With over a third of public land in Christchurch devoted to parks and reserves, it’s easy to understand how the ‘Garden City’ got its nickname. These expansive green spaces are what makes Christchurch quite unique and also what makes it a great place to live and visit for your next holiday.
Located in the heart of Christchurch, Hagley Park has been an iconic and integral part of the city since 1855. Offering visitors 165 hectares of mature trees and flowers, recreational areas, walking and running tracks, plus two lakes, its very own golf course, tennis courts and of course the beautiful Botanic Gardens.
Parking is available off Riccarton Avenue and Armagh Street between 7am and 9pm during the summer months, and only until 6.30pm during winter. Hagley Park itself is open at all times, however it is recommended you plan your visit during daylight hours for safety and optimal viewing reasons. There are public toilets, free BBQs and picnic tables for use spread throughout the park for your convenience.
Set among the borders of Hagley Park, the Botanic Gardens showcases many of New Zealand’s native species, as well as exotic trees, flowers and plants and a large collection of roses. Keep an eye out for the annual bedding flowering gardens, the Azalea and Magnolia garden, the Heritage Rose Garden, the Water Garden and many more.
The best way to ensure you don’t miss anything is to pick up a Botanic Gardens Map from the Visitor Centre across the bridge and to the left of the main Botanic Gardens car parking with access of Rolleston Avenue. The Botanic Gardens are open every day, from 7am to 9pm during summer and as early as 6.30 pm during winter. The Visitor centre and adjoining cafe are open from 9am to 5pm daily except Christmas Day (25th December).
Twelve hectares of established native forest is what sets Riccarton Bush apart from the rest. Ancient kahikatea, totara, matai and hinau are to be found here along with simply stunning levels of birdlife thanks to the predator-proof fence that surrounds the reserve.
Be sure to visit the historic Riccarton House Gardens while you are there and be amazed by the azaleas and Rhododendrons. The historic Riccarton House is also a great place to visit although entry to the house is by guided tour only (tours depart Monday to Friday 2pm, Sunday 11am and 2pm). Guided garden and bush tours are available.
This working exotic Pine forest has a great range of tracks and trails for mountain bikers, walkers, runners and it even allows horse riding. Bottle Lake is located just on the outskirts of Christchurch along the coastline to the North. Take a wander through this peaceful park, or walk part way through the trees and then make your way out along the beach to change it up a little.
The main car park for Bottle Lake is off Waitikiri Drive, gates are open between 6am and 10pm daily. The park does have one set of toilets located in the carpark. Some areas are marked out of bounds, this is because this is a working forest park meaning there is likely to be logging, pruning and other forestry related activities going on at one any time.
To the south of Christchurch is the Halswell Quarry Park. This former quarry provides just over 60 hectares of interesting terrain including rocky outcrops, plantations and undulating grasslands and picnic areas. There is also a designated area for dog walking.
The Halswell Quarry is open from 7.30am to 7pm and until 9pm during the summer months. The car park and main entrance are accessed from Kennedys Bush Road. There are two toilet blocks located within the grounds.
For something a little different head on over to the Travis Wetland Nature Heritage Park. Here you will find a flourishing wetlands reserve. This ongoing work-in-progress is aimed at preserving the local flora and fauna as well as the habitat of many local native birds and other wildlife.
With an area of just over 56 hectares, the wetlands are a great place to wander about and enjoy an afternoon of bird spotting. Access and car parking is available off Beach Road. Bring your gumboots if it is wet as sometimes the tracks can get a little muddy!
Need transportation to make the most of the area? View our full range of affordable Christchurch rental cars and explore the best of Christchurch at your own pace.
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