One of the first things I look for when I visit a new city is the local gardens. Maybe there’s a big botanic garden; maybe there are decorative gardens set alongside an historic home; or maybe it’s just a small park with cool flowers. But whatever it is, if plants are involved, I want to go.
You won’t be surprised by this if you read my blog regularly. I LOVE botanic gardens because there’s just something magical about plants and flowers. They’re pretty and they’re visually-inspiring. I like colors and design. Fun fact: I once considered studying horticulture and floral design.
That little background is just my long-winded way to introduce you to the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
The Christchurch Botanic Gardens is part of Hagley Park, set next to the Canterbury Museum. The gardens were officially established in 1863 and now cover 21 hectares. The Avon River winds through it, adding an opportunity to linger along the terraces as you wander through the gardens.
You can pay for a tour of the gardens in an electric shuttle, but I recommend just walking around on your own. There is a lot of ground to cover, but wandering around is better than being shuttled around. That way you can spend more time in the areas that interest you.
If you enter by the Canterbury Museum, you’ll be welcomed by the Peacock Fountain. From there, you can walk along the Avon River or head straight back towards the Visitors Center.
Some of the collections you’ll find in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens: the New Zealand Garden, the Rose Garden, the Herb Garden, and an Asian collection.
The Central Rose Garden is one of my favorite displays. Set in front of the conservatory, it reminds me of a secret garden. It was a gray, overcast day when I went, but that made the vibrant roses pop even more.
Another really beautiful feature is New Zealand’s World Peace Bell. It is a replica of the official World Peace Bell, which is located in the United Nations headquarters in NYC. The bell is made from coins that were donated by UN member countries, and represents peace between nations.
As usual, my absolute favorite thing in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens is the conservatories. The wintergardens are inside of the Cunningham House, adjacent to the Central Rose Garden. It truly feels like a jungle has taken over an old stately home.
Location: Rolleston Ave, next to the Canterbury Museum (map)
Hours: 7 am – 8:30 pm every day
Price: FREE entry
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