In the heart of Christchurch lies expansive Hagley Park. Established in 1855 by government decree, Hagley Park is one of the oldest and largest public spaces in New Zealand. Located in the heart of the South Island's largest city, Hagley Park has been a major attraction in Christchurch for years, especially since the onslaught of earthquakes have destroyed the Christchurch Cathedral and other tourist attractions in the city center.
Included within Hagley Park are the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, a world-class exhibit of flowers and trees from across the world, and the Canterbury Museum, a museum with permanent exhibits of the natural and human history of New Zealand, along with rotating exhibits. The Christchurch Botanic Gardens has a collection of most plants in New Zealand, including those from the North Island and the other outlying islands. The Canterbury Museum was built in the 1870s on the east end of the park. For the most part, the museum and its exhibits were surprisingly spared from the damage of the earthquake, except for a statue of MP William Rolleston that dismounted and face-planted into Rolleston Avenue.
In addition to numerous green spaces and fields, the park has a golf course, tennis courts, model yacht ponds, cricket fields (including an oval with a capacity for 18,000 spectators), and hosts circuses and concerts throughout the year. Parking lots are spread around the park, with the main ones being on the corner of Rolleston and Armagh near the city center and off of Riccarton Avenue near the Riccarton neighborhood. Its location is also conducive to simply walking to the park. Dogs are permitted in most of the park, but are not permitted in the botanical gardens.