Japan. The man asked the then 65 member countries of the UN for donations of coins to cast a bell. This should always remind the world that no nation should ever experience an atomic bomb attack as Hiroshima and Nagasaki had suffered in August 1945.
On 8 June 1954 the bell was presented to the United Nations as a symbol of everlasting world peace. The bell is planted on soil from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
In 1982 a World Peace Bell Association was formed, with the co-operation of ambassadors from 128 nations. Since then replicas are made from donated coins of (actually 103) UN member countries, and then donated to some chosen cities, Christchurch being one of them.
Jac and I took woke up early to see the Botanical Gardens in Christchurch before heading off to the western towns of the South Island. We took a nice stroll through the gardens and also rested on those park benches just...yes just.
Lovely autumn leaves made the entire place a tad bit more romantic.
The botanic gardens has a number of specialty areas in its demense. The famous rose garden is a real picture when the roses are in bloom - come late in the year to see this.
The various buildings including Cunningham House and the Fern House provide some plant specific environments (temperature and light controlled for the items) to give you the best possible displays of the plants within.
There is also a Mountain plant area as well as a small lake hidden in the middle with more marshy items around it.
Christchurch’s Botanical Gardens are situated in the eastern end of the vast Hagley Park, next to the Canterbury Museum on Rolleston Ave at the Worcester Street junction. Entrance to the park is free and the gates stay open until sunset. The tulip gardens in the eastern section of the park were my favourite sight, as I love tulips, but we can’t grow them in Auckland. Another impressive sight in spring is the thousands of daffodils between the south bank of the Avon and Riccarton Avenue. Underneath tall exotics from the northern hemisphere, the daffodils form a yellow, cream and white carpet, punctuated by swathes of bluebells – how English and how beautiful! My brief walk around the botanical gardens and the daffodils happened between workshops in the conference I was at, but luckily I got some good pictures. See the ‘Salute to Spring’ travelogue on this page for more pics.