on November 14, 2008
After spending the last few years living in Edinburgh with one of my favourite city gardens in the world a few minutes walk from my door step, I hadn’t expected to be so impressed with another cities attempt at a calm and accessable city garden. But Christchurch didn’t get it’s title of the Garden City lightly, and the Botanic Gardens are yet another shining example of the peace and serenity this city does so very well. I’ve met a good many English travellers in my time in New Zealand who assure me that Christchurch is an extremely English city. As I haven’t spent as much time as I should have in the lower part of the country, I can’t verify that. But what I can say is that it’s one of the most pleasant and the Botanics show yet again how beautiful and peaceful a city can be. With plenty of space to walk around – the gardens make for a lovely day out when you’ve tired (IF you’ve tired) of sampling all the bars, restaurants and shops the city has to offer. It’s also extremely good for those travelling in the city on a budget, as it’s a very relaxing place – and a part of the city you should experience with out having to pay for it. And it’s also large enough that it’s not difficult to find an area to yourself. There are a lot of families that make use of the gardens, especially in good weather, but there are plenty of areas as well that you can be a bit more secluded to sit and chat, read a book – or just soak up the southern hemisphere sun. The autumn seemed to be a fantastic time to see the gardens, as some of the colours of the changing leaves could rival New England. We spent almost a full afternoon just wandering around, and still didn’t get a change to see all of it. There are some spectacular trees in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, and the entire place is beautifully laid out. And probably best of all, once you are a few steps inside the gardens the fact that you are in a city at all slips completely from your mind. Like the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens, those in Christchurch have a wonderful and relaxed vibe. A great spot to take a book on a sunny day to sit and read and just enjoy the peaceful setting. But if you are on a bit of a sight seeing day, it is still well worth popping in for a wander around to see the wonderful gardens the city has put together. And be sure to make it to see the Peace Bell – and there is also a great café.
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