Essential Christchurch Travel Information
Travel options from Christchurch Airport to the CBD
Bus – Christchurch bus services are available just outside of the airport terminal. There are two bus lines you can take: The 29 Bus Route and the Purple Line.
Buses depart from the northern end of International Arrivals, next to the Novotel hotel (exit through Door 9). Tickets can be purchased directly from the driver.
Taxi – There are several taxi companies that can operate from the airport. There will be taxis ready and waiting when you arrive and exit the terminal.
Shuttle – Shared group taxis are available near the taxi stand, just outside the main terminal.
Uber – Also situated in the shared taxis spot, catch an uber by following the signs across the car park. This is a popular option if you have the app downloaded and ready to go.
Car rental – Major rental car companies operate from the terminal building. Bookings are strongly recommended.
Travel options for getting around Christchurch
There are so many ways to travel around Christchurch and the heart of the South Island – from hiring a vehicle to journeying by tram, bike, ferry or on foot.
Christchurch Bus Interchange – The Bus Interchange is the transport hub of Christchurch. It is situated on the corner of Lichfield Street and Colombo Street.
InterCity Christchurch Buses – InterCity operates one of New Zealand’s lowest-cost transport networks, with bus fares from just $1 (plus booking fee). Over 100 daily services connect more than 600 towns, cities and communities nationwide.
Ferry – The Diamond Harbour Ferry passes between Lyttelton and Diamond Harbour. Both commuters and sightseers use the ferry service, which takes about 8 minutes to complete. The ferry departs at least once each hour during the daytime.
Taxi – There are several taxi companies operating in the city. In a number of popular areas, there will be a taxi stand (airport, centre city and many events), or you can jump online or call to book.
Uber – Uber is widely used around the city – just download the app and you’re ready to go.
Tram – The tram is a great way to explore the central city. Tickets are day-long so you can hop on and off along the way. There is an audio commentary on-board the trams so you can learn about the beautiful city of Christchurch. Trams operate every 15-20 minutes.
Hop-on Hop-off City Tour Bus
Two tour routes available, the Central Tour explores the central city sights and the Discover Tour circumnavigates the outer suburbs. You can also purchase a combo ticket to enjoy both tours, ensuring you make the most of your time in Christchurch!
The Central Tour red loop is operated on an open or closed top double-decker bus and is a one-hour long tour, or you can choose to spend all day hopping on and off at the different stops along the way.
On this tour, you will see how the earthquakes have completely changed the Christchurch central city landscape and you will learn about the exciting rebuild, which is now underway.
Essential Christchurch activities
Christchurch Tram Tours
Buy a day ticket for the beautifully restored Christchurch tramway and you can see the city centre in style – hopping on and off whenever you please. But this isn’t just a great way to travel if you love historic transport – it’s also an excellent way to get to many of the other attractions.
If you need advice on what to do next, your friendly and well-informed local tram driver will be only too happy to help.
When Christchurch’s Anglican church was damaged by the 2011 earthquakes, a temporary replacement was built from cardboard tubes. Rising nearly 80 feet, it’s a truly astonishing structure and is a cornerstone of cultural life in Christchurch.
Enjoy the Canterbury Museum
Canterbury Museum largely escaped the ravages of the earthquake. It’s both fascinating and free, with absorbing galleries dedicated to Māori culture, natural history, Antarctic explorers and the early years of the city itself. In fact, it’s so interesting that you may struggle to tear yourself away!
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
Right behind the Museum, you’ll find the magnificent Botanic Gardens, boasting many plants and shrubs indigenous to New Zealand. Make sure you see the Rose Garden, which feels like it was transported directly from a picturesque English country house.
Shopping at Cashel Mall & Ballantynes
There’s no shortage of great shopping in Christchurch, but the best one is on Cashel Mall. You’ll discover all the most desirable designer brands in the very heart of the city. You’re almost certain to return home with some exciting and unique gifts and keepsakes.
Panoramic Views with the Christchurch Gondola
Take the Gondola cable car and marvel at the uninterrupted cityscape as birds glide far below you. Your breath-taking panorama will include the Canterbury Plains, the Southern Alps and the dramatic hills of Banks Peninsula. Memories that will last a lifetime.
Have a unique tram dinner
The unique restaurant tram is the perfect way to round off your itinerary. Travelling in air-conditioned colonial comfort, you will enjoy fine food and wines whilst traversing the city’s streets at a leisurely pace.
Dinner tours operate almost all year round, but be sure to book ahead – this is one attraction locals love as much as visitors.
CoCa – Centre of Contemporary Art
The Centre of Contemporary Art is a curated art gallery in central Christchurch. The not-for-profit organisation provides free access to modern works of art for the public as well as a platform for contemporary practitioners, in particular prominent New Zealand artists.
Where to stay
Need accommodation in Christchurch? Visit our city in style and stay at one of our two beautifully restored serviced locations in the heart of Christchurch.
Ready to book your next adventure? Simply send us a booking enquiry, and we’ll take care of the rest.