Avon River Walk (City Promenade Walk)

Follow the Avon River Walk (City Promenade Walk) through the middle of Christchurch downtown. © Freewalks.nz

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The City Promenade walk along the Avon River starts near the Christchurch Botanic Gardens from the hospital on Oxford Terrace.

It’s a 4km return walk, that will take you around 2 hours. However, allow for an extra hour wandering around the Botanic Gardens, then at least another 30 mins to stop and take photos of the Avon River Punts, historic bridges, and more. You can also bike the track, but walking it is way better. With lovely trees and riverside beauty to one side and cafes, bars, restaurants to the other, this walk is the perfect way to get to know Christchurch’s city centre. The promenade finishes at the other end of Oxford Terrace, past the Margaret Mahy playground.

Explore the Local Area

Akaroa on Banks Peninsula is a historic French whaling depot.  This spectacular French settlement is a must-do for every visitor.  Sit back and relax while you are driven to Akaroa to explore this historic town.  Then enjoy a cruise that showcases the natural delights Banks Peninsula has to offer.  Absolutely stunning!

Quick Facts about this walk

  • Location: Christchurch, South Island
  • Distance: 4 km (Christchurch Botanic Gardens is extra)
  • Time needed: 2 hours with photo stops
  • Difficulty: Very Easy
  • Wheelchair Access: No
  • Route: Round Trip
  • Elevation: Flat
  • Wet Feet: No
  • Toilets: Yes
  • Dogs: Leash only
  • Mobile Coverage: Yes
  • Last Updated: March 2022

The City Promenade walk along the Avon River starts near the Christchurch Botanic Gardens from the hospital on Oxford Terrace.

We’ve partnered with Macpac outdoor walking & hiking gear to bring you the very best products designed exclusively for our New Zealand climate. They’ll ship for FREE within NZ on orders over $100 (if under $100 it’s only $5). Worldwide international shipping is available except to the USA. Bulky orders will be $20.

Summary points about this walk

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Points of interest along the walk​

Victoria Lake in the Botanic Gardens

When we got out of the car, we had to walk over to the lake to see what the noise was all about. It turned out to be the model boat racers zipping around the lake. From there, we walked over the footbridge and into the Botanic Gardens; just to the right of the gate was the information centre. The people there were pleased to answer our questions and gave us an excellent map of the Botanic Gardens and a map of Christchurch CBD. We spent around an hour walking around the Botanic Gardens then left by the southern bridge next to the hospital.

Avon River Walk - A lot has changed since the earthquake

It was a nice easy walk along the Avon River, you just walk over several bridges crossing over the Avon. The old water wheel where the first flour mill was built on that little island in late 1800.

Punting On the Avon River

Punting on the Avon – what a romantic way to travel and a very relaxing way to see Christchurch city centre. Believe it or not, the boatshed is a restaurant. It is well away from the busy and noisy downtown traffic.

Twin Towers Beams

Need to make a phone call, how is this for a phone box. The steel sculpture next to the bridge is made from pieces of steel from the twin towers building. To see the steel beams ripped apart like sheets of paper is unbelievable. If you are standing at the site of the tower’s beams then you are on the one-way street, Kilmore Street. Now walk east with the traffic for 1.22 km. Turn left at Park Terrace and walk 220 metres to the entrance to the park. 

The end of the walk is at Barbadoes Street, end of Margaret Mahy Playground.

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What sort of walking and hiking gear will you need

We’ve partnered with Macpac outdoor walking & hiking gear to bring you the very best products designed exclusively for our New Zealand climate. They’ll ship for FREE within NZ on orders over $100 (if under $100 it’s only $5). Worldwide international shipping is available except to the USA. Bulky orders will be $20.

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