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The Garden City: Christchurch, New Zealand

Nestled along the eastern coastline of New Zealands South Island, Christchurch is a fascinating and diverse city of some 348,000 people. First settled by the Maori around 1250, Christchurch was granted a Royal Charter in 1856 and became an established city.

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Home to a number of incredibly beautiful gardens and 800 parks; Christchurch has rightfully earned the nickname of The Garden City. Forward-looking politicians planned for permanent green spaces long before other cities realized the need with the establishment of Hagley Park in 1855 and the Christchurch Botanic Gardens in 1863.

Located in heart of the city, the 165-hectare Hagley Park is bordered by the magnificent 21-hectare Christchurch Botanic Gardens. This significant public park allows visitors to participate in many different activities such as walks through mature woodlands, a running circuit around the perimeter, netball courts, and cycling tracks. If you are looking for a quite area to retreat to read or meditate, you should have no difficulty finding just the right spot in this vast green oasis. Traditionally Hagley Park has been the venue of choice for large gatherings like Great Industrial Exposition of 1882 and is still the choice for major sporting and cultural events.

Established to commemorate the 1863 marriage of Prince Albert to Princess Alexandra of Denmark, Christchurch Botanic Gardens is mostly enclosed by a loop of the Avon River. Several plant collections have been established within the Gardens including rare and endangered plant species that are being conserved. Various garden attractions draw you to them by their staggering beauty. The Rock Garden and the Heather Garden have some plants in flower year round while the formal Central Rose Garden and the Heritage Rose Garden contain more than 1250 bush roses and about 30 standard roses. For those with impaired vision, the layout of the Fragrant Garden is designed to accommodate their needs with wider pathways, raised planters, and an abundance of aromatic plants that truly make the gardens name appropriate.

With just 2% of the Christchurch areas original wetlands surviving, the 116-hectare Travis Wetland Nature Heritage Park is a relatively recent and very welcome addition to the citys green spaces. This wetland is the last surviving freshwater wetland in Christchurch and is vital to the survival of some native flora and fauna. Home to the only stand of manuka, of any substantial size, this wetland provides a habitat to about 80% of pre-European indigenous wetland plant species. With so much destruction of other wetlands, the Travis Wetland is invaluable in the preservation of native plants and birds. Strictly a No Dog zone, this wetland is designed to allow the public access while preserving the treasures of the wetlands.

With these three parks being a tiny sampling of what awaits you as you explore the beauty and history of Christchurch, prepare to be awe struck by the parks and gardens of the city.

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Posted in Traveling Post Date 03/30/2017


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