Christchurch Sports & Outdoors Tips by Kakapo2 Top 5 Page for this destination
Christchurch Sports & Outdoors: 42 reviews and 44 photos
Cheers! Having fun at the Riccarton racecourse.
New Zealanders love horse racing and betting on horses. There are two big race courses in Christchurch with races year-round. The biggest harness and gallops races take place during Cup and Show Week in November, and those are really fun days out. Read more about this on my tips about Local Customs.
Harness (and greyhound) races take place in Addington, gallops in Riccarton.
Race schedule for Addington on www.themet.co.nz
Equipment: Watching the horse races does not mean that you have to show up in your best and fanciest clothes and - women - spectacular hats. You can even bring a blanket to sit on the lawn and a big chilly bin with food and drinks and have a nice picknick. Of course, you can purchase hotdogs and champagne on the racecourses as well. In good weather conditions do not forget sun cream and/or umbrellas.
Address: Addington and Riccarton Racecourses
Directions: Riccarton, Racecourse Road: From Hagley Park west on Riccarton Rd, right into Yaldhurst Rd, left into Racecourse Rd.
Addington, Twigger Street: From Hagley Park west, either Blenheim Rd, left into Wrights Rd, or via Lincoln Rd, right into Whiteleigh Ave.
Other Contact: Addington (03) 338 2572
Phone: Riccarton (03) 336-0000
Theme: Sports Watching
Before the game horse riders pace around the pitch
Rugby is the big team sport which is played in Jade Stadium in winter, and the Crusaders are probably the best club/regional team in the world. They have been the champions of the Super12 and Super14 series which is the league for the best professional rugby teams of New Zealand, Australia and South Africa - well... until their dreadful semi-final performance against the South African Bulls in May 2007...
Watching a Crusaders game is seeing many players of the famous All Blacks, New Zealand's great rugby team which was the world's dominant team from 2005 to 2007 until they lost their World Cup Quarter Final against France 18:20 in Cardiff on 6 Oct 2007... :-(
Oh, read my opinion from early 2007:
"The only danger for the All Blacks is coach Graham Henry who rested the All Blacks players for several months, so they would stay fit for the World Cup 2007 in France. The opposite was the case: Many were injured after the so-called reconditioning programme - which meant: building up muscles, getting faster, losing fat, and all while being wrapped in cottonwool."
And at the World Cup he practised an idiotic rotation system instead of making his best team run smoothly for the important games. I wonder why I always have to tell the coaches what would be the best thing to do. And do not blame me: I do tell them in advance because I have a lot of experience in sports and know how such things do end - and I wonder why they do think they could rewrite history! Graham Henry's reconditioning programme had already cost the Crusaders the Super 14 title! Thank you!
Anyway... The world's best players are part of the Crusaders: Daniel Carter (first five-eighth) was elected World Player of the year 2005 (and is still the most skilled and talented player alive) and his team mate Richie McCaw, the All Blacks skipper and flanker, in 2006.
Equipment: It is no problem NOT to show up in red and black - the colours of the Crusaders and of the Canterbury team. If it is not a super hot day always take at least a fleece jacket or other warm clothes with you, as especially in the high stands the wind can be rather strong and chilly. Sometimes it is even recommended to take a beanie and a blanket. If it is reallllllllly cold (and only Kiwis keep on walking around in shorts...) better go to the Holy Grail in Worcester Street and watch the game with other fans on TV... ;-)
Tickets at Jade Stadium (Stevens Street) and all Ticketek outlets (Town Hall, Ballantynes, Westpac Centre, most big shopping malls etc.)
It is great fun to watch a game in the stadium, not only because the Crusaders normally win ;-) It is also watching the fans who joke around with the opponent's fans who can happily sit within the "enemies" without being beaten up. The specatators comment mistakes and mishaps with laughter. If you are from Europe and used to football (soccer) crowds you might miss the passion and noise, the angry whistling and singing.
After the Super14 season rugby continues with the NPC, the national competition of regional teams. In summer you can watch cricket in Jade and other stadiums.
Address: Jade Stadium; Lismore, Wilsons, Stevens, Lancaster
Directions: Moorhouse Street east, shortly before the start of Ferry Road right into Lancaster or Wilsons Street. Or just circle around the area, Jade Stadium is so big that it cannot be missed... It is also an easy walk from the city centre.
Phone: (0800) 523 378; (03) 379 1765
Theme: Sports Watching
Swimming in the Olympic pool of QEII Park.
Several people have asked me for indoor swimming pools in Christchurch, so let me post a selection here.
The best pool is at QEII (Queen Elizabeth II) Park, between Burwood (Travis Wetland) and New Brighton. It even has an Olympic 50m pool, and other nice waterlands.
The other City Council swimming pools are at the Pioneer and Centennial Leisure Centres, the latter even in the city centre but a bit hidden in Armagh Street, and Jellie Park, and Wharenui Sports Centre.
Directions to Centennial Leisure Centre:
Coming from Cathedral Square walk up Colombo Street north, turn right into Armagh Street, the Leisure Centre is after some metres on the left. You also reach it via Oxford Terrace. There is a carpark (parking fee).
The other pools can be reached by bus.
QEII Park, 171 Travis Road, New Brighton, ph. (03) 941 6849
Pioneer Leisure Centre, 75 Lyttelton St, Spreydon, ph. (03) 941 6851
Jellie Park Aqualand, 295 Ilam Rd, Fendalton, ph. (03) 941 6856
Wharenui Sports Centre, Corner Matipo & Elizabeth Streets, Riccarton, ph. (03) 348 6488
Centennial Leisure Centre, Armagh St, City Centre, ph. (03) 941 6853
Waiting for customers high above Christchurch.
There is a great service for people who want to explore the Summit Road on their own, without the need to hire a car, but want to do it faster than just walking a stretch on the Crater Rim Walkway, and without the need to make the Hercules effort of getting the bike up the steep slopes of the Port Hills.
Talked to the hire guy who spends his time waiting for customers at the carpark below the Gondola on the Summit Road. Primarily he waits for people who have booked a combined Gondola&MTB tour that takes two hours and costs NZ$ 50. It includes the Gondola ride up to the summit of Mt. Cavendish, the hire of the bike and helmet and pick up back down in the valley. You have to walk 10 minutes downhill from the Gondola summit to the hire bikes. Two hours are allowed for the whole tour. You can choose which way you want to ride along the Summit Road and down the hills. Some people cycle towards the ocean, head down to the suburb of Sumner and back to Heathcote (base station of the Gondola). Others head the other way and ride down the hill – past the Sign of the Kiwi – to Cashmere.
You can also hire a bike for half a day or a full day. They pick you up at your accommodation and anywhere after your tour when you give them a call and advise them your location.
The hire for half a day costs $ 25, for the full day $ 35. The name of the company is The Mountain Bike Adventure Company.
The minimum age for hires is 15 years, and 12 years if the youth is accompanied by an adult.
You can book by phone or directly at the Gondola base and the Chch Visitor Centre on Cathedral Square.
Equipment: They provide everything, not just the bike, including safety helmet, windbreaker, gloves - plus route descriptions.
Phone: (0800) 424 534
Celebrating the Crusaders - our up-to-date trams.
The most important news is that the Crusaders are still the best rugby (Union) team in the world. Last night they beat the Waratahs (from Canberra) in the final of the Super 14 league 20:12. The most important thing you should know about sport in NZ is: We support two teams; first our national team, second, any team that plays against Australia. Only if Australia plays against England we support Australia.
The Super 14 triumph was followed by the most terrible loss: Crusaders coach Robbie Deans left for Australia to become new Wallabies coach (national rugby team). Instead of giving him the All Blacks job we have to keep on living with this loser Graham Henry, and Robbie Deans will transform the Wallabies into the best team of the world. To be fair, it will not only be his effort. It is also the fact that an incredible lot of All Blacks players leave NZ for the sake of earning a lot of money in European clubs. Obviously nobody wants the best Aussies!?
Update August 2008
In the Bledisloe Cup the Aussies and Robbie Deans beat the All Blacks in Sydney, and the Aussies jubilated: Thank you, New Zealand, for gifting us the best coach in the world. Although I really like Robbie Deans and really dislike Graham Henry I did NOT support the Aussies, as quite some Kiwis did. And the All Blacks beat them convincingly in the return game in Wellington, and are on a good way again - for now. The All Blacks' and the Crusaders' best, Daniel Carter, will play a year in France and take time-out. A sad time for Crusaders and rugby fans - not only here in Christchurch.
Address: AMI Stadium
Directions: Lancaster Street/Wilsons Rd.
Drive east on Moorhouse Avenue (towards Sumner/Ferrymead), soon you will see the stadium on your right.
Theme: Sports Watching
I have listed some areas where you can cycle safely in Christchurch in extra tips (most as Off the Beaten Path tips), like Mc Lean’s Park Forest, Bottle Lake Forest Reserve, and the Little River Rail Trail. See in my Warnings and Danger tip why cycling is so dangerous in the city.
You will find an incredible lot of mountainbike tracks around the city. To my taste, there are not many tracks for people with limited abilities but a fabulous choice for advanced mountainbikers. Since a lady mountainbiker fell to my feet after riding over several rock steps in the Port Hills I have become rather cautious about where I cycle with my mountainbike and where not.
When I saw the guy with the bike on New Brighton Beach you see on my photo I thought that is a fabulous idea for cycling in Christchurch ;-) You are not only safe from rocks and car drivers, you can also watch wildlife, and if you fall you fall softly ;-)
At a 20/20 match against England at AMI Stadium.
If the Black Caps - the national team - do not play the ninetieth test against Sri Lanka or whichever team in AMI Stadium (formerly: Jade Stadium) cricket takes place in other locations and all summer. The Canterbury team - the Wizards - play in the State Championship (State Shield), the games take place either on the Oval in South Hagley Park or at the Cricket Ground (Village Green) at QE II (Queen Elizabeth II) Park between Burwood and North New Brighton.
It helps to have some cricket knowledge if you want to attend a game, especially if you plan to go to a test match which normally takes five days (and ends in a draw...) on the fourth day but one of the teams is so bad that it is over after three days... If you have no idea what a wicket or a century is, or even a LBW decision, or why they could not find different words for the wicket a team scores and the wicket area on which the wickets, made up of wooden poles and sticks, stand - do not despair, there will always be some friendly and patient New Zealanders who will explain why some balls are wide or which bowler is a spinner.
If you are a cricket novice it is best to start with a 20/20 game. This is the speediest game. 20/20 means that each team plays only 20 overs. Six balls is one over. (And BTW... The bowlers do not throw but bowl...) So each team has 120 balls to bowl. In a "normal" game each team has the maximum of 50 overs (300 balls), and this can last a day. That is why such games are called One Day Games. Easy, isn't it? The five day games are called test matches - and are no "tests" at all but very important and the real thing.
Equipment: If the game does not take place in a big stadium like AMI which has allocated seats the best thing is to pack most of the things you would also take to a day out on the beach. This might include blanket, folding chair, chilly bin with food and drinks, sun cream, hat, sunglasses, long sleeve shirts and long trousers for the case you do not want to get burnt after five hours in the sun. Some people also take something to read with them. In this case it helps to camp near an expert who warns you when the decisive ball is close and you do not miss the most exciting moment of the game.
It is not allowed to take glass bottles and water bottles with more than 1 litre to the stadium.
Address: AMI Stadium, Hagley Park Oval, QEII Park
Directions: AMI Stadium, between Wilsons, Lancaster, Stevens and Lismore Streets.
Hagley Park Oval in Riccarton Road, right across from Christchurch Hospital.
QEII Park between Burwood and North New Brighton, entrance via Bower Road.
Other Contact: www.nzcricket.co.nz
Theme: Sports Watching
23 lawn courts are waiting for you.
If you love tennis you can play in Hagley Park for nearly nothing. The Hagley Park Tennis Club welcomes casual players and charges only NZ$ 10. There are even some locations in Christchurch where you can play for free. But this club has an incredible lot of courts and is centrally located – right at the western carpark of the Botanic Garden, off Riccarton Avenue. Or you just walk there leisurely from the city centre.
23 of the 29 courts are lawn courts. The other six courts are hard courts (plexipave and synthetic lawn).
You have to pay your green fee before you start playing.
I would probably avoid the hours when they offer organised social tennis. This takes place on Wednesdays from 6pm to 8pm and on Saturdays from 1.30pm to 4pm, additionally daily from 6pm to 8pm in summer months.
As they have a fulltime coach you can also take tennis lessons. You can directly get in touch with the coach via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Equipment: The club requires to bring appropriate shoes, especially for the lawn courts. The other request is to wear tennis attire. So do not just run around in jeans and anorak LOL
Address: Hagley Park
Directions: Two access ways:
1.) From the city centre side. Drive (or walk) to the Botanic Garden carpark from the corner of Rolleston Ave and Armagh Street.
2.) From the Riccarton side of Hagley Park. Car park entrance to Gardens from Riccarton Ave.
Other Contact: email@example.com
Phone: (03) 366 2870
Plenty of activity in the Estuary.
If you are into kite-surfing and want to meet people with the same hobby there are three great places to do so: New Brighton near the pier, Sumner and Ferrymead. As Ferrymead is on the way to Sumner you can check out where the conditions are best. The last time I was there in gusty wind conditions and during high tide the bay was nearly overfloating with people, and it was fascinating to see them speed through the waves.
There is even a carpark which is just indicated with the words Wind Surfing. To get there you travel towards Sumner from the city centre, on Ferry Road (from High, Manchester or Madras Street) or Moorhouse Avenue. Just follow the Sumner signs. Take the turn to the left further out from the city and follow the sign Sumner/Ferrymead is indicated. You drive along a river. Shortly before you reach the commercial zone of Ferrymead with Woolworths and Mitre 10, the carpark is on the left side of the road.
It is rather safe there to surf as this part of the sea is nearly as sheltered as a lake, with the near-endless peninsula of South New Brighton separating the bay from the open sea. You can only surf there at high tide as at low tide the sea retreats as far as New Brighton. In this bay off Ferrymead and Mt. Pleasant the waters of the sea mix with the waters of the Avon and Heathcote rivers. The area is called the Estuary and is renowned for its wonderful birdlife, including the summer home of the migrating godwits.
Kayaking on the Avon in the Botanic Garden.
If you want to explore the Avon at your own pace you can hire a canoe or kayak at the Antigua Boatsheds. You paddle on the same stretch of the river as the punters. The ducks on the river would be delighted if you had some bread aboard ;-)
Boat hire open daily
Summer 9.30am – 5.30pm
Winter 9.30am – 4pm
They stay open after hours for groups over 20 people.
Single canoe NZ$ 8 per hour
Double canoe NZ$ 16 per hour
You can also hire paddle boats (NZ$ 16 per half hour/2 people) – crazy! (So if you want to make bigger tours you better buy a boat LOL)
Rowing boats NZ$ 15 per half hour, NZ$ 25 per hour
The adjacent Boatshed Café opens at 7am already and closes at 6pm in summer and 5pm in winter.
If you have bigger paddling plans you can hire kayaks at the following place:
TopSport Kayaking in the suburb of Ferrymead (950 Ferry Road, near Woolworths)
Phone (03) 384 0405
A sit-on kayak costs $30 per day (single) resp. $40 (double, triple), a sea kayak $ 60.
You can also take lessons or just hire equipment.
Kayak courses also at:
Canoe & Outdoor World, 7 Pilgrim Place
Phone (03) 366 9305, freephone (0800) 667 3386
This shop is just some steps from Moorhouse Avenue, next to Hoyts Cinema, opposite Pak’n’Save).
Address: Boatshed Café and Boat Hire, 2 Cambridge Terrace
Directions: At the southern end of Rolleston Avenue (Arts Centre, Botanic Garden), opposite Christchurch Hospital.
Other Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: (03) 366 5885
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