More than 5.7 million people pass through Christchurch New Zealand Airport every year – and many are not just your typical passengers. In addition to being the second largest airport in the country, the airport is also the gateway to the Antarctic for flying researchers heading off on “Operation Deep Freeze.”
If you have time while waiting for your flight, visit the International Antarctic Centre across the street from the airport. You can enjoy snow, penguins and an outdoor all-terrain adventure ride – without having to leave the country!
As you probably won’t be heading to the Antarctic, here’s a guide to arriving and departing from Christchurch Airport:
The airport has one building for both domestic and international flights. Look for airline check-in and domestic flight baggage claim area on the ground floor. Domestic and international gates, shops, as well as Customs and Security, can be found on the first floor.
The building is open 24 hours a day, however after the final domestic flight, the domestic wing of the building is closed.
Flights to Christchurch
Christchurch – airport code: CHC – is a busy airport. It is the connection hub for flights to the smaller airports – such as Dunedin, Nelson, Blenheim – within New Zealand. Additionally, several flights each day arrive and depart from Christchurch to Auckland, Queenstown and Wellington providing efficient connections to locations throughout the country.
Most of these flights are serviced by Air New Zealand and its regional carriers, with a few flights operated by Jetstar, the low-cost subsidiary of Qantas (an Australian based airline).
As an international airport, Christchurch has become popular for travelers combining a vacation to Australia and New Zealand. Flights arrive in Christchurch New Zealand Airport from Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, the Gold Coast and Brisbane on Air New Zealand, Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Emirates.
Fiji Airways flies non-stop between Christchurch and Nadi, Fiji one day each week.
Additionally, Singapore Airlines operates non-stop flights to Christchurch from Singapore and Air New Zealand flies from Christchurch to Tokyo, Japan.
The standard recommendation for international flights is to allow 3 hours for customs and security checks, processing and unexpected delays. We suggest at least 2 hours if you’re traveling from Christchurch to another airport in New Zealand. The airport has flight information displays in numerous places in the terminals to guide you to your gate.
Christchurch Airport also has several help desks available where you can find assistance.
Over the past few years the Christchurch Airport has seen new additions and developments to the terminal. These include integrated check-in, increased parking, new shops and baggage claim areas. The old domestic area was demolished, when the new domestic section was officially opened on April 17, 2013.
Traveling To and From the Airport
Auckland’s airport is accessible by bus, rental vehicle, taxi and shuttle. There is no train service to the airport; connections can be made from the railway station to the main bus terminal – Central Station – and onward to the airport.
The airport is close to Christchurch – only about 8 miles from the central city area. Driving time, depending on traffic, takes about 20 minutes.
Taxis & Shuttles
Several companies offer taxi and shuttle service. Taxi fares are usually $45 – 65 NZD one way to the city. You can pre-book Super Shuttle from the US for about $21 per person one way. If you’ll be heading out of the city, it’s best to pre-book your shuttle or you’ll probably face a long wait. Booking a taxi is made easier by calling i-SITE (New Zealand’s tourism information center) at 0800-568-369 or visiting the i-SITE desk at the terminal.
Rental Cars & Campervans
Every major car rental company services Christchurch Airport. Additionally, many of New Zealand’s late-model, lower cost rental companies have offices in or near the airport. Campervan companies use Christchurch Airport as their main pick-up and return depot for New Zealand’s South Island.
Two public buses run between the airport and Central Station, the main bus terminal in the city center. Adult tickets are $8.00 NZD one way and $14.00 NZD round-trip.
- The Purple Line goes from the airport to Sumner, with several stops including Central Station. Buses run every 30 minutes with a reduced schedule on public holidays. It takes about 1 hour to get to Sumner and about 35 minutes to get to Central Station.
- Route 29 buses run between the airport and Central Station. Buses run every 30 minutes, with a reduced schedule on public holidays. It takes about 30 minutes to get into the city.
For more information on the bus timetables, maps, fares and stops, visit the Metro website.
You’ll find more information on the airport’s features and services here.
Don’t want to be sent to the Antarctic on your way through Christchurch Airport? We can find the lowest cost flights to New Zealand for your trip – contact us now!