Spring in the Garden City 2016 - Things to Do!

  • spring festival willowbank wildlife reserve
  • JD duathlon series Christchurch
  • Lyttelton farmers market
  • Evita Showbiz Christchurch

The daffodils are raising their heads and we are just a few days from the first official day of spring - September 1. So what does Spring bring to Christchurch?

1. Brilliant Blossoms

Christchurch really knows how to put on a show in the spring time, but some of her beauty is fairly fleeting. You can catch the lovely sight of cherry blossoms in bloom all down Harper Avenue (Hagley Park) from around mid-September for a couple of weeks till the flowers drop and the trees put on their full greenery for the summer months. This time of year is particularly popular for brides who want spring weddings, with not only the blossoms but also the bluebells and snowdrops creating a beautiful carpet on the other side of the road. This year the city council won't be running the Ellerslie Garden Show, but this is definitely the time to start considering some of the other gardens around Canterbury that you can visit. 

2. Farmer's Markets

Of course this is also the time of year when the sun starting to rise a little earlier and the temperatures warming up, that you might be inspired to get out of bed a little earlier on a Saturday or Sunday morning and head for the local farmer's markets. Fresh fruit and veg, great coffee, locally crafted foods and free entertainment are all part of the Christchurch farmer's market experience. Check out our comprehensive list of farmer's markets with dates and locations.

3. Faerie Picnic, September 3, Malvern Park

Yes really. The Faeries are going to be out and about in Malvern Park on Sunday, September 3rd from midday to 2pm, and it's a free event for the family to enjoy. Bring your children, something to sit on and your favourite picnic food. There won't be any food vendors on the the site, but the organisers will be bringing along some snacks to share as well. Check out the Facebook event for updates.

4. Spring Festival, Willowbank Wildlife Reserve

The school holidays roll around again at the end of the month, and keeping the offspring entertained can be a challenge. One of the favourites for the younger kids is the farmyard at Willowbank, and at this time of year it will be full of lambs to feed, fluffy ducklings and other baby animals. If you're a local, the best investment is the annual Family Pass, otherwise, children under 5 are free, adults $29.50. Children 5 - 14 are $12 each.

5. Steam Trains on Steam Sundays, Ferrymead Heritage Park

The first Sunday of every month is Steam Sunday at Ferrymead (so that means Sunday September 4). The Steam Train and the Steam Tram offer unlimited rides all day and all displays are open and staffed by members of the society. Prices Adult - $30, Child - $15, Senior/Student - $25, Family (2 Adults & up to 4 children) $75, Under 5's - Free. This Sunday happens to also be Father's Day so the park has some special additional activities on offer. The focus is on the Printers Shop, so visitors will be able to see five old printing machines in action and try their hand at making a poster or notebook. Find out more on Facebook.

6. Musical Theatrics - Evita, September 15 - October 1, Isaac Theatre Royal

Thje team at Showbiz Christchurch always put on a great show and this will be no exception. If you enjoyed their rendition of Mamma Mia, get yourself tickets to this event. Evita is musical theatre in the fullest and most dramatic sense, featuring a large cast, latin dancers, the Christchurch Boys Choir and a magnificent orchestra. Tickets start from $47.50 and you get to enjoy the splendour of the rebuilt Theatre Royal at the same time.

7. Edible Gardens with the Curator of Christchurch Botanic Gardens, September 17

On Saturday September 17, Christchurch Botanic Gardens curator, Louise Young and sustainability expert Rhys Taylor share the joys and the jobs of spring-time in the vegetable garden. This workshop at the Curator's House in Rolleston Ave includes a practical demonstration on seed sowing, plus planning tips for getting the best out of your garden throughout the growing season, with successional planting and crop rotation. Finish with a taste of spring-themed Spanish Tapas by  restaurateur Javier Garcia. the cost is $39 and there are two times available 10 am - 12.30 and 1pm - 3.30. You can book online through www.eventfinda.co.nz and find out more from 

8. Women's Lifestyle Expo, Horncastle Arena, September 24 and 25

If you don't mind a crowd and love a free goodie bag, head along to the Women's Lifestyle Expo. This year the expo includes a new Nail Pamper Zone, New Hair Styling Lounge and a New Beau Joie Champagne Lounge. Plus the popular Taste Zone, NZ Craft Zone, Fashion Zone, Craft Zone and more. Get a few friends together, put on some sensible shoes and enjoy! The expo is open between 10am and 5pm each day.

9. Vegetarian Food and Lifestyle Expo, September 25

The highlight of the year for vegetarians and vegans, coinciding with World Vegetarian and World Animal Day, this event has grown from strength to strength. This year it will be held at the Ara Institute (formerly Chch Polytechnic) and all food will be vegan (so both vegans and vegetarians are covered). The Vegetarian Expo includes food vendor stalls, information stalls, videos and cooking demonstrations throughout the day. The Expo runs from 10am - 4.30pm and entry is free for children under 12, adults $5.00.

10. JD Duathlon Series Corsair Bay, Sunday 25 September

If you are looking for something to get the blood pumping - and involve the whole family, check out the JD Duathlon series. Designed for teams, individuals, first timers and children 5 years and up, these are family friendly events that provide a range of race options for all levels of athletes to enjoy. The day kicks off from 9am but if you want to enter, doing it online is a little cheaper than entering on the day. Find out more on their Facebook page.