One of two international airports on New Zealand's South Island, Christchurch Airport is the second largest in the country with direct flights available from Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Being in close proximity to ski fields, hiking tracks and stunning scenery, Christchurch serves as a good starting point for a South Island adventure, whether you're wanting to head north, west or south.
Car and campervan hire is popular with visitors and you can find rental companies both inside and outside the airport grounds.
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How much are flights to Christchurch?
From Brisbane, Sydney and the Gold Coast, you can get return flights to Christchurch for under $400. Return flights from Adelaide can cost under $600 and those travelling from Perth can secure return flights for under $800.
When is the cheapest time to fly to Christchurch?
The cheapest time to fly to Christchurch from Australia is between May and August. If you want to avoid the crowds and inflated accommodation prices, it's best to travel in June.
If you're heading to Christchurch between the winter months of June and August, you can expect to see more people out and about, as the snow season is a popular time of year for travel in New Zealand. If you plan to get among the snow sports action, it works in your favour that the cheapest time to fly is also the best time to hit the ski fields.
How far in advance should I book my flight to Christchurch?
If you know when you want to jet off to Christchurch, it's best to book your flights seven weeks in advance.
Frequently asked questions about flights to Christchurch
How long does it take to fly to Christchurch?
There are four airports in Australia with direct flights to Christchurch:
- Sydney: 3 hours, 10 minutes
- Gold Coast: 3 hours, 15 minutes
- Melbourne: 3 hours, 20 minutes
- Brisbane: 3 hours, 30 minutes
If you don't live in one of these cities, you will need to take a domestic flight from your closest airport to one of the above cities, before boarding your flight to Christchurch. Booking a two-leg journey on one ticket can often work out cheaper than booking two separate flights.
Which airlines fly to Christchurch from Australia?
There are five airlines that operate direct flights from Australia to Christchurch:
Some airlines only operate flights on certain days, so you may need to be flexible if you have a preference for who you fly with.
Make sure to check what your fare includes, as if you need to pay extra for a checked bag, meals and entertainment, your ticket may not end up being as cheap as you thought. Qantas, Emirates and Virgin Australia do include these things on their trans-Tasman flights, but Jetstar sells a base fare with the option to add on extras. Air New Zealand has four economy fare types, so you can choose the appropriate one based on your needs for the flight.
Where is the airport in Christchurch?
Christchurch Airport is located in Harewood, in the northwest part of the city.
How long does it take to get from the airport to Christchurch?
- CBD: 20 minutes (10 kilometres)
- Hagley Park: 15 minutes (9 kilometres)
- Addington: 17 minutes (9 kilometres)
- Riccarton: 13 minutes (7.2 kilometres)
- Edgeware: 20 minutes (11 kilometres)
- New Brighton: 26 minutes (18.5 kilometres)
- Sumner Beach: 34 minutes (22 kilometres)
- Lyttleton: 31 minutes (24 kilometres)
If you are looking for a way to get to your hotel from the airport, you have a few different options, depending on your budget. For the cheapest journey, you can take one of the two bus lines that connect to the city centre with stops along the way. This costs $8.50 per adult and $4 per child.
A shuttle service will take you from the airport to the door of your accommodation for $19 per person. A taxi will cost between $45 and $65 to take you to the city centre, or you can order an Uber, which may work out a bit cheaper.
Do I need a visa to travel to Christchurch with an Australian passport?
Australian passport holders do not need a visa to enter New Zealand, provided they meet the entry requirements. Australian permanent residents need to apply for a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority before they can travel. This can take up to 72 hours to process, so it's best to complete the application and pay the appropriate fee in advance of your departure date.A New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority is also required by passport holders of countries mentioned on the visa waiver list, including the UK, the US, Italy and Canada. This authority allows British citizens to stay for up to six months, or three months for other citizens, but you are still subject to border security checks on arrival.
Am I required to book an onward or return flight to Christchurch?
If you are an Australian citizen, you do not need a return flight, since you have the right to live and work in New Zealand. Passport holders entering on the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority will need to show proof of onward or return travel.