Riccarton, Christchurch: A Must-See For A Cultural Blend of History and Modern Living

Riccarton Christchurch NZ

In This Article

Welcome to Riccarton! A bustling residential area in Christchurch, New Zealand, that successfully blends history, diversity, and modern living.

Known as one of the more vibrant suburbs in the city, Riccarton is rich in history, culture, residential comforts, and modern living. Alongside its beautiful homes are a plethora of breathtaking landmarks – from the heritage site Riccarton House and Bush to commercial hotspot Westfield Riccarton. 

Moreover, it is just a stone’s throw away from the Christchurch city centre, making it an easy destination from our day spa Lovoir and other city conveniences. 

An ideal blend of tradition and modernity, Riccarton remains to be one of the most sought-after suburbs for locals and tourists alike. If ever you find yourself in this side of town, here’s everything you need to know to make your visit worth it!


Nestled in the heart of Christchurch, Riccarton lies west of the city centre, with the boundaries defined by Hagley Park in the east, the railway line in the south, and the Avon River in the north.

Riccarton Bush Christchurch NZ

It is a suburban area renowned for its easy access to the city and beautiful scenery, with verdant public parks and tree-lined residential streets. But perhaps the most striking geographical feature is Riccarton Bush, a 600-year-old forest reserve, standing as a testament to the once widespread kahikatea floodplain forest that once thrived in the region.


The demographic make-up of Riccarton is as diverse as its landscape. The area covers five areas, four of which are primarily residential (Mona Vale, Riccarton East, Riccarton South, Riccarton West) and one mostly commercial (Riccarton Central). 

According to the Christchurch City Council, it has a vibrant mix of age groups and ethnicities. In fact, it is considered one of the most multicultural suburbs in the city, as well as one of the younger communities compared to other areas. It is particularly popular with young adults and students due to its proximity to the University of Canterbury and various other educational institutions, making it a dynamic and youthful suburb.

Riccarton Community Christchurch NZ

For a deeper understanding of the Riccarton community, here are some fun facts worth knowing as of the latest New Zealand consensus: 

  • Population: Riccarton is one of the bigger suburbs with approximately 10,350 residents.

  • Ethnicities: Compared to other suburbs, Riccarton showcases a more balanced mix of ethnicities, especially among Europeans and other nationalities. Its population is estimated to be 53% European, 39% Asians, 7.5% Maori, 3.5% Pacific peoples, and 4.5% other ethnicities. Apart from English, other common languages in the are are Tagalog (Philippines), Northern Chinese (China), Sinitic  Almost half of the community are born overseas at approximately 48% versus only 27% born nationally.

  • Age groups: Riccarton is a young community with the majority of residents aged below 30 years old. Breaking it down further, 43.2% are between 15 to 29 years old, 37.3% are aged 30 to 64 years old, 11.9% are below 15, and 4.6% are above 65. 

  • Employment: Of those of work-appropriate age, 66% are reportedly employed either full-time or part-time, while 5.2% are unemployed.


Riccarton is rich in cultural diversity, reflected not just in its demographics but also in its array of retail shops and eateries mixed in with comforting residential vibe and community events. 

Riccarton Sunday Market Christchurch NZ

This suburb is known for the weekly Riccarton Market, the largest outdoor market in New Zealand, where you can find a diverse range of goods from fresh produce to artisanal crafts, a testament to the vibrant local culture.

If that wasn’t enough, it is also home to Westfield Riccarton, the oldest shopping mall in Christchurch and one of the largest in New Zealand. Its 54,000 square metres of space includes retail shops, cafes, cinemas, car parking, and more. 

Apart from modern-day living, the suburb’s historical significance is also preserved in landmarks like the historic Riccarton House and Bush, home to the Deans family, one of the earliest to settle in Christchurch. This, along with Riccarton’s multicultural flavour, contributes to a distinct cultural identity unlike any other in Christchurch.


Compared to its neighbouring suburb Upper Riccarton, Riccarton offers a smaller variety of schools. Nonetheless, it boasts a handful of highly reputed primary and secondary schools, providing quality education from early years right through to tertiary level.

Christchurch Girls' High School Riccarton NZ

The area is also close to the University of Canterbury, the second oldest university in New Zealand. The University not only attracts students from across the globe, contributing to the suburb’s cultural melting pot but also plays an important role in driving local development and innovation.


Though primarily a residential suburb, Riccarton attracts visitors with its unique blend of historical and contemporary attractions. 

  • For history and nature: The Riccarton House and Bush provide a serene escape. Visitors can explore the beautifully restored Victorian homestead, enjoy a tranquil walk through the ancient kahikatea forest, or even spot a kiwi during one of the nocturnal tours.
Riccarton House Christchurch NZ

  • For foodies: A trip to Riccarton is incomplete without experiencing its culinary delights. Reflecting its multicultural demographics, Riccarton offers a variety of cuisines ranging from local Kiwi dishes to international fare.

  • For shopping: The Westfield Riccarton, one of New Zealand’s largest shopping malls, is a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike, offering a broad array of shops, eateries, and a cinema complex.

In a nutshell, Riccarton, with its vibrant mix of history, culture, and urban convenience, serves as a charming mirror to Christchurch’s diverse and dynamic spirit. It’s not just a place to live, but an experience to be savoured, making it a must-visit suburb in the heart of Christchurch, New Zealand.

Westfield Riccarton Christchurch NZ