Getting from Wellington to Christchurch (and return)
Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and where you’ll most likely land if you arrive from abroad. Located on the North Island , the city boasts a lovely coastline and superb panoramic views.
Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island and is a major tourist hub for those planning to visit this part of New Zealand.
If you plan to travel from Wellington to Christchurch (or the other way around) you should know what means of traveling are available and how much it would cost.
The fastest and cheapest way to get from Wellington to Christchurch is by plane. The flight takes almost an hour and single fare starts at NZ$62*. Should you want to see the scenery as you travel, the cheapest option is by ferry and bus (from NZ$96).
Flights from Wellington (airport code: WLG) to Christchurch
Wellington International Airport (WLG) is located about 5 km from the city center and is the third busiest airport in New Zealand.
Christchurch International Airport (CHC) is located about 12 km from the city center and is hub for Pacific Blue and Mount Cook Airline.
Direct flights from Wellington to Christchurch are operated by Air New Zealand and JetStar Airways. The flight time is 55 min. In late November 2011, single fare starts at NZ$62, while in mid March 2012 you can fly for NZ$72 per person ,one way. Return flights start at NZ$129 in late 2011.
By ferry and train from Wellington to Christchurch
It is possible to travel from Wellington to Christchurch by ferry and the Coastal Pacific Train. It is the most comfortable and scenic way to travel between the two cities. First, you take the Interislander ferry from Wellington and the connecting Coastal Pacific from Picton. There are daily departures at 8:25 a.m. from the ferry terminal in Wellington and you’ll get to Christchurch after 10 hours.
If you need to travel from Christchurch to Wellington, the trains departs Christchurch daily at 7 a.m and arrives in Wellington at 4:25 p.m. the same day.
The combined one way ticket costs NZ$130 per person. Tickets can be bought from here.
>>read more about Train Travel in New Zealand
By ferry and bus from Wellington to Christchurch
You can also travel overland between Wellington and Christchurch by ferry and bus.
First you need to take the Interislander ferry from Wellington to Picton. There are five sailings per day and the crossing time is 3 hours. Single tickets start at NZ$65 for an adult.
Then , take the InterCity Coachlines or Newmans Coach Lines bus from Picton to Christchurch. There are two departures (from each company) a day and the bus ride takes about 5 ½ h. Single fare starts at NZ$31.
>>read more about Bus travel in New Zealand
Driving from Wellington to Christchurch
You can rent a car and drive the 462 km along the State Highway between Wellington and Christchurch. You should be able to cover the distance in about 8h 40 min but remember that the travel time also includes the ferry crossing. Part of the road is right by the coastline, so you’ll be delighted with some superb views.
Note:* prices valid at the time the article was written