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A Guide to Christchurch
Know Before You Go
- You can't sleep at the airport. If you have an early morning or red-eye flight, you'll have to book a taxi closer to your flight's departure time.
- Book your accommodation in advance. Hotels, hostels and Airbnb's fill up fast. Avoid disappointment by confirming your booking at least three days in advance, even if you're travelling during the quieter months.
- Buy the Metrocard. If you're going to be in the city for longer than a few days and using public transport a lot, you can save up to 25% on fares with this card.
- Go on a bus tour. Christchurch has a few that don't just span the city centre. You'll find ones that take you to the beach or Port Hills, making it easy to explore more of the region without hiring a car.
- Get online for free. If you've run out of data, head to the nearest library, McDonalds or Starbucks and catch up on your emails or messages without spending a dime.
Getting Around Christchurch
- Hit the pavements. If you want to save money, the cheapest way to explore the city is to walk or cycle. Bicycle rentals start at NZD 30 for a full-day rental.
- Hop on board the tram. Christchurch has a historic tram that every visitor needs to try at least once. Day tickets start at NZD 25 for unlimited rides around the city.
- Take the bus. If you want to explore areas outside of the CBD, the public bus has an extensive network. Fares start at NZD 2.55.
Other options include metered taxis, ridesharing services and the city's environmentally friendly Green cabs.
When is The Best Time to Visit Christchurch?
The best time to visit Christchurch depends on what you want to do.
If you want to spend your holiday on the beach, plan your visit between December to February. The city has over 40 nearby beaches, and temperatures hover at a comfortable 22 °C. But these summer months are high season, so you'll need to book your hotel of choice a few months in advance.
To experience why Christchurch is called "The Garden City", book your flights anytime between September to November. The city's gardens will be in bloom and transform it into a kaleidoscope of colours. The high season tourists have yet to arrive, meaning you'll have fewer crowds at the top attractions.
Another beautiful time of year to visit Christchurch is during autumn. From March to May, the city's streets are full of leaves and temperatures peak at 18 °C during the day. Hotels begin to drop their prices as the weather gets colder, making this period a top choice for deal hunters.
Winter (June to August) attracts extreme sports enthusiasts. Travellers from near and far come to tackle Christchurch's 13 ski slopes and relax in its natural thermal pools.
Airports in Christchurch
Christchurch International Airport
Christchurch International Airport is located 12 km from the CBD. It's New Zealand's first international airport and is the second busiest in the country. It's a hub for regional airline Air New Zealand and handles 1,057 flights each week.
Getting to and from Christchurch International Airport
The taxi stands are located outside the arrival terminal. A one-way trip costs NZD 45-65 and will take 15-20 minutes depending on traffic. You'll also have to pay an access fee of NZD 5.50.
One of the cheapest ways to get into the city is with the Airport Hopper. It's a free bus service that runs every 15 minutes between EconoPark and the international arrivals terminal.
The airport shuttle service is another affordable option for travellers. It's cheaper than a taxi, and you'll get dropped off outside your hotel. You can find the shuttle bus rank outside the arrivals hall.
If you aren't in a rush to get to your final destination, you can take the local bus. Tickets cost NZD 8.50 or NZD 15 for a return. The buses leave the airport every 30 minutes and depart from the northern end of the International Arrivals Hall.
There are also car rental services available for travellers who prefer having their own set of wheels.