Parks & Reserves
In Christchurch city and its big backyard of Canterbury, you’ll find an abundance of gardens, parks, forests and native wetlands. Blow off some steam with a bit of exercise or simply kick back and relax, taking in nature’s beauty.
Sprawling Hagley Park sits at the heart of Christchurch. The park offers green spaces, dotted with century-old trees and stunning floral shows in springtime. Walk, run or cycle its pathways, or hop on an e-scooter and zoom under the blossoms.
Starting at surf-spot Taylor’s Mistake, this stunning track offers epic views of Pegasus Bay and the Kaikoura ranges. With World War II gun emplacements, rugged coastal cliffs, and the potential for dolphin or even whale-spotting, this is one that really can’t be missed.
Riccarton Bush and Ilam Homestead Gardens
For a great first-hand experience of New Zealand native plants, a quick drive from the city will lead you to Riccarton Bush. An ancient native forest reserve lays hidden with manicured gardens and historic buildings alongside the Avon River. Tucked away nearby is one of the city’s best kept secrets. Visit Ilam Homestead Gardens in spring or summer, and you’ll be dazzled with scores of azaleas and rhododendrons in a secluded natural haven.
The Groynes, Styx Mill Reserve and Travis Wetland
North-east Christchurch is home to an abundance of flourishing reserve land to explore. Head north for the popular retreat of The Groynes, where you’ll discover a wealth of picnic spots, walking trails amid wildlife and lush greenery. Nature lovers will be in heaven at Styx Mill Conservation Reserve – home to an array of vegetation and birdlife to spot on its many walking tracks. For bird lovers, Travis Wetland hosts 55 species, living within a huge wetland park.
A gem of the Port Hills is Victoria Park – a vast parkland boasting panoramic views over the city, the Southern Alps and the coast. With an epic picnic spot, several bush walks and a dog park for your furry friends, what’s not to love?
Bottle Lake Forest
For trees as far as the eye can see, visit Bottle Lake Forest Park, just on the outskirts of Christchurch. Wander through the vast exotic pine forest under the cooling tree canopies, or weave through the extensive tracks on a mountain bike!
Halswell Quarry Park
Heading south of Christchurch leads to Halswell Quarry Park, a former quarry offering a fascinating mix of attractions. Once a rowdy, rocky area is now a quiet amphitheatre surrounded by grasslands, beautiful gardens and you guessed it - more wetlands! Along with six sister city gardens and a Canterbury botanical collection.
Walks, picnics, barbeques and camping. This is what to expect when you visit Waimate’s Knottingley Park, located on the Waihao Back Road.
Waimate’s Victoria Park is set in 6.9 hectares of trees, shrubs and flower beds. Get the heart racing when you use the athletic track and cycling oval, while the kids enjoy the animal enclosure, children’s playground and camping facilities.
Pack a picnic of local treats and enjoy hectare upon hectare of lawn, mature trees, plants and flowers at the Ashburton Domain.