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