Christchurch Airport is New Zealand’s gateway to the matchless beauty of the South Island, made famous by the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. Located just over seven miles from Christchurch city centre in its Harewood suburb, the airport is well supplied with public transport options, including three municipal bus routes, shuttles and a plethora of taxis. However, the preferred means of touring the South Island’s magnificent volcanic countryside and glacial peaks is with car hire in Christchurch Airport, which is easily arranged at the terminal.
Who to Book With
No less than nine car and campervan rental companies are established at Christchurch Airport, including Hertz, Avis, Thrifty, Budget and several Kiwi companies including ExploreMore and Maui Rentals. The car hire offices are found in the International Arrivals hall or the main hall, with vehicles rented on a pre-booked or walk-up basis.
Need to Know Essentials
The following documents will need to be presented at vehicle collection:
- Your home country valid driver’s licence
- The credit card used to make the reservation
- Your passport to confirm your ID
- Confirmation of booking
For more info read our FAQ's.
New Zealand drives on the left. Journey times are tricky to calculate as rural roads can be narrow, winding and steep, and vary from motorway standard to dirt tracks. Most motorways and major roads have a 62mph speed limit, with limits clearly marked in kilometres. Seatbelts must be used by all occupants and only hands-free mobile phone usage while driving is permitted. In rural areas, drivers should watch out for farm animals, and winter visitors should carry snow chains and ensure winter tyres are fitted by their rental company, especially if driving in mountainous regions. Petrol stations are common in urban areas but less so on rural roads, and most accept card payment.
See our guide to New Zealand for more information on driving here.
Arrivals at Christchurch Airport have a choice of onward transportation options, from local buses through hotel and pre-booked shuttles to taxis and car hire. In practice, pre-booked cars give the fastest getaway. Buses are the cheapest mode of transport, with taxis and pre-booked shuttles the most expensive.
There is no rail link between Christchurch Airport and Christchurch city, but the city’s main rail station in Addington offers TranzAlpine services to Greymouth and TranzCoastal services to Picton.
Two taxi ranks are found outside the terminal, the first outside the Regional Lounge and the second outside the International Arrivals hall. Several licensed taxi companies operate here, with all cabs metered and the journey to city hotels taking around 20 minutes and costing around £40.
Christchurch Airport to Christchurch city centre is about £25
Christchurch Airport to Lyttleton is about £20
Christchurch Airport to Kaiopoi is about £15
The airport offers a choice between pre-bookable shuttle minibuses and a public bus service, with the public buses operated by Christchurch Metro, running every half-hour or so and costing around £3 for the 30-minute journey. Door-to-door shuttle buses are more convenient, but considerably more expensive (unless you’re travelling a group), at around £10 for the first person and £2.50 for each passenger thereafter.
Christchurch Airport offers a comparatively new international terminal and a domestic terminal which is undergoing expansion that is due to be complete in 2013. Carriers here offer a wide range of New Zealand and Australian regional destinations combined with international routes to Japan, the UAE, Singapore and Thailand. Visitors from the West can fly to Auckland and take a short JetStar or Air New Zealand flight from the North Island airport at Auckland to Christchurch.
Parking at the airport is divided into Premium, the closest car park to the terminals, Short Term, just a few minutes’ walk away, and Long Term, a five-minute walk away. Only the Premium car park is covered, and the first 10 minutes of parking in all car parks is free. Subsequently, rates range from £2.50 for 20 minutes up to a daily maximum long-term stay charge of around £12, or £40 per week.
Wi-Fi internet access is provided in both the domestic and international areas.
There are information desks in the Domestic Terminal and the International Arrivals area.
Service Centre: +64 3 353 7774
Assistance for passengers with reduced mobility is provided on request, with facilities for the disabled including wheelchair-accessible areas, Braille ATMs, lifts to all floor levels, medical assistance, dedicated car parking bays and adapted toilets. Assistance is provided on request for boarding and deplaning.
Restaurants and Bars
Christchurch Airport is well set-up, both landside and airside, with places to eat, drink, snack and relax. In the public area, there’s a Burger King, the Noodle Bar, a ‘life-choice’ eatery named Healthy Habits, the Sakura Sushi bar and several bars and cafés. Beyond security in the Departures lounge, you’ll find the Coffee Club, Espresso to Go and Grab & Fly’s deliciously fresh juices, smoothies and healthy snacks. In the International Arrivals hall there’s the Long White Café and in the Domestic Arrivals area you’ll find the South Bar and Café.
Singapore Airlines Lounge
Air New Zealand Lounge
Money and ATMs
A Bank of New Zealand branch is found on the ground floor, close to the check-in desks, but does not offer currency exchange as does the Travelex Forex desk close-by. ATMs are found in all areas, with several offering Australian dollars as well as New Zealand currency.
Shopping is available in both the Domestic and International Departures lounges, as well as in the main hall. JR Duty-Free outlets are found in the International Departures and Arrivals areas, and offer cosmetics, perfumes, alcohol and tobacco products. In addition, Ballantynes sells New Zealand merino wool fashions and outdoor gear, and Relay offers magazines and books. Before security you’ll find Antarctica and Global Culture with their themed gifts and souvenirs, as well as Luggage Solutions and MAC cosmetics.