Let's live in ... Avonhead

HEAPS OF GREENERY: Black clouds form over Burnside Park, just one of the green patches of land in Avonhead.
HEAPS OF GREENERY: Black clouds form over Burnside Park, just one of the green patches of land in Avonhead.

Dotted with the wellsprings of the mighty Avon River, Avonhead is a middle-class oasis in Christchurch's northwest.

Nestled amongst Burnside to the north, Ilam to the east, Hornby to the south and Russley to the West, its archetypal suburban aesthetic blends seamlessly into quasi-rural lifestyle blocks.

Why should I move there?

AVONHEAD MALL: Covers most shopping needs.
AVONHEAD MALL: Covers most shopping needs.

Avonhead's wide, tree-lined streets and numerous cul-de-sacs are interspersed with more than 10 green spaces, notably Avonhead and Burnside parks.

It's a benign melting-pot of cultures and demographics. It has a mix of blue and white collared professionals, as well as the odd student flat.

Young families can be seen walking to school in the mornings, sharing the footpath with teenagers tootling off to class at nearby Burnside High School.

LOCAL GRUB: Breakfast at Cafe Euro.
LOCAL GRUB: Breakfast at Cafe Euro.

Avonhead is also a haven for the elderly: retirees can be seen carving up the bowling green on Avonhead Rd, located one street away from Maidstone Hospital, a residential care facility for those needing extra support.

Notably, Avonhead emerged relatively unscathed from the earthquakes.

Why it's not for everyone

Avonhead is beneath the flight path and on a main route for freight trucks. These are noisy, especially for those in homes without double-glazing.

At other times, Avonhead is deafeningly quiet, which can feel claustrophobic and depressing.

Avonhead also recently lost its only video shop.

What's the transport like?

Avonhead is about 10 minutes' drive from the Christchurch Airport and about 25 minutes from the city centre.

Red Bus has the suburb well-covered, with three buses (the 3 Airport/Sumner, the 23 Hyde Park/Woolston and the Comet) covering landmarks such as Christchurch Airport, Canterbury University, Westfield Riccarton mall, The Hub (Hornby Mall), Christchurch Hospital, Eastgate Shopping Centre, the International Antarctic Centre, Bishopdale Mall and Northlands Mall.


Avonhead has three preschools - Avonhead Montessori, a Kindercare Learning Centre and Portobello Preschool.

It has two primary schools - Avonhead and Merrin St, and is also close to Westburn and Russley Primary schools.

Much of the suburb is in-zone for Burnside and Riccarton High Schools.


Avonhead has an 18-shop mall that includes a bookshop/post office, bakery, florist, jeweler, pharmacy, gift shop, ANZ bank, Countdown, two hairdressers, two women's clothing shops and a travel agent.

Next door to the mall, a newer strip of shops includes a Nurse Maude hospice shop, beauty therapist and spa, quilting supplies shop, optometrist, and Charisma gym.

Burnside Park is the homeground of Burnside rugby and tennis clubs. The clubrooms are a popular venue for birthdays.

The Burnside Bowling Club is just down the road, while Avonhead Tennis Club can be found at Crosbie Park.  

Where to eat

Cafe Euro is located in the strip of shops next door to the mall. If you're keen on a pub vibe, head over the hedge to Monteith's Brew Bar.

Avonhead is also handy to Waimairi shops, where you can buy the best French pastries in Christchurch from The Village Bakehouse.

Types of houses

Avonhead's houses range from the newer ones in Hyde Park subdivision, built about 20 years ago, to about 50 years old.

There's everything from your ordinary bungalow to your executive home - a single or double storey house with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, two to three living areas with an internal access garage.

Where to buy

All of Avonhead is highly desirable because of its close proximity to high decile schools, says Nicky Brownlee, sales manager at Harcourts Grenadier.

Market values

Houses range from the mid $300,000s for a unit, to as high as $1 million for an executive home.

Best buys

38a Yardley St has four bedrooms and two bathrooms, and a single garage. It's going to auction on August 14.

Murfitt St borders Riccarton Park and has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a double garage on a full-size, 724 m square section. It's going for $479,000.

What the locals say

Helen Gardner: "It's close to amenities which makes life easy for me. It's also close to the airport, Burnside park, and friends. It's a well-kept, orderly, safe place - an easy place to live. The shopping centre caters mainly for the elderly and the middle-class, but it's pleasant and friendly. You can live here happily for a month without going anywhere else."

Emily Pyatt: "I love it! [It has a] great array of different socioeconomic groups and cultures. I feel totally safe walking by myself at night time, as well."

Hamish Cook: "Avonhead mall has fantastic rice balls."