"Victoria Square, an oasis in the city centre" Top 5 Page for this destination City Center Tip by Kakapo2
City Center, Christchurch: 128 reviews and 163 photos
There is tourist hustle and bustle nearly everywhere in the city but Victoria Square seems clearly underrated. There are never big crowds, and people lying on the grass in the midday sun are mostly locals, although this beautiful small park ist only two blocks from Cathedral Square, and on one side is a stop for tour buses which spit out huge amounts of tourists.
The park is, of course, named after Queen Victoria, and a monument at the corner of Columbo and Armagh Streets is sign of this.
Flower beds, lawns, benches and a fountain give the square a relaxing touch. On two sides the Avon River borders the park, Town Hall with its famous water feature is on the other side of the Avon. A carved totara reminds of Maori culture and history. Some metres right of this ochre pole you can see a young kauri tree BTW.
There are some very interesting historic features (and more monuments than Queen Victoria's) in the park, for example Captain James Cook. Go to the bridge left of Town Hall which is a kind of double bridge.
The cast iron and stone Victoria Bridge was built in 1863/64 at the place of a wooden bridge called "Papanui Bridge" from 1851, and was the first of this kind in NZ. In 1875 and 1885 it was widened to its present form by adding wing piers and wooden outrigger footpaths. It was renamed in 1989 and is now the Hamish Hay Bridge, named after a former mayor of Christchurch.
In the middle of the bridge is a big gap under which you see the Avon River, and over it several rails. They commemorate 74 years of public tram services in Chch and mark the Papanui and Fendalton routes which first operated from 1880, first by steam locomotives, then horses, and by electricity from 1905 until 1954. To me they are a symbol for the stupidity of the Christchurch City Council because they abolished a transport system which is much more effective and punctual than buses because it is independant from traffic volumes.
Address: Corner Colombo/Armagh Streets
Directions: two blocks of Cathedral Square, opposite the Copthorne Hotel
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