Burnside, Christchurch: A Must-See For Education, Sports and Leisure

Burnside Christchurch NZ

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A mix of natural landscapes and commercial establishments, Christchurch boasts a relaxing yet fun lifestyle for those who chance upon this city. Another one of its delightful suburbs worth exploring: Burnside.

Just a short drive from our Lovoir Day Spa, Burnside is close enough to the city centre but far away enough for some peace and quiet. It was one of the first suburbs in the northwest that benefited from expansion outside Christchurch city centre. Originally part of a 1700-acre farm owned by William Boag (fittingly remembered as the “Father of Burnside”) in the 1800s, it was only in the 1950s, after servicemen returned home from World World Two, that the area experienced rapid growth and development.

What soon followed was a full-functioning community with new subdivisions and residential necessities like the Burnside High School, parks, theatres, and more. 

Today, Burnside, Christchurch has established its own distinct identity, embodying a perfect mix of tranquillity, culture, and urban life. Let’s take a deep dive into what makes this neighbourhood truly special!


Sprawled across the western flank of Christchurch, Burnside has nature as its closest ally. Hemmed in by the Avon River to the north and the spectacular Waimairi and Wairarapa Streams along its invisible borders, this lush suburb is one that revels in its landscape.

Adorned with several parks, reserves, and small pockets of nature, it is a sneak peek into the greenery that earned Christchurch the reputation as ‘The Garden City‘.

Burnside Landscapes

The unique geography of Burnside doesn’t just lend itself to greenery, but also to a meticulously planned residential layout. Its tree-lined streets, spacious parks, and comfortable homes create an appealing suburban charm. 

Moreover, it is located near the Christchurch International Airport and just a few kilometres from the Christchurch city centre, making it an ideal location for access to convenience, city energy, and outdoor activities.


Home to a community of different cultures, ages, and stages of life, Burnside is as diverse as it is peaceful. A key feature of the community is its healthy mix of young professionals, families, and retirees, reflecting the suburb’s broad appeal. This is amplified by its low crime rate and high-quality choices for education.

As of the 2018 New Zealand census, the Burnside community (which includes Burnside, Burnside Park and Russley) was characterised by the following traits:

  • A growing community. Based on the last population count of 7,713 residents, Burnside has seen significant and steady growth of 7.3% since the 2006 census. This may be reflective of the suburb’s appeal as a place to settle down.

  • A vibrant mix of life stages. 40% of Burnside residents are 29 years old and below, indicating the youthful vibe in the community. On the other hand, majority of residents (at 43.7%) are between 30 and 64 years old, simultaneously showing a more mature profile of residents that are in the career and family stages of life. Lastly, 15.6% are age 65 and older, a group leaning towards retirement years.

  • An inclusive community. Burnside is a blend of different ethnicities and religions. While the majority are New Zealand Europeans at 70%, there is a significant presence of Asians at 24.6% of the population. Adding to the diverse mix are 7.2% indigenous Maori people, 2.9% Pacific peoples, and 3.1% belonging to other ethnicities. As for religion, similar to overall Christchurch, half of the population identify with different beliefs – 39.1% Christians, 2% Buddhist, 1.6% Muslim, and 1.4% Hindu. 

  • A self-sufficient community. Of the work-age-appropriate residents in Burnside, only 3.5% are unemployed. The rest are either employed full-time (48.3%) or part-time (16.4%). The average income of residents is $31,800, similar to that of overall Christchurch.
Burnside Community


As one of the earlier developed suburbs, Burnside has developed a strong sense of culture over the years – one that combines suburban community and city modernity.

Together with its neighbouring suburb, Bryndwr, it is praised for its community initiatives centred on sports and recreation, youth groups, and social services. According to the Christchurch City Council, the combined Bryndwr/Burnside area has a total of 17 community organisations ranging from niche interest groups to large community support programmes. 

These are some examples of the many efforts hosted by the Burnside community to promote unity, inclusivity and progress: 

  • The Christchurch Chinese Church serves the Chinese community by hosting language programmes, providing support during calamities, and more.

Another clear cultural symbol in the suburb is Burnside Park, a leisure and sports venue fostering community ties through shared passions.

Burnside Park

Moreover, the suburb is also very supportive of commercial establishments, inviting businesses to open up shop and add to the appeal of the suburb. You’ll find everything from markets, cafes and restaurants to shopping and retail stores scattered around the area.


Burnside is a place where education is given high priority. It’s home to some of Christchurch’s most respected schools. 

The Burnside High School, established in 1960, is among the four largest schools in New Zealand and is the largest one outside Auckland. It is a secondary school catering to years 9 to 13 and has a reputation for academic excellence and a strong focus on arts and sports.

Burnside High School Christchurch

Other notable schools in Burnside include:

Additionally, the suburb’s proximity to the University of Canterbury makes it an ideal place for students and academicians, adding to the community’s reputation as an educational zone.


Burnside may not be known as a tourist must-see compared to other suburbs like Riccarton and Avonhead, but has become a popular area among locals for its close proximity to the comforts of city life – residential homes, good quality schools, the bustling city centre, green spaces, leisure and creation, and the airport.

If you find yourself exploring this part of town, make sure to visit these spots for some fun:

  • Burnside Park, the suburb’s central park sprawling with well-manicured fields and facilities for sports like rugby, cricket, soccer, squash and tennis. 

  • Jellie Park, which is shared with neighbouring suburb Bryndwr, is both a recreational park and sports centre, equipped with indoor swimming pools and a fitness centre.

  • Russley Golf Club, one of New Zealand’s premier golf courses and a haven for golf enthusiasts or anyone looking for more soothing green views.
Russley Golf Club Burnside Christchurch

  • Burnside is also near the International Antarctic Centre. Although not technically part of the suburb, this tourist attraction is just a few kilometres away and is an easy activity to squeeze in for an immersive Antarctic experience. 

Burnside also offers a great local scene for food trips and shopping. Its main reads Memorial Avenue and Greers Road, as well as other inner streets, are lined with restaurants, cafes, bars, and retail stores.