Christchurch Tram

Christchurch Tram is a heritage tram route catering to tourists that loops around some of the key attractions in Christchurch central city.

Christchurch Tram

Christchurch Tram

The heritage tramway route opened in February 1995 to cater to the tourist market. The 2011 Christchurch earthquake damaged the tram circuit and the tramway reopened in November 2013 on a limited route. A new extended route opened in February this year that includes Oxford Terrace, Cashel Street, and High Street to Cathedral Square.

The tram starts at Cathedral Junction and travels through Cathedral Square, High Street and past the Re:START Mall. The tram then rejoins the loop and passes Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Canterbury Museum, Hagley Park and Victoria Square. The tram travels through New Regent Street and back to Cathedral Junction. There are currently 17 stops.

Christchurch Tram Route Map

Christchurch Tram Route Map

Trams run approximately every 15 – 20 minutes. From September to March tram hours are 9am to 6pm and 10am to 5pm, April to August. Adults can purchase a pass for $20 that allows unlimited travel for that date. Children (under 15) travel for free.

The tram drivers provide informative onboard commentary. I had three drivers on the day I traveled and they each had their own style and perspective on the city.

Riding Christchurch Tram

Riding Christchurch Tram

Christchurch Tram is run by Welcome Aboard and they offer combo tickets and passes for that include other attractions, such as Christchurch Gondola, punting on the Avon River, tours of Christchurch Botanic Gardens. See their website for more details.

There is also the Tramway Restaurant, an evening four course dinner sightseeing tour of Christchurch. The tram departs Cathedral Junction at 7 pm. Reservations are essential. I haven’t experienced the Tramway Restaurant so if you have let me know what you thought in the comments below.

New Regent Street

New Regent Street is a boutique shopping and heritage pedestrian mall in Christchurch.

New Regent Street

New Regent Street

The street is located between Gloucester and Armagh Streets with a number of cafés, bars, retail and beauty shops.

New Regent Street opened during the Depression on April 1st 1932 as a beacon of hope for the people of Christchurch. Over a 3 year period the area that was previously a skating rink was transformed into a terraced street with Spanish Mission style architecture and a pastel colour scheme. Harry Francis Willis designed the two rows of shops that lined the street. Over the years some of the shops were amalgamated to form larger shops. Today there are 38 shops on the street.

Following the Second World War, the area became a public road. In 1986 it became a one-way street before becoming a pedestrian mall with a tram line in 1994.

New Regent Street

New Regent Street

New Regent Street

After the Christchurch Earthquakes the buildings were restored and interiors refurbished. New Regent Street reopened on the 20th April 2013, 81 years after its first opening. The street is being marketed as a boutique shopping, entertainment and heritage destination. Since its reopening many businesses have unfortunately come and gone as the heritage precinct struggles to finds its feet during the city’s rebuild.

In November 2013 the tram line reopened bringing more tourists to the area. The tram travels along Gloucester St down New Regent Street across Armagh Street to Cathedral Junction – which is also worth visiting.

Cathedral Junction

Cathedral Junction

At its opening Christchurch Mayor D.G. Sullivan described New Regent Street as “the most beautiful street in New Zealand.” While it may not quite be that, it definitely has a beauty and charm.

Hagley Park

Hagley Park is the largest public park in Christchurch.

IMG_7409

Hagley Park North

The park spans 164.637 hectares and is shaped by the Avon River and surrounding streets. The surrounding streets divide the park into three areas Little Hagley Park, Hagley Park North and Hagley Park South. The Christchurch Botanic Gardens is adjacent to North Hagley Park, with Canterbury Museum and Christ’s College also on what was park land.

The Park was formed in 1855 when the new Provisional Government set the land aside as a public park. It was named Hagley Park after the country estate of Lord Lyttelton, who was the chairman of the Canterbury Association.

Hagley Park North is used for many outdoor concerts and events, such as Christmas in the Park and the Ellerslie Flower Show. It also has rugby fields, the Hagley Golf Club, Croquet Club and Tennis Club. There is also a fitness trail that runs through Hagley Park North.

Fitness Track, Hagley Park North

Fitness Track, Hagley Park North

As well as the Avon River there is Victoria and Albert Lake within Hagley Park North. Victoria Lake was formed in 1897 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria’s reign. The 1 acre area of swamp was extended to be the 4 acre lake it is today.

Lake Victoria, Hagley Park North

Lake Victoria, Hagley Park North

Hagley Park South is largely made up of sports fields, including netball courts, rugby fields, hockey fields and the Hagley Oval cricket ground. The Addington Brook is a small stream that runs through Hagley Park South and exits into the Avon River in the Botanic Gardens.

Click here for a map of Hagley Park.

Hagley Park at sunset

Hagley Park at sunset

Christchurch Botanic Gardens

The Christchurch Botanic Gardens is a public garden located in central Christchurch, next to Hagley Park.

IMG_7315

The 21 hectare (52 acre) garden was formed in 1863 when an English oak was planted to celebrate the marriage of Prince Albert and Princess Alexandra of Denmark.

At the Rolleston Ave entrance, next to the Canterbury Museum, is the Armstrong Lawn, which is named after John Armstrong one of the early curators of the Gardens. Located here is the Peacock Fountain, which was imported from England and unveiled in 1911 after a bequest from local businessman John Peacock. The fountain went into storage in 1949 and was restored and moved to its current location in 1996.

IMG_7245

Peacock Fountain

Nearby is the Curator’s Cottage, this Tudor-style house was built in 1920. It is now a Spanish style restaurant and cafe, serving lunch, dinner and tapas 7 days a week.

The iconic Avon River runs through the Botanic Gardens. Visitors can take a guided Edwardian style punting tour on the Avon River through the gardens. The 30 minute tours depart from historic Antigua Boat sheds.

Curator's Cottage

Curator’s Cottage

Woodland Bridge crossing the Avon River

Woodland Bridge crossing the Avon River

The Central Rose Garden was built in 1909. The rectangular garden is based on the rose garden owned by the Duchess of Sutherland in Herefordshire, England.

A highlight is the Garden’s six indoor conservatories, which are open daily from 10:15 am to 4 pm.

Cuningham House, which houses the tropical plant collection opened in 1923 and is named after Charles Cunningham, who bequest funds to the Gardens.

Townsend House has the cool greenhouse flowering plants collection. The original Townsend House opened in 1914, following funds from the estate of Annie Townsend. The current Townsend House opened in 1955.

Cherub statues, Townsend House

Cherub statues, Townsend House

Garrick House, which houses over 500 species of cacti is named after Henry Garrick who donated a collection of cacti to the Gardens. Next door to Garrick House is Gilpin House, which is named after Huia Gilpin, a former director of the Council’s Parks and Recreation department. Gilpin House has the orchid collection. Both Garrick and Gilpin House opened in 1960.

The Gardens’ alpine plant collection is housed in Foweraker House. This building opened in 1967 and is named after Jean Foweraker, who donated many plants to the Gardens.

The Fern House opened in 1955 houses a large collection native New Zealand ferns.

Garrick House

Garrick House

Fern House

Fern House

A more recent feature to the Gardens is the World Peace Bell, which was installed in the Gardens in 2006. There are fewer than 25 of these around the world. The bell is made from coins and medals from over 100 countries and symbolises a nation’s commitment to world peace.

World Peace Bell

World Peace Bell

The gardens are open daily from 7 am. The gates close 9 pm November to February, 8:30 pm March, 6:30 pm April to September, and 8:30 pm October. The cafe and visitor centre is open 8:30 am to 5 pm.

There are entrances on Rolleston Avenue, Riccarton Avenue and Armagh Street. There are public carparks at Riccarton Avenue and Armagh Streets with free parking up to 180 minutes. Note: The Armagh St is currently closed for repair.