Upper Riccarton, Christchurch: A Must-See for the Best of Both Worlds — Traditional Culture and Retail Shopping!

Upper Riccarton Christchurch NZ

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One of the many thriving suburbs within Christchurch, Upper Riccarton has its own unique contribution to the city. 

Conveniently located towards the west of the city centre, it offers a desirable mix of residential, retail, and educational opportunities that make the community an ideal place to live in. Further adding to its appeal is the presence of historical, cultural and natural landmarks. From centuries-old churches to tranquil parks to bustling markets, it is a suburb that has something to offer to everyone. 

Luckily for our customers, Upper Riccarton is just a few minutes away from our Lovoir day spa! After spending a day with us for glam and pampering, consider a side trip to this part of town for some greenery, history, and a whole lot of shopping! Here’s everything you need to know before planning your visit.


Situated in the western part of Christchurch, Upper Riccarton finds itself surrounded by the picturesque backdrop of the Port Hills and nearby the sparkling waters of the Waimakariri River. With a harmonious blend of residential streets, open spaces, and commercial areas, its geography provides a balance that appeals to families, professionals, and students.

The cherry on top is its proximity to key transport links, creating a convenient connection to the rest of the city and ensuring residents that the heart of Christchurch is never too far away.

Upper Riccarton Houses Christchurch NZ


Not to be mistaken for Riccarton  — one of the city’s most well-known suburbs to its east — Upper Riccarton is an attractive community in its own right, covering the statistical areas of Upper Riccarton, Bush Inn and Wharenui. It is home to a diverse population of mixed ethnic backgrounds, age groups, and professions, standing as a melting pot that encapsulates the broader New Zealand society.

According to recent census data, the area has experienced steady growth, particularly among young families and professionals. The presence of the University of Canterbury adds to the vibrant youth culture, drawing students both locally and internationally.

For you to get to know the neighbourhood even better, here are some must-knows about the Upper Riccarton demographics and population (as of the 2022 New Zealand census):

  • Upper Riccarton is a growing community. With an estimated population of 7,980 residents, Upper Riccarton has seen steady growth through the years. It saw a whopping 21.8% increase in residents since the 2006 census, a big surge versus other suburbs in the city, which may hint at the neighbourhood’s special appeal to locals.

  • Upper Riccarton has a strong Asian community. While more than half to the population are of European/Pākehā descent estimated at 56.6% (as is the case with all Christchurch suburbs), there is a significant number of Asians, making up 35% of the community which is considerably higher than the average of other neighbourhoods. The rest are 7.5% Māori, 4.4% Pacific peoples, and 3.7% other ethnicities.

  • Upper Riccarton supports a diverse mix of religions. Like other Christchurch suburbs, the majority of religious residents are Christians, estimated at 40.1% of the population. However, this does not take away from the other beliefs within the community, wherein 3.5% are Hindu, 2.8% are Muslim, 1.6% are Buddhism, and 3.5% belong to other religions.

  • Upper Riccarton is a young neighbourhood. Interestingly enough, Upper Riccarton has an equal ratio of residents aged 29 and below, and those aged 30 and above. 

  • Upper Riccarton has stable, empowered residents. Out of those of work-appropriate age, most are employed either full-time or part-time, while only 5.2% are unemployed. This hints at the general stability of the community’s residents.


The cultural tapestry of Upper Riccarton is rich and multifaceted. From traditional Māori heritage to the influences of various immigrant communities, the suburb offers a delightful cultural experience.

St. Peter's Anglican Church Upper Riccarton NZ

Upper Riccarton offers a great experience for those looking for a casual, unassuming blend of traditional residential living and a modern lifestyle. The neighbourhood is teeming with everyone you need – quaint and comfy homes, an array of quality schools, a library, a shopping mall, restaurants and retail establishments, groceries, churches, and everything else that is necessary in a residential community.

The neighbourhood is also surrounded by cultural landmarks important to the city, like the Riccarton House and Bush (in neighbouring suburb of Riccarton), the University of Canterbury and Jellie Park (in neighbouring suburb Ilam), Hagley Park (in the city centre), and many more. 

As such, Upper Riccarton serves as a convenience hub to access both residential amenities and the cultural wonders of the city. 


Education in Upper Riccarton is highly regarded, boasting several top-rated schools for different age groups, all focusing on both academic excellence and holistic development.

Riccarton High School Christchurch NZ

An added advantage of the suburb is its close proximity to the University of Canterbury, which lies just a few minutes away in neighbouring suburb, Ilam. 

Upper Riccarton’s commitment to education is also evident in well-equipped libraries and community education centres. This includes the Upper Riccarton Library, a community library and joint school library with Riccarton High. Apart from books and learning materials, residents can also enjoy its quaint cafe, set of meeting rooms, and other community resources.

Upper Riccarton Library Christchurch NZ


Upper Riccarton isn’t merely a residential haven; it’s also a tourist hotspot. The suburb offers a plethora of attractions, from the historic Riccarton House and Bush to the expansive Hagley Park.

For the shopaholics, the Bush Inn Centre provides endless shopping and retail therapy. Food enthusiasts can explore a variety of cuisines at local restaurants that reflect the multicultural fabric of the area.

Nature lovers can enjoy tranquil walks in the Riccarton Bush or partake in the vibrant weekly farmers’ market. From historical landmarks to entertainment venues, the tourism offerings in Upper Riccarton are as diverse as its residents.

A suburban delight for Christchurch city, Upper Riccarton is a fascinating blend of tradition and modernity. Whether you’re a resident enjoying the daily offerings of this vibrant community or a visitor exploring its many charms, Upper Riccarton presents an ever-engaging experience that is definitely worth the trip!

Bush Inn Shopping Centre Upper Riccarton Christchurch NZ