Learn when to visit Hagley Park to see spring blossoms and exactly where to go in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens to find cherry blossoms.
Where is Hagley Park?
Hagley Park is located in the heart of Christchurch city on the South Island of New Zealand.
The easiest way to get to Hagley Park is by car, but you can also catch a bus to Christchurch city center, and then walk to Hagley Park.
The Christchurch Botanic Gardens are surrounded on three sides by the Avon River and Hagley Park, and have several entry points with the main entry being the gate entry on the Eastern side next to the Canterbury Museum.
There is a parking lot off Riccarton Avenue on the Western side of Hagley Park, and another one on the Northern side near Victoria Lake, which is accessible via the intersection of Park Terrace with Armagh Street.
When to visit Hagley Park for spring blossoms
As you may already know, spring in New Zealand runs from September 1 until November 30.
There are two periods in particular when I visited Hagley Park to see spring blossoms. One was a miss, and the other was a near-miss. So neither was the ideal period to visit Hagley Park to see spring blossoms.
The first period was at the beginning of October; October 6 to be more precise. When I arrived, the cherry blossom trees had already dropped their blossoms and leaves were starting to grow.
Direction signs in Hagley Park, Christchurch, New Zealand
The second period was in the last week of September; September 23 to be more precise. When I arrived, the cherry blossom trees were past their peak and were just starting to shed their blossoms. However, I was still able to catch about 80% of the blossoms on trees with leaves just starting to grow on a couple of trees.
So while I have not yet found the right time for spring blossoms, and in particular cherry blossoms, I’m willing to bet that the ideal period to visit Hagley Park and the Christchurch Botanic Gardens to see spring blossoms would be between 7 and 21 September, so during the second and third weeks of September.
October is definitely too late to catch cherry blossoms, and while there are other types of trees that bloom early in September and even in August, which is technically speaking still winter in New Zealand, the first week of September would probably be a bit early for cherry blossoms in Hagley Park.
So, if you have to pick a week, choose the third week of September. And if you can pick only one date, make it September 16.
Where to find spring blossoms in the Botanic Gardens
I would suggest you start at the main entrance of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens next to the Canterbury Museum, and as soon as you have entered the gardens, go left towards the Peacock Fountain.
Peacock Fountain, Christchurch Botanic Gardens, South Island, New Zealand
The Peacock Fountain is a real beauty. The fountain seems to be on a timer of some sort, so if when you arrive the water is down to a trickle, please wait a couple of minutes for the fountain to “rebuild” and start spouting water.
From the Peacock Fountain you can go left to see flower beds and then return, or you can go right towards the Central Rose Garden; just follow the sealed path to the right past the Archery Lawn and the Herbaceous Border.
You won’t be able to miss the Central Rose Garden, because just in front of it, there is a giant red rose.
Giant rose, Central Rose Garden, Christchurch Botanic Gardens, New Zealand
While there will probably not be any roses in the Central Rose Garden, the giant rose is worth a visit. Enter the Central Rose Garden and then go left towards the Rock Garden and Heather Garden.
But before you visit either, go left towards the Peace Bell. The area around the Peace Bell has a few blossom trees, but one tree in particular, a Prunus Yedoensis (Yoshino Cherry), caught my eye.
While I’m almost 100% sure it was past its peak, it was still displaying some beautiful cherry blossoms. So this tree is definitely worth a visit.
Yoshino Cherry tree, Christchurch Botanic Gardens, South Island, New Zealand
Cherry blossoms, Christchurch Botanic Gardens, South Island, New Zealand
After visiting the Peace Bell and the cherry blossom tree, you could cross the Woodland bridge and head towards the Bandsmen’s Memorial Rotunda, and then left towards the Daffodil Woodland if you are interested in seeing daffodils.
The Heather Garden is also worth a visit. This garden contains heathers and heaths that provide low-lying color and interest throughout the year. And there is another cherry blossom tree not too far from the pond in the Heather Garden.
From the Heather Garden, you can continue to the right through the New Zealand Gardens (which do not have any blossoms) and then walk on the path that follows the Avon River and that leads to the Water Garden.
Along this path, you should see a bench and next to the bench, another cherry blossom tree.
Cherry blossom tree near Water Garden, Christchurch Botanic Gardens, South Island, New Zealand
From here you can make a right turn into the Water Garden to see other flowers such as the “Little Gem” and then thereafter visit the Azalea & Magnolia Garden to see Magnolias in bloom.
Zantedeschia aethiopica, Little Gem, Water Garden, Christchurch Botanic Gardens, New Zealand
African Daisy, Christchurch Botanic Gardens, South Island, New Zealand
Note that Magnolias start blooming early in September, so if you visit the Christchurch Botanic Gardens towards the end of September, all of the flowers may have already fallen off the trees. You should still be able to see Rhododendrons and Azaleas, though.
Next, follow the main path to the right towards the playground. Just a little past the playground there is a junction with a path leading to the right.
At the junction, there is a very large blossom tree that looks gorgeous when it is in full bloom.
Large blossom tree, Christchurch Botanic Gardens, South Island, New Zealand
After this, you can continue walking straight towards a footbridge, cross it, go left, and then straight towards Mona Vale. This path crosses the Hagley Golf Course in Hagley Park North and leads to Harper Avenue, which is lined with cherry blossom trees, which can look very impressive in spring.
Line of cherry blossom trees along Harper Avenue, Hagley Park North, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand
Video of spring blossoms in Hagley Park
The following 6-minute video attempts to give you an impression of what it is like to visit the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and Hagley Park during spring, and in particular in September. However, nothing beats actually walking through the gardens and Hagley Park in person.