By Public Bus
Red Bus Limited (tel. 0800/733-287 in NZ, or 03/379-4260; www.redbus.co.nz) operates the majority of urban bus services, with others provided by Leopard Coachlines (tel. 03/373-8100; www.leopard.co.nz). Zoned fares range from NZ$3 to NZ$10. For information and details on all-day passes, contact Bus Info (tel. 03/366-8855; www.metroinfo.org.nz). Because of the earthquakes, the Bus Exchange on Lichfield Street is currently closed and many Metro services are not running along their normal schedules or routes. City roads continue to be reviewed and as the city enters the rebuild phase, more services will resume. For the latest updates on public transportation, visit www.metroinfo.org.nz.
Check out the advantages of a Metrocard All Day Pass, which costs NZ$10 for unlimited travel. Purchase it from your bus driver or from temporary city bus terminus locations on Hagley Avenue, near Christchurch Hospital and Bealey Avenue (btw. Montreal and Durhma sts.), between 7:30am and 6pm daily. You can view the latest Metro routes on your smart phone anytime at http://metroinfo.co.nz/m/. use the "i" button to select your route and the compass button to show your current location. At time of writing, phones supported are iOS on the iPhone, Android 2.2 native browser, and Blackberry Torch (6.0) native browser.
By Private Bus
The Best Attractions Bus (tel. 0800/484-485; www.leisuretours.co.nz) offers transportation to the area's most popular attractions: The Must See Four goes to Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, the International Antarctic Centre, Air Force Museum, and Christchurch Tram. The tour takes 6 hours and costs NZ$150 per person, which includes all transportation and admission prices. The Big Five includes Willowbank, the Antarctic Centre, Christchurch Tram, a Lyttelton Harbour excursion with Christchurch Wildlife Cruises, and a ride on the Christchurch Gondola. It takes 8 hours and costs NZ$210 per person.
Christchurch's short but pleasant tramway (tel. 03/366-7830; www.welcomeaboard.co.nz) was in the process of being greatly extended when the February earthquake struck. Many lines were damaged and it may be some time before the full service resumes. The route may also change, depending on plans for the city rebuild. The core part of the route currently runs from Cathedral Square down Worcester Boulevard, crossing the Avon River to the Arts Centre. From here, it turns right to Rolleston Avenue and travels on to Armagh and New Regent streets and back to the Square. It operates from 9am to 9pm in summer and until 6pm in winter; one circuit takes 25 minutes and there are 11 stops along the route. Tickets, which can be purchased on the tram, are NZ$25 for adults, NZ$12 children ages 5 to 15, NZ$65 for a family, and you can hop on and off the tram as often as you like for 2 days. These prices are based on the extended service, so may vary in coming months.
There are taxi stands scattered around the inner city and at all transport terminals. First Direct (tel. 03/377-5555) has a reputation for being the best priced. For taxis that can accommodate wheelchairs, call tel. 03/379-9788. Blue Star Taxis (tel. 03/379-9799; www.bluestartaxis.org.nz) offer women traveling alone a reassuring door-to-door service. Just request the Woman Alone service when you ring and the driver will escort you, from pick-up to destination and wait until you are safely inside.
If you want to see only the main central-city sights, you probably won't need a car; you can make the most of free shuttles and cheap tour buses for those farther-afield destinations. If you do have a car, driving in Christchurch is slightly trickier since the earthquakes, especially in the eastern suburbs, where there has been extensive damage. Full road repairs are expected to take 2 years, so be wary of signs, potholes, protrusions, and closures. Parking buildings are currently closed, except for the one under Christchurch Art Gallery on Gloucester Street. This will obviously change as the city rebuilds. You'll find free car parking in Hagley Park during the day; enter at the end of Armagh Street. If you're visiting the suburban shopping areas of Sydenham, Riccarton, Merivale, Northlands (Papanui), Ferrymead, or The Palms (Shirley), you'll find plenty of free parking.
Christchurch is a biker's heaven -- it's flat (except for the Port Hills), and motorists are used to a high volume of bicycle traffic. Cycle lanes are set aside in many areas, especially in the northwest suburbs, where there's quite a bit of university bike traffic. Note that the condition of roads after the earthquakes is greatly impaired in places, so keep your eyes open for unexpected potholes and rises in the road surface.
Most of the main central-city attractions are well placed for easy walking -- especially in the Art Gallery/Museum/Botanic Gardens area.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.