Avon River, Christchurch Overview

Central to the identity of Christchurch, the Avon River originates in the suburb of Avonhead and snakes its way through Christchurch’s CBD. The Otakaru, the river’s original Maori name, eventually flows out into the Pacific Ocean. Skirting Christchurch, the Avon river is popular amongst locals and tourists for its many fishing and punting opportunities. The earthquakes in February and June of 2011 rocked Christchurch and the areas surrounding the river were adversely affected and has been part of an extensive restoration project since.

Gently winding past the Botanic Gardens and Hagley Park, the Avon River serves up beautiful views of Christchurch and is an iconic part of the city’s heritage, before draining out into the sea. Much of Christchurch’s early development occurred on the banks of the Avon, as were many of its first residential areas, and became synonymous with the Kiwi Dream. The devastation of the earthquakes laid ruin to many of these buildings.

Avon River

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Trout Fishing at River Avon

During the late 19th century, the Canterbury Acclimatization Society devised a plan to get rid of the watercress that was growing on the riverbanks. The weedy plant made it difficult for British pioneers to introduce brown trout into the river. The fish was eventually introduced into the Avon and it flourished, making it a hugely popular fly-fishing and angling spot for fisherfolk. Tales of people catching 10-pound trout are commonplace around the Avon River.

Punting on the Avon

Punting the Avon

A favourite pastime of locals and tourists is to head to the riverbank, hop into a punt, a ten-foot flat-bottomed boat and float down the Avon. Guided by expert tour guides donning traditional Edwardian garb, while telling you interesting anecdotes about the river as the scenery changes. Kayaks and pedal-boats are available for hire along the riverside if you wish to explore the river by yourself.

Avon River Trail

Avon River

The Avon River Trail is an 11 km shared-use trail that travels the length of the Avon River. A great option for people looking to see the river and Christchurch during a jog or a walk. A mix of gravel trails, shingle, and tarred asphalt road, this 11 km track begins at Cambridge Village Green and finishes on Pages Road.

How To Reach Avon River

Located at the heart of Christchurch, the Avon River is easily accessible and is well-serviced by local buses. It is an hour long bus journey away from Christchurch International Airport.

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