One of the best things to do in Christchurch is free and easy to do – a walk by the Avon River! The Avon River winds its way through the heart of Christchurch and there is heaps to see along the way, including the Antigua Boat Sheds, the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, historic bridges and plenty of idyllic stretches of river.
Walking by the Avon River
There’s no real start and end point to a walk by the Avon River, but there are some interesting places to look out for. I’ve walked around this area a few times over the last few years and it has changed quite a lot in that time. Obviously the 2010 / 2011 earthquakes changed this place forever and the rebuild continues to rumble on.
The most interesting part of the Avon River walk is probably the stretch between Madras Street and the Botanic Gardens. There’s the Margaret Mahy Playground (which is apparently awesome for kids), New Regent Street is a short walk from the river and from there you’ll head towards Victoria Square and the Bridge of Remembrance, which was built in 1924 to honour the service men and women in World War 1 (and subsequent wars). It’s a nice spot and is close to the main “downtown” area, where you’ll find lots of shops etc.
READ MORE: Prefer to travel by tram than by foot? Check out my post about the Christchurch hop on / hop off tram tour.
From there it’s a nice walk down to the Antigua Boat Sheds. If you’re want to get a good photo of the Avon River this is the best spot – from the bridge you get an awesome view of the river with the green and white striped historic boat sheds to one side. If you’re sick of walking by this point you could do some punting on the Avon River – you can organise a boat (or a kayak) at the boat sheds if you’re keen.
From the Antigua Boat Sheds the river winds towards, and then through, the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. This stretch of the Avon is a bit different as it’s mostly surrounded by trees and there aren’t too many signs of civilization. You’ll see boats drifting down the river and, depending on the season, it’s worth dipping into the gardens a bit to explore. Also check out Canterbury Museum which is close to the entrance of the gardens.
READ MORE: Looking for a cool dining spot in central Christchurch? Check out Little High Eatery!
It’d be best to turn back there and head back into the city, but if you’re like me and you’re planning on writing a blog post about this river you might want to continue. I walked for probably another 40 minutes, taking the long route back to our motel on Bealey Ave. The last bit of the walk was alright, but it doesn’t really stand out compared to the other bits I saw. If you want to go even further than I did, you could walk to Riccarton House, then check out the mall and catch a bus back to the centre city.
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