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    Car hire in Christchurch at the best prices

    Choosing a car hire in Christchurch through Auto Europe allows you to explore the beauty of one of the best tourist destinations around the world. There is plenty to do and see in Christchurch from the fast paced thrill seeking activities such as skydiving or jet boating, down to the picturesque scenic walks and truly stunning views.

    Christchurch is the largest city on New Zealand’s South Island and is home to around 404,500 people which makes it the third most populated city in New Zealand with Auckland being the highest. Christchurch suffered a devastating earthquake in 2011 and they are now slowly rebuilding themselves and their city from this disaster, meaning there are memorials around the city that you can visit to pay tribute to those who lost their lives. The best opinions are those of our customers, so please visit our Christchurch car hire reviews page to see what others thought of their recent Auto Europe car rental experience in the city.

    How is the traffic in Christchurch?

    Like any large city Christchurch suffers from congestion especially during peak times. This has increased due to the earthquake which they suffered in 2011, which meant that residents of Christchurch had to move their businesses elsewhere. This made congestion jump from 21% up to 29%. According to data which TomTom has recently released, the congestion in the city seems to be slightly easing. For information on driving in New Zealand please check our page.

    Where can I park my care hire in Christchurch?

    Parking your car hire in Christchurch couldn’t be easier. The cities car parks are much faster as there is a paperless system, meaning you just enter your registration and desired length of time then you’re ready to pay. You can find many car parks which are easily spotted by looking for the “P” signs on the one way streets. The city council has ownership of around 8 car parks within the city. Wilson Parking also offers over 30 car parks within the city centre using an app to manage payments. Gap filler provide car parks on the corner of Manchester and Lichfield streets which are described as socially conscious, meaning that all proceeds made from the car parks are put back into the community and central Christchurch projects. The city also has Motorhome parking available at Peterborough street carpark, which you can gain entry from Peterborough street and also Salisbury street.

    Christchurch airport

    Christchurch is home to New Zealand’s second largest airport. The airport has 13 different airlines which connect to 11 different international airports. The airport is around 20 minutes drive from the city centre if you were to rent a car in Christchurch but there are other transport options available from the terminal such as buses, shuttles and taxis.

    Christchurch Airport (CHC)
    Address: 30 Durey Rd, Christchurch Airport, Christchurch 8053, New Zealand
    Phone: +64 3-353 7777
    Airlines operting at Christchurch Airport: Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific, China Southern Airlines, Emirates, Fiji Airways, Jetstar, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia, Sounds Air, Air Chathams.

    What to do in Christchurch

    You wont be short of things to do in Christchurch with plenty of activites for both the leisurely lovers or thrill seekers. Theres something for everyone here.

    • Awaroa/Godley Head Is a beautiful hiking or cycling area which is around 50 minutes drive from Christchurch. The hike itself is around 8km and takes around 3 hours, it has a loop track to bring you back on yourself which you can start at Taylor's Mistake car park. It features breathtaking views of Lyttelton Harbour, Banks Peninsula, Whitewash Head and Pegasus Bay. There are plenty of different seabirds to sport along the way and you may be lucky enough to spot a pod of the rare hector dolphins, seals and maybe even a whale. You can also detour down from Boulder Bay to view the old cave dwellings, these date back as far as the 1880's where fisherman would build up the cave mouths to provide their fishing shelter. You can also see WW2 remains of the coastal defence battery compound, Godley's Head Gun Placements and the fascinating military buildings and tunnels including the battery observation posts. The track isn't suitable for prams due to steps and is allowed dogs but on a lead only.

    • International Antarctic Centre Experience the breathtaking cold of Antarctica and enjoy this uniquely fascinating continent without actually leaving Christchurch. The attraction is most suited for children but can be enjoyed and educational to all ages. You can discover the impact on the continent, the plants and the wildlife which has been made by humans and antarcticas effect on the rest of the world. Activities include a 4D Extreme Theatre simulated antarctic cruise, Icy Slides, Polar Plunge, Ice Water Challenge and an Antarctic Storm. You can learn about the antarctic explorers and their huts. It’s also home to penguins who need rescuing.

    • Air Force Museum of New Zealand The air force museum of New Zealand is home to the national collection of the Royal New Zealand Air Force and is based on the site of the former air base in Wigram. It is home to many exhibitions relating to their work and the aircrafts themselves including objects from the early New Zealand military aviation and collections prior to World War 1. You can also see the galleries, displays and their extensive collections and research. including former enemy forces, aircraft engines, textiles, aircrafts, airccraft components, art, memoribilia and a large photo and paper archive. An interesting journey through time, dating as far back as the world wars.

    • Botanic Gardens The gardens were founded in 1863 by planting a single English oak tree and has since flourished and become a much loved visitors attraction. They are based adjacent to the Avon River and host a variety of exotic and local plants. It has many stunning attractions to awe at spreading over an area amounting to 21 Hectares including more than 10 different gardens surrounded by trees and lawns. It also features a gift shop, cafe and a interactive exhibition.

    • Christchurch Adventure Park The Christchurch Adventure Park is a collection of 17 open trails for walking, hiking and mountain biking based in the Port Hills of Christchurch, the trails vary based on level of difficulty ranging from green to double black. The green trails are smooth and flowing which are suitable for any ability. the blue and black trails are slightly steeper and more natural featuring rocks and roots for added difficulty. The top section of the park has a trail which is used for mixed abilities, which is home to Airtearoa. You can also experience New Zealand’s highest and longest zip line at over 150 Metres and 11 Kilometres. The park is the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere. It is dual lined which means you can race against others through the heights and sights of the park. The park is located around a 10-15 minute drive from the city centre.

    • Hanmer Springs Is the perfect getaway for relaxation and thrill seekers alike. you can relax in the natural mineral filled hot pools as you take in the beautiful scenic views of the redwood trees and mountains around you. The pools have natural rapids, jets and water spouts. The aqua therapy pools are designed for the muscles and can help with medical conditions such as swelling and pain, they can improve balance and agility and increase flexibility and muscle strength. You can indulge yourself in a variety of spa treatments, sauna suites or launch yourself through the pools and water slides.

    Best day trips with my car rental in Christchurch

    There are plenty of day trip to take in your car rental throughout Christchurch and surrounding areas. Some of the most popular have been listed below.

    Arthurs Pass

    Arthurs Pass is a stunning scenic view which you can make the most of using the TranzAlpine rail service. You can view the stunning differences on either side of the divide which you travel through. The eastern slopes has wide riverbeds and extensive beech forest, where the west has waterfalls, deep rainforest and deeply gorged rivers. You will also come across the alpine parrots which are famous for their cheeky and inquisitive nature, as well as other common forest birds. During the winter season you can also enjoy skiing and snowboarding in the Temple Basin Ski Area.

    Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

    Mt Cook is the tallest mountain in New Zealand, the national park is home to the highest mountains, stretching glaciers which cover 40% of the land, sky scraping peaks and permanent snow settings, all under a glittering star filled sky. It is renowned for being the finest climbing region in Australasia and is plenty accessible for both skilled hikers and less skilled adventurers. Mount Cook is accessible with your car rental in Christchurch through state highway 80, which is one of the most scenic journeys on the South Island. There are several trekking areas you can follow one of which being Hooker Valley, this allows you to stroll along Hooker River and between the high peaks before coming across 3 suspension bridges which ultimately land you at Hooker Glacial Lake which allows you to view the picturesque of New Zealand's Tallest Mountain. Parallel to Hooker Valley falls Tasman Valley which allows you to view the Blue Lakes and the stunning Tasman Lake, where you can also see icebergs. Kea Point is perfect if you are looking for an easier hike, allowing you to overlook the Mueller Glacial Lake while you can view Mount Cook standing above.


    Punakaiki is a stunning area to visit and is home to the famous pancake rocks and blowholes where water shoots skyward. It is the starting point for your journey into Paparoa National Park where you will encounter spectacular views of coastal forest, wild birds and marine mammals. Experience stargazing under the night sky. You can paddle a canoe down the Pororai River to Cave Creek or enjoy horse trekking nature tours through the wonderful Punakaiki Valley. You can experience rock climbing, bouldering, surfing, caving, knife making and even glass blowing. There are so many different activities available to make this a great family friendly day out.

    Geographic information and history

    Christchurch is based in Canterbury, central to the east coast of the island and is home to the Pacific Ocean. It happens to be one of only 4 cities in the world which were built using the layout of a central city square and a park area, which is central to the city. The central area in Christchurch is cathedral square which hold the Anglican Cathedral landmark which was ruined by the 2011 earthquake. Philadelphia was the first city to be built in such a manner, followed by Savannah and Adelaide before Christchurch. The name Christchurch was chosen by founder Robert John Goodley in a meeting of the Canterbury association in 1848. Christchurch is home to the now extinct volcanoes named the Port Hills and the Banks Peninsula which leads into the Pacific Ocean. Travelling through the mountains of Canterbury high country will lead you to Arthurs Pass which takes you through the Southern Alps. The Southern Alps came to be through a collision between the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates. The Southern Alps are also to thank for Christchurch’s water supply. The water is sourced from aquifers at the foothills of the Alps and happens to be one of the purest and cleanest water supplies in the world.

    Christchurch’s first inhabitants were known as the Moa Hunters who inhabited the land as far back as AD 1000, but these had all disappeared or been killed off by 1450 allowing for the north island Maori to arrive and take over the land, between 1500 and 1700. In 1770 Captain James Cook first sighted the land from his ship which he assumed was an island, which he named Banks Island. In around 1815 the first Europeans to set foot on the land were when the ship “Governor Bligh” arrived led by Captain William Wiseman. In around 1930 the local Maori started to die off due to the European diseases which were now starting to accumulate. Captain William Rhodes had visited the land in around 1836, but returned in 1839 fetching a herd of 50 cattle with him. The first attempt of settling by Europeans was made by James Herriot who travelled from Sydney arriving with several farmers, who decided to leave after their first successful crop due to a plague of rats. The British flag was then raised at Akaroa by Captain Owen Stanley before the arrival of many French colonists. A farm was then created by William and John Deans who brought with them other families to work the farm and built the first house on the Canterbury plains, where the first European child was born in 1844. In 1847 John Robert Godley and Edward Gibbon Wakefield decided to plan the Canterbury settlement, where it was discussed that town could be planned and built before settlers arrived to create a community which would consist of small farmers, churches, schools and shops, with land being bought by new settlers to provide money for the public works which needed doing. Captain Joseph Thomas was then sent to Canterbury to choose a settlement site, three towns had been planned and road works had begun but money was starting to run out so work had come to a halt. In 1850, the four ships carrying the first loads of settlers arrived who gradually moved around to Port Hills, the town then flourished from there. In 1872 the increase in people living in the area led to public outcry due to cases of diphtheria and whooping cough. The typhoid epidemic, then lead to the death of 152 Christchurch residents. By 1876 the town had a population of over 22,000 between the central city and the suburbs.

    How to get around Christchurch

    There are numerous ways of getting around Christchurch from public transport to even cycling. Please find help with the best ways to get around below.


    There are regular bus services and shuttles which connect the airport to the city centre and other destinations. All buses depart from the northern end of the arrivals hall at Christchurch Airport or from the bus interchange. If your planning on using the buses often you can purchase a bus pass which can work out cheaper if your planning on doing many trips. Intercity allows you to book fixed-itinerary bus passes from $125 running between Auckland and Paihia and $405 from Auckland to Wellington. There is also shuttle buses which run regularly between the smaller towns, please see here for a full list.


    KiwiRail Scenic Journey and TranzAlpine combine modern rail travel with stunning scenic views. The TranzAlpine departs daily from Christchurch at 8:15 and Greymouth at 1:45, it follows the Waimakariri River through Canterbury Plains and moves up through the Southern Alps stopping in Arthurs Pass and then through to the Otira tunnel. You can also take scenic train journeys from Picton to Blenheim which takes you along the coast and to the salt farm at Lake Grassmere and then down to the cliffs of Oara.


    You can also take a ferry across Cook Strait, the journey takes around 3 hours and makes 15 crossings per day. You may also be able to drive your car or your campervan onto the ferry. Please contact your rental car service provider to check if this is allowed first.


    There are several taxi firms available. Please ask at the airport service desk for more information and contact details on these


    Cycling has become very popular in Christchurch recently, especially as Christchurch is known for being a relatively flat city. The city has cycle lines all over making it easier for cyclists to travel the city by bike. Nextbike have recently begun a trial with Christchurch city council for public bike sharing system throughout the city. Alternatively you can find several bicycle hire companies across the city.

    Can I hire a campervan in Christchurch?

    If you’re looking at hiring a campervan in Christchurch then it is important to plan ahead so that you can enjoy the beauty of the journey ahead of you. There are several campsites you can choose from including Christchurch Kiwi Holiday Park, South Brighton Motor Camp, Alpine View Holiday Park and North South Holiday Park.


    Official Tourism