Exploring Christchurch Botanic Gardens

Arts & Culture Family Fun
Situated in the heart of the city, the Botanic Gardens were established in 1863 and home to one of New Zealand’s finest collections of exotic and native plants.  

The Botanic Gardens are made up of 21 hectares of gardens, walking paths, water features, a rose garden, and a stunning variety of plants and flowers.  Running through the garden is the beautiful Avon River which creates an idyllic spot to take a walk or enjoy a picnic. 

The most enjoyable way to see the gardens is with a punting tour where cotton-shirted, straw-hat-wearing punters glide passengers through the regal gardens of the riverbanks.  Punting excursions in Christchurch depart from both the Antigua Boat Sheds on Cambridge Terrace and Worcester Bridge in the city every day of the year.  One route around the Avon takes around half an hour, and boats are suited for groups of up to 10.

The Botanic Gardens Include:
 
  • The Armstrong Lawn has displayed formal spring and summer bedding displays since the late 19th century.
  • Azalea and Magnolia Garden, a large and impressive collection of Magnolias which flower from August to October.
  • Multiple Conservatories filled with fantastic collections of plants including the most extensive publicly owned collection of cacti and succulents in New Zealand.
  • Central Rose Garden with its formal design, located close to the conservatories in a sunny, sheltered site away from large trees.
  • Herbaceous Border which is believed to be the longest herbaceous border in a public garden in the Southern Hemisphere.  Created in the 1920’s, this border features a rich tapestry of colour, texture and scent.
  • The New Zealand Gardens which have been developed over several decades since the 1900s, into a collection of hundreds of New Zealand species including the iconic silver fern.
  • The Water Garden with a backdrop of mature trees and shrubs.
  • The Temperate Asian Collection, a long border running between the Archery Lawn and the Avon River.
 
The gardens also feature The Heritage Rose Garden and The Daffodil Woodland that covers over two hectares on the south-west side of the Avon River in Hagley Park.

The Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre features a function room, the ilex café and a permanent exhibition that tells the story of Christchurch and Canterbury through plants and gardening.  The café is open from 9.00am to 5.00pm.  The gift shop sells an array of botanical, garden and nature-inspired giftware and souvenirs.  For more info visit the Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre.

Need To Know:
 
  • The Botanic Gardens are open from 7.00am until 8.30pm (6.30pm April to September) 
  • Admission:  Free Entry.
  • Parking:  There are two large public car parks at the Riccarton Avenue entrance and the Armagh Street entrance.  Both allow parking for up to 180 minutes free of charge
  • Wheelchair Access:  There are several mobility scooters for use within the Gardens and Hagley Park during Visitor Centre opening hours at no charge. Bookings can be made prior to your visit through the Visitor Centre or call (03) 941 7590.
  • Dogs are not allowed within the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.
  • The children's playground and paddling pool (summer only) are near the Armagh Street footbridge off the carpark. Include a game into your visit with the free treasure hunt.
  • Toilets:  There are toilets at the front of the Gardens towards the back of the Museum building and in the Visitor Centre. There are also toilets and changing rooms next to the children's playground.
 
Fore more information on all the best gardens to visit in New Zealand, visit Gardens To Visit.