Flashback Friday – Not-so-hidden Treasures: Hagley Park

We’re seeing some lovely summer weather around Christchurch at the moment, which is a great opportunity to explore some more parts of the city by bike. So why not make some time to visit (or revisit) the lovely splendour of Hagley Park? Your timing will be good, as further pathway upgrades have just been completed around the park, providing much more space to ride on. And this Saturday (21st) sees the return of the Classical Sparks concert in North Hagley Park – great to see bike parking advertised too! Back in Dec 2015, we first posted about the delights of this gem in the heart of the city…

New York might have its Central Park, but our jewel in the crown is of course Hagley Park. It’s a recreational and sporting home for all manner of activities, be it golf, cricket, jogging, canoeing, or just feeding the ducks. And not surprisingly it’s also a great place to go for a cycle ride too.

Many of the park’s pathways still aren’t very wide though

Hagley Park has a large number of paths in and around it. Both North and South Hagley Parks have cycling routes ringing the periphery, and there are also numerous link routes cutting across the middle.

Map of Hagley Park (c/ CCC)

Not many of the paths are of great width at the moment {update: they are now!}, particularly for peak demand, but that is slowly changing. We already have a fantastic new 4m-wide pathway in South Hagley alongside Hagley Ave, and soon there will be a similar improved route connecting the Uni-Cycle with the Armagh St entrance.

The nice wide South Hagley shared pathway

Only one place is off limits for cycling: the Botanic Gardens (essentially all of the land bounded by Rolleston Ave and the Avon River loop). While slightly annoying, this restriction doesn’t tend to get in the way of too many desire lines; there are enough paths around the edges. If need be, you can always walk your bike through (too be honest, I don’t think most people would mind careful riding through either).

The pathway along Rolleston Ave allows you to get around the front of the Botanic Gardens

For kids, Hagley Park offers a huge array of pathways to try out, both sealed and unsealed, all safely away from traffic (just keep an eye on their proximity to any other path users!). There’s even a few gentle grass hills (e.g. near the Woodland Bridge by the hospital) if they want to practice riding on slopes too. And there are also various exercise activity stations around North Hagley Park, as well as the wonderful Botanic Gardens playground, if the biking all gets too much for the youngsters.

Plenty of fun things things to play on in Hagley Park too…

A number of city cycling routes congregate on the Park from all directions. The Uni-Cycle route out to Ilam now has a dedicated signalised crossing over to North Hagley Park. Meanwhile in South Hagley Park, a new crossing at Moorhouse Ave leads over to Grove Rd where the Little River Link will soon bring cycle traffic in from the southwest. There are also signalised crossings from Blenheim Rd into South Hagley Park from the west and from Rossall St through to Little Hagley Park in the north. Near Hospital Corner, new signals are then providing connections into the central city.

Lots of new/improved signal crossings help everyone bike into Hagley Park more easily

Hagley Park is also home to many big events, from concerts to cricket matches, food & wine, buskers, and so on. Not all of them are great at providing for cycling to the event, but it’s certainly an easy way to beat the traffic and parking hassles.

Many ways to get to Hagley Park (click to enlarge)

One thing that can be a bit disorienting for newcomers (or even old hands…) are the many different paths on offer and where they go to. There are some handy maps at many of the main entrances, but little guidance within the park at key junctions.

Good maps of the Park to help you find your way

Mind you, perhaps that’s half the fun – exploring the park and seeing where the next path takes you? Unless you’re in a rush to get somewhere, sometimes it’s worth taking the “route less travelled” just to see where it gets you…

Which way to go, left or right? Does it matter?

A little bit of care is needed in places however, where sight distances and bridge approaches provide a challenge if you’re not careful. Keep an eye on some of the driveway crossings into the park too, as generally they don’t give priority to the path.

Careful zooming through here…

Some sections of the pathways have also been known to get a bit damp after some rain too…

Some better drainage needed here…

But in general, Hagley Park’s offerings give you hours of easy riding fun – and it’s hard to argue with the scenery either…

An exercise station alongside this river pathway

As the summer months kick in, and restless kids (big and little) want something to do, Hagley Park is a great family-friendly option for getting everyone biking. And when it’s time to get back to work or school, chances are that many people will also find Hagley Park is an important part of their daily commute.

Do you cycle through Hagley Park? What do you think of it?

2 thoughts on “Flashback Friday – Not-so-hidden Treasures: Hagley Park”

  1. Love the railway crossing on the Uni-Cycle MCR. The turning radius is tight but not too tight, unlike the railway crossing at the end of Blenheim Road, which crossing is way too tight!! Why the difference?

    1. Short answer is because we’re waiting for KiwiRail! (in the same way that it took 18 months for the Matai St automated crossing to show up after the Uni-Cycle was built…)

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