Getting there & away
InterCity (03-365 1113; www.intercitycoach.co.nz; 123 Worcester St; 7am-5.15pm Mon-Sat, to 5.30pm Sun) buses depart from Worcester St, between the cathedral and Manchester St. Northbound buses go twice daily to Kaikoura ($28, 2¾ hours), Blenheim ($50, five hours) and Picton ($51, 5½ hours), with connections to Nelson ($69, eight hours). One daily bus also goes southwest to Queenstown direct ($66, 7½ hours), or via Mt Cook ($126 including lunch, 11 hours). There are also services to Wanaka ($73, seven hours) that involve a change in Tarras. Heading south, two buses run daily along the coast via the towns along SH1 to Dunedin ($46, 5¾ hours), with connections to Invercargill ($67, 9¾ hours) and Te Anau ($74, 10½ hours).
Christchurch railway station (0800 872 467, 03-341 2588; Troup Dr, Addington; ticket office 6.30am-3.30pm Mon-Fri, to 3pm Sat & Sun) is serviced by a free shuttle that picks up from various accommodation; ring the i-SITE to request pick-up.
The TranzCoastal runs daily each way between Christchurch and Picton via Kaikoura and Blenheim, departing from Christchurch at 7am and arriving at Picton at 12.13pm; the standard adult one-way fare to Picton is $88, but fares can be discounted to $52.
Contact Tranz Scenic (0800 872 467; www.tranz scenic.co.nz).
Christchurch airport (03-358 5029; www.christchurch airport.co.nz) is the South Island’s main international gateway. The airport has excellent facilities, including currency-exchange, ATMs, baggage storage (open 8am to 6.30pm), plus travel centres (03-353 7774) in both the domestic terminal (open 6.30am until the last domestic flight arrives) and the international terminal (open for all international flight arrivals). Departure tax on international flights is $25 with children under 12 exempt. Prices listed below are for one-way flights.
Air New Zealand (0800 737 000, 03-363 0600; www.airnz.co.nz; 549 Colombo St) also offers numerous direct domestic flights with connections to other centres. There are direct flights to and from Auckland ($79 to $332, 20 flights per day), Blenheim ($89 to $224, three daily), Dunedin ($79 to $224, nine daily), Hamilton ($129 to $362, three daily), Hokitika ($74 to $184, five daily), Invercargill ($89 to $267, eight daily), Napier ($139 to $349, two daily), Nelson ($79 to $199, eight daily), New Plymouth ($138 to $359, one daily), Palmerston North ($89 to $269, five daily), Queenstown ($89 to $284, five daily), Rotorua ($129 to $327, three daily), Tauranga ($134 to $366, one daily), Wanaka ($99 to $294, one daily) and Wellington ($59 to $222, 15 daily). Check www.grabaseat.co.nz for excellent last-minute deals.