Car Hire in Christchurch | Compare the rates of all major car hire providers in Christchurch
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Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand with a 2013 population over 341,000 despite losing some residents after the earthquake, making it the third largest conurbation in New Zealand after Auckland and Wellington. It is on the edge of the Canterbury plains and has direct flights to its efficient international airport.
Christchurch International Airport is a major transit airport for international and domestic travellers.
There are international services to and from Australia, China, Cook Islands, Fiji, Singapore, Thailand and United Arab Emirates.
There are frequent daily flights to and from most New Zealand airports (domestic), with direct flights to and from Auckland, Dunedin, Invercargill, Nelson, Queenstown, Rotorua, Wellington and many more destinations. The domestic airlines that serve Christchurch are Air New Zealand and Jetstar Airways.
There is a regular public bus service to the city centre. The 20-30 minute trip and the buses operate half-hourly during the week and at least hourly on weekends.
State Highway One passes around the western edge of the city, past the airport. This is the main north/south arterial road in New Zealand. The stretch from Picton to Christchurch is particularly scenic, including stunning windswept cliffs and seal colonies. State Highway 73 goes to the west, over Arthur's Pass and on to the west coast. From SH73 you can also access Mount Hutt and other regional skifields.
Christchurch is mostly flat, so many people get around on bicycles. Bicycle lanes have been added to many streets to promote cycling.
Navigation by car or bicycle is generally simple due to the grid layout, but watch out for one-way streets and bus-and-taxi-only intersections in the central city. Parking in the city uses a pay and display system.
What to see
Christchurch Cathedral ruins built between 1864 and 1904 in Cathedral Square and its replacement "Cardboard Cathedral", at 234 Hereford Street, an easy walk North West of its beloved forebear. There is no public car parking at the Cathedral.
Arts Centre, Worcester Boulevard. Gothic Revival stonework of former University campus. This area was damaged during the 22 Feb 2011 earthquake. While reconstruction work is taking place these buildings are closed to the general public and will be for several years.
Christchurch Art Gallery, Worcester Boulevard and Montreal St. Spectacular facility opened in 2003, the largest in the South Island, with over 5000 items and visiting exhibitions.
Botanic Gardens, Rolleston Ave, car park entrance Armagh St. Gates open 07:00 until one hour before sunset. 30 hectares of exotic and indigenous plants and trees wrapped in a loop of the picturesque Avon River and linking to the 160-hectare Hagley Park.
The Summit Road, drive it or bike it or take a bus then walk it. The road traverses the crest of the Port Hills, which separate Christchurch from Lyttelton Harbour. Breathtaking views over Christchurch, the Southern Alps, Pegasus Bay, Lyttelton Harbour and Banks Peninsula - often all from the same vantage point.
Lyttelton, the port over the hill from the city, is accessible by car/bus through the tunnel, or by the scenic port hills route via the seaside suburb of Sumner.
Punting on the Avon, punts depart from Antigua Boatsheds, Glide down the river in Cambridge University style with a uniformed boatsman.
Antigua Boatsheds, 2 Cambridge Ter. Boat hire from historic British boatsheds for a hands-on water experience.
Southern White Water - Adventure Rafting. All tours include an experienced guide, transport to and from Christchurch, fuel, wet weather gear, lunch. Overnight tours (1-5 days trips) also include camping accommodation and all meals.
Christchurch has the busiest program of annual festivals of any New Zealand city.
Summertimes runs from December through to late February and includes a number of major free events in Hagley Park, which attract audiences of up to 100,000. It consists of music, arts, culture and sporting events.
The World Buskers Festival. Runs for two weeks in January and usually features about 30 comedy, street, and circus acts from around the globe.
The Festival of Romance lasts for 10 days leading up to Valentines day and includes a range of romantic activities.
The Christchurch Garden Festival takes place in March.
Carnival Week is centered around a number of events taking place in November .
Carols by Candlelight is a longstanding tradition on Christmas Eve, now held in Victoria Square.