Christchurch Botanical GardensChristchurch Botanic Gardens

An oasis in the heart of Christchurch!

Christchurch Botanic Gardens were founded in 1863 with the planting of an English Oak Tree commemorating the marriage between Prince Albert and Princess Alexandra of Denmark. Located in the central city of Christchurch, New Zealand, the Botanic Gardens now feature towering majestic trees, many of which are over 120 years old! The gardens feature one of the finest collections of exotic and native plants found in New Zealand. The Avon River is criss-crossed by bridges enclosing a large part of the gardens and the gardens are adjacent to Hagley Park. The Botanic Gardens survived the recent earthquake with little damage and are open to the public. We recently heard from Lynne James at the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. She said, “Thankfully, the Gardens escaped much damage. Several trees have had to be felled as subsidence made them unstable, and some structures such as the Band Rotunda, the Conservatories’ and the Peace Bell have had to be roped off for further investigation, but we are open to the public and most of the Gardens are still as beautiful as ever.”

Baby boomer garden devotees will love meandering around extensive themed plant collections and sweeping lawns, 21 hectares of horticultural displays, several conservatories, memorials, garden art and walking tracks. Self guided visits allow you to design your own route and follow your nose through the numerous plant collections based on Biogeography, Taxonomic plants, Aesthetic plants, Ecological plants, and conservation. Gardens include the Azalea and Magnolia Garden and the Central Rose Garden. Its formal design includes bush, climbing, standard, and miniature roses and is a favorite of ours. Other gardens include the Fragrant Garden, Herbaceous Border, Herb Garden, Heritage Rose Garden, New Zealand Plant Section, Primula Garden, and Rock and Erica Gardens. The Rock Garden, opened by Lord Galway in 1939, was formed using volcanic rocks from the Port Hills. Drink in lilies and irises at The Water Garden. Six different conservatories include the Cuningham House which opened in 1923 and features tropicals. This striking Victorian glass house is listed with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

We have strolled all around this splendid park, taking in cricket matches, soccor games, rollerbladers, and familes galore. The gardens are an incredible respite in this beautiful and busy city. The best day to catch the action is Saturday, after perusing the famous artisan market where the best New Zealand handcrafted gifts are found. Christchurch is moving into fall and hopefully a season of healing to emerge in their springtime refreshed and rebuilt after the devasting quake.

For full information and what you can do to help heal a city: Christchurch earthquake, 22 February 2011