Christchurch Transportation Tips by Kakapo2 Top 5 Page for this destination
Christchurch Transportation: 87 reviews and 75 photos
The new Central Station, view from Lichfield St.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT - new Central Station since 25 Oct 2011
Bus service had become veeeery time-consuming, not just because of traffic jams but because we lost the central Bus Exchange (in the Red Zone), and two major hubs that were linked by a shuttle service had been created. So often you needed three buses to get somewhere, and you can imagine to what huge travel times this led.
From today, 25 October 2011, things are going to get better. Hopefully. There is a new Central Station. It is located on a large lot where buidlings have been demolished, between Lichfield and Tuam Streets, and the north/south routes of Durham St/Oxford Tce and Colombo Street. Also the routes are serviced more frequently.
You find the location of Central Station here
For routes and timetables click here
Transport hub launched at Christchurch Airport
The latest news is the creation of a tourist transportation hub at the airport. Let me just copy the text and link in here:
Christchurch Airport has launched a transport hub at the airport for regional and long-distance bus travellers. Regional bus and shuttle services now connecting to the airport include Newmans Coachlines and GreatSights, which presently have routes from Christchurch to Queenstown.
“We wanted to simplify the travel process for people coming in and out of Christchurch following the disruption of the earthquakes,” said Christchurch Airport Manager Commercial Development Matthew Day.
“This is great news for all travellers, as it means you can take a bus service straight to the airport to connect with a flight or with another bus route in the South Island or to meet friends and family in Christchurch,” said Matthew Day.
The Intercity Group which operates the Newmans and GreatSights services is delighted with the development. “This makes travel for our passengers simpler and clearer,” said Sam Peate, General Manager InterCity Group Coaching. “Christchurch Airport is already a transport hub well-serviced by buses, shuttles and taxis, and with good carparking options, so this is a natural fit.”
Matthew Day points out that the new airport terminal has fantastic passenger facilities for use by all travellers, not just people booked on flights. “It’s warm and comfortable, it has lots of seating, pure artesian water, free showers, a fabulous food court and retail shops, as well as travel booking services,” he said.
The airport company began discussions with other transport providers following the earthquakes, when it became clear that there was no longer a central point in the city where travellers could be collected and dropped off. Coupled with traffic problems due to the closure of the CBD, it became clear that the airport could offer a solution.
The existing shuttle and bus services from Christchurch Airport include Knight Rider, the West Coast shuttle, and Budget Shuttles.
Future routes from Christchurch Airport to Dunedin and Picton, and all points in between, are also under consideration. Tickets can be booked through the Travel & Tourism Centres at Christchurch Airport: ph 0800 LOVE NZ (0800 568 369).
The link: http://www.christchurchairport.co.nz/CorporateAndCommunity/MediaCentre/article-2585/transport-hub-launched-at-christchurch-airport/
Link to the bus companies that run their tours starting at the airport:
Phone: 0800 744 487
Phone: 0800 317 057
West Coast Shuttle
Phone: 03 768 0028
Phone: 03 615 5119
Phone: 03 365 1114
Update Feb. 2012
Bus transport between city and airport
The #10 bus service from Cashmere to the airport does not operate anymore. Due to this change the #29 Airport Bus now runs half hourly instead of once per hour, as before. The journey takes 25 minutes from Central Station to/from the airport.
The first bus trip from the city to the airport is at 6.15am and the last one at 9.50pm during the week. Service from the airport to the city between 6.45am and 10.20pm.
More information on
The #3 bus (Sumner) still goes to the airport via Central Station. The trip takes 35 minutes from there to the airport. However, if you stay at a motel in Riccarton this bus would be the best choice for you as it travels through Riccarton Road. One of the stops is at Westfield Riccarton shopping mall.
Check out here:
Welcome to Chch Airport. Beagle Jet controls bags.
If you want to start or end your NZ trip in Christchurch, or both, the most comfortable way of getting here is by chosing an airline that flies directly to Christchurch, and not via Auckland, check out the luggage, check it in again, and then walk or shuttle from the International Airport to the Domestic Airport. Immigration procedures in Christchurch normally go faster as less flights arrive.
Before being able to test Air Asia after 1 April 2011, my number one airline from Europe has been Singapore Airlines. For example, you board in Frankfurt or London, have a not too long stop in Singapore, and on it goes. In less than 24 hours you are in Christchurch.
The service aboard is fabulous - and much better than I have experienced with Emirates which also services Christchurch directly. The airport in Singapore is a million times better and more comfortable than Dubai where the people were lying all over the place, so you can really relax until the flight goes on, with a massage, shower or swim, on a lounger or stretched out over several seats. Not to speak of the innumerable shops, restauants and cafés. As Singapore Airlines is a Star Alliance member you have a lot of possibilities to use your airpoints, whereas it does not help a lot that Emirates has an alliance with Air Lanka...
The Emirates flight s not a real direct flight from Dubai as the Christchurch flight has an additional stop in Sydney. (The Auckland flight is via Melbourne.)
All Air Zealand flights go via Auckland. Qantas, of course, stops in Sydney.
Direct flights to destinations in Australia are also with Pacific (Virgin) Blue and Jetstar, to the South Pacific with Pacific Blue and Air Pacific, and Air New Zealand to the Cook Islands.
Domestic airline services are with Air New Zealand, Qantas and Pacific (Virgin) Blue. In June/July. From June 2009 JetStar operates flights to Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown, and replaces Qantas on those itineraries.
Update May 2008
I threw out some small airlines that do not operate anymore.
Update April 2009
There are no more direct flights to Christchurch with Korean Air.
Update July 2010
You do not have to pay the NZ$ 25 departure fee before international flights anymore. The fee is now included in the ticket price.
Update 25 March 2012
The Air Asia dream is over
Air Asia has just announced that it will discontinue its direct (and cheap) flights between Kuala Lumpur and Christchurch at the end of May 2012. This follows the earlier decision to cancel the routes from KL to Paris and London at the end of this month. Sky-rocketing fuel prices were given as the reason for the end of the service.
The short success story below.
Update 27 April 2011 - and update of the update 17 January 2012
AIR ASIA FLIGHTS TO CHRISTCHURCH
Kuala Lumpur-based budget airline Air Asia has been flying to Christchurch since 1 April 2011. Paris and London are the European cities from where you can fly to Christchurch via Kuala Lumpur. However, the service from Kuala Lumpur to Paris and London will be discontinued by the end of March 2012. The company names high fuel prices and less demand in Europe as the reason for stopping this service. (What a shame! I had planned to use AirAsia this year to Paris, spend a few days there, and after that carry on to my final destination in Germany by train...)
So - as a tourist from Asia you will be unaffected by the change, and if you can get a cheapish flight from Europe to KL you can still use AirAsia for the leg between KL and Christchurch. The company claims that they cut the prices of major airlines by 50 per cent. I had checked out their flights on a regular base and they were really a lot cheaper than Air NZ and comparable competitors.
You can book flights online and in travel agencies:
Update 31 October 2011
Air New Zealand has just launched direct flights between Christchurch and Japan. There are three flights per week.
The tramway stop on Cathedral Square.
Update Feb. 2012
Since the 22 February 2011 earthquake neither the tramway nor the gondola are operating.
As the tramway in the city centre has been revived for tourists in 1995 it is not a cheap option to get around, as a bus ticket for two hours just costs you NZ$ 2.80, and you could well walk the loop the tramway covers. But it is nice and even nostalgic.
The tram has 11 stops:
Botanic Gardens and Museum
New Regent Street
The ticket just for the tram costs NZ$ 12.50 and is valid for 2 days.
The tram operates 9am-6pm (April to October) and 9am-9pm (November to March).
Every night at 7.30pm is the departure of the Tramway Restaurant where you can already digest your meal while rattling on the rails... ;-)
If you plan a ride on the tram and the gondola buy a combo ticket. Whereas a single tramway ticket would cost you $ 12.50 and a gondola ticket $18 a combo ticket comes to only $25, so you save $5.50.
All prices as Jan. 2007.
Other Contact: www.gondola.co.nz
Phone: 366 7830 (tram), 384 0700 (gond)
Update Feb. 2012
As the central city is cordoned off since last year's earthquakes the yellow bus and my tip are not needed at the moment...
When you a tired from walking in the city centre the sight of a yellow bus can be rather delightful. It is a service free of charge - and sometimes, on rare occasions, the bus is not yellow... just red because the Red Bus Company runs it... But then you recognise it by the "Free Service" displayed at the front of the bus.
It runs from 7.30/8am to 10.30pm (Sunday only until 8pm) and most time every 10 minutes, so a bus is never far away.
The stops are not identical with the stops of the Metro Bus System but easily recognisable. They are big pastel yellow signs with the red and green S of the Shuttle. At every stop is a map of the route.
In some parts the route is a little tricky as this bus runs a one way route although it runs up and down Colombo Street... but only between Armagh and St. Asaph Street. Between St. Asaph St and Moorhouse Ave it only runs south, then turns left into Moorhouse Ave and back north again in Barbadoes St, then left again into St. Asaph, from where it turns right back into Colombo St.
North of Cathedral Square the one way route leads up to Peterborough St where the bus stops at the Convention Centre and at the Casino, turning into Victoria St and then through Armagh St back into Colombo St.
If you get on the bus in the wrong direction it does not matter. Just use it as a free city sightseeing tour ;-) As it runs mostly on electricity it is even an environmentally friendly service.
Route and timetable on the website.
Update 31 March 2008
In the past weeks I have seen quite some tourists on those yellow buses, with their cameras ready to shoot. Be aware that there is nothing attractive to see south of Cathedral Square, some roads the bus passes are even a bit shabby. Most people use it to go grocery shopping at South City, Pack'n'Save and Moorhouse Central. This is not a sightseeing bus.
Nigel Cooper at work.
Update February 2011
Due to earthquake damage, the company relocated from 248 St. Asaph Street to 58 Manchester Street, more or less around the corner.
This is the perfect company if you plan to start and finish your NZ trip in Christchurch or if you just want to explore the surroundings of Christchurch like the Summit Road, Banks Peninsula (Akaroa) or attractions (like Orana Park) that cannot be reached by bus. Or if you just want to get around fast in your limited time without bussing back to the Bus Exchange.
The company is owner-run and Nigel Cooper lives with and for his cars and it is centrally located in Manchester Street, just one block south of St. Asaph Street, at the corner with Southwark Street (towards Moorhouse Ave). You can easily walk there from Cathedral Square or the Bus Exchange.
The rates are great, and we have tested a car ourselves and visiting friends who hired cars there were also very satisfied with the quality of the cars and the rates.
If you rent for a minimum of four days you get a compact car for 24 to 49 NZ $, depending on the season. Such hires include unlimited kilometres.
Nigel also has convertibles (89 to 109$), people movers and campervans (both 69 to 104$). One of his fun cars is a red Mazda X5, if you want to spend a few dollars more.
Other Contact: Toll free in NZ: 0800 233 673
Phone: +64 (0) 3-377 5582
Type: Car/Motor Home
Update March 2010
Everything is getting more expensive, so the Five Dollar Bus has become the Seven Dollar Bus. Just updated this, the rest of the info stays the same.
The slogan of the Seven Dollar Bus is simple: Turn up, hop on, gone within 5 minutes.
Departures from Cathedral Square, next to the Tramway stop on Worcester Blvd, every 20 minutes between 8am and 5pm. As the name of the bus suggests the fare is NZ$7.
As it is a shuttle service you can also get a ride from the airport to the Square.
The buses are mini-buses, not big coaches. As it is a direct service it is the fastest way to get to the airport - apart from taxis.
The fastest public bus (Metro System) would also cost you $7. This is the Airport Flyer which goes directly to the airport from Cathedral Square. This trip takes about 25 minutes.
Between 7am and 8pm departures every 30 minutes from Monday to Friday, on Saturday from 8.35am and on Sunday from 9.05am. Stops outside the Bus Exchange on Lichfield Street, in Gloucester Street opposite the City Library and on Cambridge Terrace by the Bridge of Rememberance.
More info about the public airport bus which operates from 6am to 11pm on weekdays:
It takes only four or five minutes longer to travel on the regular #10 bus (Cashmere - Airport via Bus Exchange; destination: Harewood) which stops several times along the way - but if you have the Metrocard it would cost you only $ 2.70 (otherwise $7 like the other airport bus). On weekdays the first bus leaves at 5.21am at the Bus Exchange, and the last one at 11.40pm.
There are also door to door shuttles which you share with other travellers. The costs range from $12 to 20. Taxis to the city centre cost about $40.
See more details about those shuttles in an extra tip.
View to the mountains from Springfield.
Many people are interested in travelling on the TranzAlpine train. It is a spectacular trip from Christchurch to Greymouth or vice-versa.
As the trip leads through the regions of Canterbury and the West Coast, I have posted more information about it on my South Island page, including photo travelogues.
If you plan to shop till you drop, the Orbiter is the bus to go with. It connects all the big shopping malls in Christchurch, which are:
This bus route also services Barrington Mall which is more for the daily needs, not a mall to spends hours in.
Other points where the bus passes are Princess Margaret Hospital, St. Martins and the University.
It is part of the Metro System, so with a Metro Card you would only pay $4.20 (as Aug. 2008) to get around the whole day. Single fare $ 2.80.
If you are in the city centre, I would take a red bus from the Bus Exchange to Riccarton Mall, and then get on the Orbiter to the other malls.
Bus lines to Riccarton operate every some minutes, for example routes 5 (Hornby), 19 (Burnside), 21 (Ilam), 81 (Lincoln), 83 (Hei Hei) and 84 (Russley). They all depart from platform B (downstairs) of the Bus Exchange.
Also route 3 (Avonhead) passes at Riccarton Mall, but this one departs from platfrom C.
The bus is the best and cheapest way to get around
You get to most places by bus, and if you plan to stay several days the cheapest way to get around is getting a Metro Card at the Bus Exchange (Lichfield/Colombo Streets). If you want to apply for a card do not forget a piece of identification (passport, drivers licence etc.).
The card is free, you just have to load 10 $ at the start. By paying with it in the bus one trip costs only 2.10 instead of 2.80 NZ-Dollars, and you will not pay more than 4.20 $ per day!
If you buy a single ticket for 2.80 $ this is only valid for one transfer within two hours. This is already cheap but the cost with the Metro Card is a lot cheaper if you plan do do more than two trips per day, and you have unlimited transfers within the first two hours.
Also the trips to the airport and the ferry trip from Lyttelton to Diamond Harbour have cheaper fares with the Metro Card.
Within the inner city there is a free bus service on a one-way-route. The buses are easily recognisable, they are yellow, and the name is "The Shuttle". They have their own stops which are not far away from the stops of the Metro system.
There is no bus service to some few attractions like Orana Park but there is the "Black Bus" which offers (rather expensive) roundtrips to major places of interest. If you want to travel on the Summit Road you need a rental car. See my tip about Affordable Cars.
Update 31 March 2008
The Metro service have just announced a new bus service that passes at the Willowbank. Bus #11 from the Bus Exchange (in front of Ballantynes), towards Northwood.
Update 23 August 2008
The bus fares have gone up, I have updated them in my tip.
Phone: (03) 366 8855
The railway station at Tower Junction.
If you do not want to invest $ 40 to 50 for a taxi after a trip on the TranzAlpine train you can use public transportation.
If you want to travel to the city centre you have to take the #51 bus (final destination: New Brighton), and get off at the Bus Exchange. This is just about 100 metres from Cathedral Square.
If you want to go to the airport you have the choice of two bus lines. First the #51 bus, second: the Orbiter.
I recommend to take #51 as it goes to the Bus Exchange, and this stop is easily recognisable and known to every bus driver. (From the Orbiter you have to get off at Memorial Ave - but sometimes the drivers cannot tell you the correct stop.) From there you can travel on the same ticket to the airport by #10 bus (Harewood). You arrive inside the Bus Exchange; departure of the airport bus #10 is outside on the opposite side of Colombo Street.
The other advantage is that the bus will surely wait for the arrival of the TranzAlpine (scheduled for 6.05pm) as the stop is a terminal stop. Scheduled departure is at 6.12pm Mon - Fri and 6.17pm on Sat - no bus at this time on Sunday!
The trip to the Bus Exchange takes 8 minutes - can be some minutes more, but it really is a very short trip. The trip from there to the airport in the #10 bus takes less than 30 minutes. (The special Airport bus costs extra and more and is only a few minutes faster, so no need for that.)
You can check out connections on www.metroinfo.co.nz
BUT: It only gives you results for the Orbiter/#10 trip, not for #51 LOL Really complicated - but in fact very simple. When I asked at the Railway Station which bus they would use they gave me a folder of the #51 bus :-)
Anyway... If you want to check the journey planner you have to type: Tower Junction as the starting point (if you put in Railway Station you get no result - but it is right at Tower Junction). The final destination is: Christchurch International Airport (this is 20 metres from domestic).
When you walk out of the railway station you have to walk to the left, it is less than 100 metres to the bus stop. The final destination of the bus is New Brighton.
And if for whatever reason you miss the bus you can still take the next Orbiter at 6.30pm - or a taxi. At the station they said there are always plenty of taxis for the arrival of the TranzAlpine, and if not, they call more cars. During the day you will not see any taxi there as the TranzAlpine and TranzCoastal are the only trains that stop at the Chch Railway Station.
To carry on with those ridiculous transportation options...
The TranzCoastal arrives at 6.21pm - so no more #51 bus. If you do not want to invest in a taxi you depend on the Orbiter. Airport transfer as above. Transfer to the city centre: Get off at Westfield Riccarton (big shopping mall, every driver can tell you); from there nearly all city bound buses go to the Bus Exchange (## 3, 5, 19, for example).
For the trips to the Railway Station you have to use the Orbiter options as the first #51 buses at the Bus Exchange depart at 7.31am during the week, and 8.56am on Sat/Sun - but the TranzCoastal departs at 7am... The same applies for the TranzAlpine although departure is at 8.15am - but you have to check in half an hour before departure.
What I would do: Taxi from the city centre as it is only a short trip, SuperShuttle for longer trips. Of course, you can also book the SuperShuttle or similar shuttle services for the trip from the Railway Station to the airport.
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