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Getting to Christchurch and Canterbury


Christchurch Airport

Christchurch Airport is New Zealand's second largest airport and boasts all new terminals as of mid-2013. As the gateway to the South Island, the airport services 11 different airlines connecting Christchurch with domestic centres and 11 international airports

  • Brisbane
  • Dubai
  • Gold Coast, Australia
  • Guangzhou
  • Hong Kong
  • Melbourne
  • Nadi
  • Perth
  • Rarotonga
  • Singapore
  • Sydney

Christchurch city centre is a short 20 minutes' drive from the airport and several transport options are available from the terminal including busesrental cars, taxis and shuttles.

Buses from Christchurch Airport

Regular Metro bus services connect the airport to the city centre and many other locations in Christchurch. The Purple Line and Route 29 buses go via the city centre. You can buy your tickets from the driver. Tickets cost $8.50 one way and $15 return. All buses depart from the northern end of the International Arrivals Hall (exit through Door 9).

The Metro bus service is a good way to travel around and familiarise yourself with Christchurch city and surrounds, with buses regularly departing from the Bus Interchange.

Richard Pearse Airport, Timaru

Located 15 minutes from the town of Timaru, Air New Zealand Link operates out of Richard Pearse Airport and connects Timaru with 26 other domestic towns and cities including Auckland and Wellington.

Sea - Cook Strait crossings

Ferries have been Kiwis' favourite way of crossing Cook Strait for more than 50 years. 5 vessels connect the ports of Wellington and Picton, 3 with the Interislander and 2 with Bluebridge.

The journey takes 3 hours and up to 15 crossings are made per day. You can drive your car or campervan onto the ferry.


KiwiRail Scenic Journeys

KiwiRail Scenic Journeys combine world class scenery and a modern rail system to connect Christchurch and Canterbury with the West Coast.


The TranzAlpine traverses through the Southern Alps connecting the South Island's east and west coasts. Following the Waimakariri River through the Canterbury Plains and eventually climbing into the Southern Alps, the TranzAlpine stops in Arthur's Pass before passing through the Otira tunnel and continuing on to Greymouth.

The TranzAlpine departs daily from Christchurch at 8.15am and Greymouth at 2.05pm, enjoy the idyllic surrounds from the comfort of newly refurbished carriages all year round.

Buses & shuttles

A good supply of buses and shuttles connect South Island towns and cities. Smaller destinations generally offer more of a specialised service where as larger multi-destination services travel to a wide range of towns, cities and communities. 

When planning your trip, keep in mind that buses and shuttles often work around other major transport providers such as Cook Strait ferries or KiwiRail Scenic Journeys.

Rental cars & campervans

For the do-it-yourself types, rental cars and/or campervans are a great way of accessing Christchurch and Canterbury. Although Canterbury is a large and diverse region, an extensive network of highways makes it ideal for touring by motor vehicle.

Christchurch International Airport is centrally located in Canterbury and hosts a wide variety of campervan and car rental companies.

Canterbury travel times

Driving times (in hours and minutes) are approximate and allow for leisurely travel and regular stops.

5.25 Aoraki / Mount Cook
3.15 6.20 Arthur's Pass
2.25 3.30 1.05 Ashburton
1.20 4.40 2.25 1.15 Christchurch
3.40 2.00 0.55 1.20 2.25 Fairlie
3.40 6.20 4.05 3.10 1.50 4.20 Hanmer Springs
3.40 6.50 4.40 3.50 2.25 4.55 1.55 Kaikoura
3.30 1.15 4.30 1.45 2.55 0.30 4.30 5.05 Lake Tekapo
1.55 3.20 2.55 0.30 1.20 1.30 2.55 3.30 2.00 Methven
3.15 2.50 3.20 1.05 2.25 0.55 4.05 4.40 1.20 1.30 Timaru
4.15 0.50 4.40 2.30 3.40 1.15 5.15 5.50 0.45 2.45 2.05 Twizel
3.25 2.35 3.55 1.40 2.50 1.10 4.25 5.00 1.43 2.00 0.35 1.50 Waimate