The Visitor Centre is an excellent starting point for exploring the Gardens. Ask our friendly staff for guidance on seasonal highlights or collect a map.

COVID-19 update: The Botanic Gardens are open

The Botanic Gardens and buildings are within the Gardens are open under alert level 2. To help keep everyone well, please continue to maintain a 2 metre distance from other people when you’re out and about and wash your hands before and after using equipment in our gardens.

The following are now open:

  • All parks and gardens
  • Public toilets
  • Playgrounds, play equipment or exercise equipment in parks
  • Visitor and information centres
  • Dog parks
  • The Botanic Gardens
  • Boat ramps and wharves
  • Cemeteries

Unite Against Covid-19, visit

Visitor Centre

The Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre houses a function room, the ilex café and a permanent exhibition that tells the story of Christchurch and Canterbury through plants and gardening.(external link) Our gift shop sells an array of botanical, garden and nature-inspired giftware and souvenirs. To contact staff in our Visitor Centre or gift shop call (03) 941 7590.

The Visitor Centre is also home to the operational side of the Gardens, with a working nursery, reference library, herbarium and potting sheds.

Take a tour of the Visitor Centre


Since opening in 2014, the building has attracted favourable attention in the world of architecture. Industry awards include an award in the Public Architecture category at the Canterbury Architecture Awards in 2015. The awards are run by the New Zealand Institute of Architects.