How to Get Around Christchurch
The cheap and easy way to get around Christchurch: take the bus. Although the large South Island city doesn’t have a very varied local transport system, you’ll find that you can get to most places on their super extensive bus network. What’s more, you can save money on public transport in Christchurch with a prepaid card. Other transport options within the city include a ferry service, taxis and a city tram!
To pay for public transport in Christchurch you’ll either need cash or a Metrocard. Fares are determined by zones, which are based on the distance of travel. The more zones you travel through the higher the fare. When you pay by cash, you get a free transfer to another bus route within two hours using your ticket. When using a Metrocard you get an unlimited number of transfers within two hours.
So follow the Christchurch public transport guide below to see how to get around – you might even want to hit these 45 Best Things to Do in Christchurch.
Should You Get a Metrocard?
The Metrocard is a way of paying for Christchurch’s public transport without rummaging for change. More to the point, the Metrocard gives you at least 25% off the fare price. This card is only worth getting if you are planning on staying in Christchurch for a while, as you have to buy the card for NZ$10 and be topped up with a minimum of NZ$10.
All you need to do with the prepay smart card is load it up with some money, tell the bus driver your destination, and swipe it on the electric card reader.
To buy your Metrocard, order online or go to one of the many Metrocard agents, such as the Bus Interchange (corner Lichfield St and Colombo St) or any library. Remember to bring valid ID and/or go in with an already completed application form from the Metro website so they can issue you a card. You then top up your balance either online by creating an account on the Metro website or face-to-face at the Bus Interchange or another Metro agent.
Bus Services in Christchurch
The Christchurch bus network is the most extensive and essentially the only cheap and useful public transport network in Christchurch. If you are travelling to and from the region’s suburbs and attractions, then there will be a bus service to get you there.
Remember, you will need to signal the driver to get the bus to stop at a quiet stop.
Christchurch Bus Interchange
The Bus Interchange is the transport hub of Christchurch. It is situated on the corner of Lichfield Street and Colombo Street. There are plenty of maps and timetables to help you plan your journey, as well as real-time arrival screens.
You can also ask questions at the Metro Info Counter and buy a Metrocard from there. In short, head to the Christchurch Bus Interchange if you have any doubt about getting around the city by bus.
Christchurch City and Suburb Bus Services
All the local bus services you’ll ever need in Christchurch include:
- The Orbiter (Or) – Eastgate Shopping Centre – St Martins – Princess Margaret Hospital – Barrington Mall – Westfield Riccarton – Burnside High School – Northlands – – The Palms – Eastgate Shopping Centre
- Blue Line (1) – Princess Margaret Hospital or Cashmere – Sydenham Shops – Bus Interchange – Manchester St Super Stop – Northlands – Belfast – Kaiapoi – Rangiora
- Purple Line (3) – Christchurch Airport or Sheffield Cres – Avonhead Mall – University of Canterbury – Westfield Riccarton – Christchurch Hospital – Bus Interchange – Ara Institute – Ferrymead – Sumner
- Yellow Line (5) – Rolleston – Templeton – The Hub Hornby – Westfield Riccarton – Christchurch Hospital – Bus Interchange – Manchester St Super Stop – Eastgate Shopping Centre – New Brighton
- Orange Line (7) – Halswell – Addington – Christchurch Hospital – Bus Interchange – Manchester St Super Stop – The Palms – Burwood Hospital – Queenspark
- 17 – Sheffield Cres – Rossall St / Leinster Rd – Park Tce – Bus Interchange – Moorhouse Ave – Waltham – St Martins – Huntsbury
- 28 – Northwood – Casebrook – Bishopdale – Northlands Mall – Cranford St – Edgeware Village – Manchester St Super Stop – Bus Interchange – Opawa – Heathcote – Lyttelton – Rapaki
- 29 (Airport) – Bus Interchange – Manchester St Super Stop – Memorial Ave near Fendalton – Christchurch International Airport
- 44 – Dallington – The Palms – Warrington St Shops – Bus Interchange – Manchester St Super Stop – Sydenham Shops – Barrington Mall – Westmorland
- 60 – Wigram – Aidanfield – Hillmorton – Barrington Mall – Christchurch Hospital – Bus Interchange – The Palms – Travis Rd – New Brighton – Southshore
- 80 – Lincoln University – Lincoln Township – Prebbleton – Westfield Riccarton – Christchurch Hospital – Bus Interchange – Eastgate Shopping Centre – Parklands
- 81 – Lincoln University – Prebbleton – Christchurch Hospital – Bus Interchange – Ara Institute
- 85 – Faringdon – Rolleston – Christchurch Hospital – Bus Interchange – Ara Institute
- 86 – Darfield – Kirwee – West Melton – Westfield Riccarton – Christchurch Hospital – Bus Interchange – Manchester St Super Stop
- 87 – Southbridge – Leeston – Doyleston – Irwell – Springston – Lincoln University
- 91 – Rangiora Northern Park and Ride – Rangiora Central Park and Ride – Rangiora Southern Park and Ride – Manchester St near Kilmore St – Manchester St Super Stop – Bus Interchange – Christchurch Hospital
- 92 – Kaiapoi Central Park and Ride – Kaiapoi Southern Park and Ride – Manchester St Super Stop – Bus Interchange – Christchurch Hospital
- 95 – Waikuku Beach – Pegasus – Woodend – Kaiapoi – Silverstream – Belfast – Bus Interchange – Ara Institute
- 97 – Pegasus – Woodend – Rangiora Town Hall – Acacia Avenue
- 100 – Halswell – Wigram – Church Corner – University of Canterbury – Westfield Riccarton – Merivale Mall – The Palms
- 107 – Northwood – Styx Mill – Willowbank Wildlife Reserve – Veitches Rd – Northcote – Northlands Mall
- 120 – Sheffield Cres – Burnside – University of Canterbury – Westfield Riccarton – Addington – Selwyn St Shops – Spreydon – Barrington Mall
- 125 – Redwood – Northlands Mall – Bishopdale Mall – Christchurch International Airport – Avonhead Mall – The Hub Hornby – Westlake – Halswell
- 130 – The Hub Hornby – Hei Hei – Church Corner – Westfield Riccarton – University of Canterbury – Avonhead Mall – Burnside High School
- 135 – New Brighton – Taiora QEII – Burwood Hospital – Prestons – The Palms
- 140 – The Hub Hornby – Russley – Church Corner – Westfield Riccarton – Moorhouse Ave – Eastgate Shopping Centre – Ferrymead Shops – Mt Pleasant
- 155 – Eastgate Shopping Centre – The Tannery – Ferrymead – Lyttelton Wharf
- 820 – Burnham – IZone Business Park – Rolleston – Faringdon Centre – Springston – Lincoln University – Lincoln.
Ferry Services in Christchurch
The Diamond Harbour Ferry transports between Lyttelton and Diamond Harbour. Both commuters and sightseers use the ferry service and it takes about 8 minutes.
The ferry departs at least once an hour during the day between the following times:
- From Lyttelton
Monday-Thursday – 6:15 am – 9:30 pm
Friday – 6:15 am – 10:30 pm
Saturday – 6:50 am – 10:50 pm
Sunday – 7:50 am – 7:50 pm.
- From Diamond Harbour
Monday-Thursday – 6:27 am – 9:42 pm
Friday – 6:27 am – 10:42 pm
Saturday – 7:02 am – 11:02 pm
Sunday – 8:02 am – 8:02 pm.
For the convenience and the fact that you can find taxis operating 24 hours a day, taxis in Christchurch are another way to get around the city.
There are around six taxi companies operating in Christchurch, while Uber also has a presence here.
For more information on Christchurch’s taxi services and Uber, check out Christchurch Cab Fare: Taxi & Uber Prices in Christchurch.
That’s right, there’s a tram in Christchurch. Although, this is meant to be a means of sightseeing more than public transport. If you really want to transport yourself around the city centre in style then the tram would be the way to do so.
The Christchurch tram takes passengers on a small one-way loop of the city centre stopping at 17 different places. You can hop on at any stop. Trams operate every 15-20 minutes and are operated by Christchurch Attractions. Hop-on hop-off tickets are available on Viator and Klook.
Christchurch E-Scooters and E-Bikes
A popular way to get between bus journeys and your destination, or simply around the city centre, is on shared e-scooters and e-bikes.
Check out the Christchurch City Council website to see which e-scooter and e-bike apps to download and some of the simple rules for riding and parking them in the city.
More on Public Transport in Christchurch
That’s it for our guide to public transport in Christchurch, including buses, ferries and trams. Check out these articles for things to do in Christchurch by taking public transport:
- 26 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Christchurch
- 45 Best Things to Do in Christchurch
- 10 Christchurch Travel Tips for First-Timers
Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in The Complete Guide to Christchurch.