There is no better place to be in Christchurch than in the beautiful Botanic Gardens on a sunny day! Check out our must-see tips for the gardens over summer:
Deep South Lazy Sundays – we love relaxing on the Archery Lawn listening to great musicians on Sunday afternoons in summer! Pop along with some snacks and a blanket for free live music between 3pm and 4:30pm on Sundays from 20 January to 17 February 2019.
Seasonal blooms: summer in the Botanic Gardens means the roses are out in bloom and are smelling fantastic! Don’t miss the amazing show of dahlias surrounding the Central Rose Garden (around 90% of the varieties here come from New Zealand breeders) or the beautiful display of begonias in the Townend House conservatory.
Theatre and buskers: the buskers are back for another busy summer! Check the Bread and Circus: World Buskers Festival 2019 schedule to see who is performing by the Peacock Fountain between 10 January and 3 February 2019. Plus Anthony Harper Summer Theatre is back for another year, this time with Rollicking Entertainment performing King Arthur between 27 February and 17 March 2019 on the Murray Aynsley Lawn.
Picnic time – summer is the perfect time for a picnic in the Botanic Gardens! Pack a basket and find a nice shady spot to while away an hour or two. Why not hop on a Botanic Gardens Tour, punt tour or tram ride to make a day of it?
Are you visiting Christchurch Attractions this summer? Check out our top tips to make your visit as easy as possible:
Christchurch Tram – did you know Tram tickets are valid for one calendar day? Purchase yours early in the day to make the most of this and hop on and off the trams to explore all the central city sights. Don’t miss the Canterbury Museum and Botanic Gardens, the boutique stores at the historic Arts Centre (including the Fudge Cottage!), New Regent Street, Avon River or the Cashel and High Streets shopping precinct. Each tram driver gives a unique live commentary, so try hopping on board with different drivers to hear something new!
Punting on the Avon – our top tip for Punting is to book a time in advance! Punting are very busy in summer and can book up quite quickly, so if you arrive in the afternoon without a booking time there is a chance you may not be able to join a punt tour. It’s also best to slather on plenty of sunscreen and maybe don a hat before sitting back and relaxing on the Avon River.
Christchurch Gondola – the views are spectacular but don’t forget about the café and gift store at the top! The café is a great spot for a coffee, snack or lunch with a great view, and the gift store stocks great souvenirs, clothing, jewellery and homewares at very reasonable prices. If you’re a Tram & Gondola Annual Pass holder make sure you present your card to the gift shop staff for a 10% discount. There are also some great walking tracks accessible from the top station so bring your walking shoes – plus you can always purchase a one-way Gondola ticket from our staff and walk either up or down instead.
Christchurch Pass – the Christchurch Pass ticket combines the Tram, Gondola, Punting and Botanic Gardens Tour at a great price. You can visit the attractions on different days if you don’t have time to visit all four on the same day, plus you get a free return Gondola Shuttle ticket too!
Getting around – Punting on the Avon, the Botanic Gardens Tour and the Christchurch Tram are all located very close together near the Canterbury Museum: tram stop 12 is right across the street, the Botanic Gardens Tour departs from the Peacock Fountain next door and Punting is a 3-4 minute walk away at the Antigua Boatsheds. The Christchurch Gondola is a 20-minute drive away from the city centre so is a bit further away, but you can either drive, catch our Gondola Shuttle bus from outside the Museum or catch public bus #28 to get there.
Parking in Christchurch – The Christchurch Gondola has a large free car park for customers to use, so there is plenty of parking space for those driving to the base station. The West End parking building between Hereford and Cashel Streets is only a few blocks from Punting and the Lichfield, Crossing and Hereford Street parking buildings are all close to stops on the Tram route. There is also 3 hours free parking in the Botanic Gardens off Armagh Street but this tends to fill up quickly so it’s best to try to get there early.
We look forward to seeing you at Christchurch Attractions this summer!
With the South Island Wine and Food Festival about to kick off in Christchurch we thought it was the perfect time to showcase some fab New Zealand wines from our Tramway Restaurant beverage list!
Chard Farm – from a lovely spot overlooking the Kawarau River in Gibbston, Central Otago, we offer chard Farm’s Maria Rosé and River Run Pinot Noir on board. Both are beautiful wines with berry and floral tones, and the Maria Rosé looks great in a smart bottle showing off its vibrant colour.
Ant Moore – we’re big fans of Malborough-based Ant Moore’s Chardonnay that we sell on board. The 2013 vintage is deliciously nutty, oaky and buttery, and we’re excited to try the new 2016 vintage we will have on board soon. Plus the bottles are the prettiest ones we’ve seen with beautiful floral labels!
Pegasus Bay – a Waipara icon, Pegasus Bay make fantastic wines including their scrummy Riesling. Off-dry with citrus tones, the Pegasus Bay Riesling is a fixture on our wine match list as it pairs very well with many of our dishes.
Torlesse – offering a range of different wines, Torlesse is just up the road in Waipara. The 10 year old Tawny is a great Kiwi substitute for Portuguese port. The Tawny has been paired with our cheese platter for a couple of years now and is a great way to end your meal on board. Plus the boxes are hand delivered to our office by the Torlesse team which is great service!
We’re just as proud of the other wineries featured on the Tramway Restaurant: Greystone and Muddy Water from Waipara, Akarua and Carrick from Central Otago, Te Mata Estate and Babich‘s Syrah from Hawke’s Bay, and Dog Point, Vavasour, Allan Scott, Forrest and Peter Yealands (our welcome bubbles) from Marlborough. You’ll be spoilt for choice for a delicious drop when you dine on board!
The immaculately-restored heritage tramcars that run through the streets of central Christchurch have become icons of the city over the past 20 years, but did you ever wonder where they come from? There are seven tramcars in total dating from 1903 to 1934 which have operated in various places:
Tram 11 – our small red and brown ‘Box Car’ tram is the oldest in the fleet and was built by J.G Brill in USA. The tram operated on the streets of Dunedin and is one of 14 that was built for the city.
Tram 15 – our small brown ‘Birney’ tram joined our fleet after the earthquakes and was the last tram to run in Invercargill. This was built by J. G. Brill in the USA in 1921 and is one of 6000 that was built worldwide.
Tram 152 – our green and cream ‘Boon’ tram is painted in the old Christchurch Tramway Board livery and was built in Christchurch by Boon & Co in 1910 to operate on the city streets.
Tram 178 – the workhorse of the fleet, our red and cream ‘Brill’ tram was also built in Christchurch by Boon & Co back in 1922. One of 25 trams that were built, these trams are common sights in old photographs of central Christchurch.
Tram 244 – the maroon and cream ‘W2 class’ tram from Melbourne is the biggest tram in the fleet (and is the only one with heaters on board, making it very popular in winter!) The tram was built in Melbourne in 1925, and was originally painted brown when it operated in Christchurch prior to the earthquakes before it received a paint job prior to returning to the city.
Tram 411 – our navy blue ‘W2 class’ tram has been converted to a restaurant and operates nightly as the Christchurch Tramway Restaurant. The tram was built in Melbourne in 1927 and is the same type of tram as Tram 244, of which there were 406 built.
Tram 1888 – the newest (and youngest) tram in the fleet, the bright blue ‘R class’ tram was originally named Tram 1808 and was built in Sydney in 1934. The tram recently operated in Auckland before moving to Christchurch to begin operating in late 2017.
Most of the trams are owned by the Heritage Tramways Trust and have been restored by the HTT team at Ferrymead in Christchurch – some have been rescued and restored after being used as sheds and holiday homes, and it’s amazing to see the transformations!
Check out an information sheet about our trams via the following link: https://www.christchurchattractions.nz/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/City-Tram-Fleet.pdf.
Bungy jumping is a must-do activity in New Zealand: whether you’re an NZ local or a visitor it’s well worth getting your adrenaline high in the country where commercial bungy jumping began! Our 35-metre jump off the historic Waiau Ferry Bridge at Hanmer Springs Attractions is a great way to ease you into bungying – here’s our how-to guide.
Safety first – bungy jumping involves either an ankle harness (tied around your ankles only) or a full body harness (tied around your torso). At Hanmer Springs Attractions we offer full body harnesses for extra safety, and we are approved by Qualmark and OutdoorsMark who assess our health and safety procedures regularly
Don’t look down – our top tip if you’re feeling a bit nervous is to not look down when you’re on the platform! Keep your chin up and look straight out instead to take in the amazing scenery
Just jump – it’s easy to descend into a bundle of nerves if you hesitate to jump when the staff are counting you down, and the more you wait the tougher it will be to take the leap. Try to take a deep breath and focus on jumping straight away at the end of your countdown
Keep your eyes open – it’s a natural reflex to squeeze your eyes shut once you’ve jumped, but try to remember to open them up so you don’t miss the view on the way down
Bungy jumping is heaps of fun, so if you haven’t already done a jump make sure you visit us on your next trip to Hanmer Springs. We’ve got a sweet deal for you for jumps during November: enter the promo code BUNGY20 at the checkout when booking online via our website to receive $20 off the ticket price!
In light of Halloween we’re sharing our Christchurch Gondola ghost stories! Opened in 1992 as the Mt Cavendish Gondola, the Gondola has been a favourite family activity for over 25 years. The top station is sited on top of Mt Cavendish which is located next to Mt Pleasant (the site of a Ngāti Māmoe pā that was captured by Ngāi Tahu). The Gondola was blessed by a kaumātua of the local iwi when it was opened, but there were some spooky goings on experienced at our top station for a while in the late 1990s.
The staff at the top station reported seeing unexplained movements out of the corners of their eyes, feeling invisible hands on their shoulders and feeling that they were not alone when closing up the Gondola at the end of the day. Some staff experienced passing through pockets of cold air in otherwise warm rooms and another spotted a ghostly figure on the hill one evening. It certainly was haunting for a while!
The site was blessed a second time by another local kaumātua after these events were reported and a third time after the Gondola was reopened in 2013 following the Christchurch earthquakes. We’re happy to say that none of our staff have experienced any supernatural events since, so you can rest assured that you won’t have any spooky experiences on your next visit to the Gondola. See you soon!
Cover photo credit: Marianne Lau & Benson Chew
The first long weekend after winter is nearly here! If you’re looking for things to do in Christchurch over Labour Weekend, grab your Tram & Gondola Annual Pass or a Tram ticket and jump on board the heritage trams. There are plenty of things to do around the central city route:
Turanga – the new central library is now open and looks amazing! It’s well worth popping in to have a look and making the hike up to the fourth floor to see the views over the city, including the Cathedral and the convention centre that is underway. The library isn’t open on Labour Day but will be open for the rest of the weekend.
Art Gallery – new displays include works by Juliet Peter, Luigi Rossini and a chance for visitors to paint on the gallery walls in the Wall To Wall exhibition during Labour Weekend.
Hoyts EntX – the newest movie theatre in town is now open with comfy seats and big screens. There are also lots of new eateries to try that have opened on the ground floor of the complex.
And lots more– Margaret Mahy playground, the Arts Centre, Canterbury Museum and New Regent Street are all worth a visit. A Field of Remembrance has popped up in Cranmer Square as part of the WWI Armistice centenary and FESTA is back over Labour Weekend. Plus SCAPE Public Art has just opened their 2018 season that sees lots of artwork installed around the city with plenty visible from the tram route and others just a short walk away.
It looks like the weather will be great this weekend, so pop into town to join us!
Been to Christchurch’s Botanic Gardens lately? There are so many things to see and lots of popular spots but many other features that aren’t as well-known. We’ve put together our top five list of tucked away areas that are worth a visit:
Situated down the side of the well-known Cuningham House, Foweraker House has lots of delicate plants like oxalis and jonquils on display in a slightly cooler environment. The house has just been restaged and currently features lots of beautiful tulips, cyclamen and primula for spring that are great to photograph.
Accessible via a door at the back of Townend House, Garrick House is filled with different varieties of cacti (including some impressive specimens that nearly reach the ceiling!). At the back of the cacti display is a door leading to Gilpin House where different orchids and carnivorous plants are displayed.
Rock and Heather Garden
Easy to access from the river path, the understated rock and heather garden features a variety ground cover plants of many different colours. Wander along the picturesque rock pathways and snap some photos by the pond.
Gifted to the Botanic Gardens in 1990, the Fragrant Garden is packed with scented plants like rosemary, wisteria, daphne and even a curry plant. Smell the flowers or rub the herb leaves to experience the different aromas.
Heritage Rose Garden
Less known than the Central Rose Garden, the Heritage Rose Garden is hidden away over the Woodland Bridge by Christchurch Hospital and is packed with stunning old-fashioned roses with beautiful scents. It’s definitely worth a ramble along the grassy paths in summer when the roses are blooming in late spring and summer.
Come down to the Botanic Gardens for a leisurely stroll, jump on board a Botanic Gardens Tour or a punt ride to see the Gardens from another perspective, or bring along a picnic lunch to make a day of exploring!
Our Park Punting site is teeming with feathered friends! Everyone loves feeding ducks, so why not pop down with the kids during the school holidays to feed the cute resident Avon River ducks?
As part of Punting’s support of the South Island Wildlife Hospital we are giving away a bag of free duck food to every child who goes punting during the spring school holidays. Punting have donated $500 to the Wildlife Hospital for us to give duck feed to our smaller guests for free until Sunday 14 October so that the SIWH team can continue the amazing work they do with sick and injured birds.
What are we feeding the ducks do you wonder? Most people think of feeding ducks leftover bread, but did you know that this can actually make them sick? The mould on old bread can lead to an illness called aspergillosis in ducks and the lack of nutrients in bread means ducks can develop a bone condition called angel wing, so it’s best not to feed them bread if possible. There are plenty of safe alternative foods for ducks though: these include grains, oats, rice, bird seed, cut grapes, chopped lettuce, and peas and corn (you can use defrosted frozen ones).
The duck food we are giving away are top quality pellets especially formulated for birds and has been approved by the Wildlife Hospital. There are plenty of ducks on the river who are keen for some extra food and they are looking forward to seeing lots of children during the school holidays – waddle down to visit us!