What you can discover at the Christchurch Botanic Gardens

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Sprawling over 21 hectares and lying adjacent to the River Avon and Hagley Park, the botanic gardens is a ‘must see’ attraction! Renowned for its beautiful mature trees, it has been touted as one of the most beautiful gardens in New Zealand and, fittingly, is located in the centre of Christchurch – also known as the garden city.  


The botanic gardens are open everyday from 7.00am and entrance is free.


‘Showcasing flora and fauna of New Zealand and other parts of the world, Christchurch Botanic Gardens feature one of the finest collections of exotic and local plants in New Zealand. With more than 1.1 Million visitors each year the Botanic Gardens are one of the Christchurch’s most popular and well-loved attractions.’



History of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens:

The Christchurch Botanic Gardens were founded in 1863, when a law was passed stating that Hagley Park was to be reserved as an area of recreation and enjoyment for the public.  The first tree to be planted in the domain was an English oak, planted by government gardener Enoch Barker, to commemorate the marriage of the then Prince of Wales to Princess Alexandra of Denmark. The oak was duly named the Albert Edward Oak, and still stands today on First Tree Lawn.


Gardens within a Garden:

The ensuing 150 years saw this area of natural wetlands and sand dunes transformed into 21 hectares of beautiful parkland contained within the loop of the Avon River.  Featuring 10 different gardens, there really is something for everyone. The Christchurch City Council has an online walking guide offering suggested walking routes and seasonal highlights at the botanic gardens, or you can collect a map from the Visitors Centre within the gardens.  To find out what is in bloom, click here.


The Herb Garden

Located next to the Curators house is the Herb Garden where visitors can stroll through a wonderful edible garden, full of herbs and seasonal fruit and vegetables.  The Curators House was originally built for the curator of the botanic gardens, but now serves as a restaurant.  The produce from the Herb Garden is used in some of the restaurant’s dishes.


Curator’s edible garden sessions

‘Join Botanic Gardens’ curator Louise Young and sustainability expert Rhys Taylor as they offer hands on practice and inspiration for maintaining or creating your own edible garden throughout the year.  All workshops take place in the Botanic Gardens’ Curator’s Garden, next door to the the Curator’s House restaurant on Rolleston Ave.’


The Central Rose Garden and Heritage Rose Garden

Set out in a series of concentric circles, the Rose Gardens have more than 250 varieties of modern cultivar roses and plenty of pretty rambling heritage roses.  Early November is one of the best times to visit the Central Rose Garden, when everything is in full, spectacular bloom!

Click here for a quick glimpse of these beautiful gardens.


The Glass Conservatory Complex

This complex includes Cuningham House, Townend House, Garrick House and Gilpin House. Fortunately, the glasshouses were not damaged in the Christchurch earthquakes of 2010 – 2011, but were closed for three years afterwards to ensure they were structurally safe for the public.  Described as a rainforest with a glass ceiling, Cuningham Glass House hosts a collection of tropical botanical species. Townend House has a variety of flowering plant displays, Garrick House features a cacti collection and Gilpin House contains an orchid and carnivorous plant collection.


The Magnetic Observatory

In 1901, a group of buildings referred to as the Magnetic Observatory were established in the botanic gardens to assist Captain Robert Falcon Scott with his magnetic surveys in Antarctica. It operated from this site for a number of years and was often used by scientists before visiting Antarctica.  Explorers such as Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton calibrated their instruments here before heading to the Antarctica. The small wooden building beside the Climatological Station served as the workshop and is the last remaining building in the complex.

‘You won’t go anywhere to find a better Botanic garden. It has everything you require and more. Beautiful manicured lawns, spectacular colorful flower gardens, very old and beautiful trees, even down to Bonsai. A must see in season the rose gardens. A children’s playground and pool. Lovely walks, meander through the pathway alongside the beautiful Avon River. A very up-market cafe, alongside a shop overloaded with local crafts etc. On a warm sunny day or a cold clear day it is still a great adventure to go visit.’ – TripAdvisor



Upcoming Events at the Christchurch Botanic Gardens:

Enchanted Garden exhibition: a riot of larger than life flowers and fruit has taken over the former Tea Kiosk.

PechaKucha Night Christchurch: is teaming up with Christchurch City Council to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage and Conservation Week with a night of quick-fire talks by some amazing women!

Tickets on sale now!

‘We are proud to bring you a collection of local women including a marine biologist working with the world’s rarest and smallest dolphins, an adventurer who returned from a 29-day expedition across the Greenland Icecap, a young musician speaking on the power of rest and creativity, an entrepreneur starting a podcast focused on women change-makers, a writer working on a book about women and World II and more.’ Source

WHEN: Wed 19 September, 2018 at 7.30pm, Botanic Gardens Visitors Centre.


With so much to offer year-round, make sure the wonderful Christchurch Botanical Gardens is on your list of things to do in Christchurch.  Hotel 115 is just a short walk to the Rolleston Avenue entrance of the Botanical Gardens. Spend a couple of hours or take the whole day – you won’t be disappointed!


August 15, 2018 by Your friends at Hotel 115

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