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In country::New Zealand

Christchurch is the largest city of New Zealand's South Island with 350,000 inhabitants. The city centre and many residential suburbs (especially in the east) were heavily damaged in a series of earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. The re-construction of the central city is underway with many new buildings being constructed, however, there are many city blocks of bare land. Many of the heavily damaged eastern suburbs were declared "Residential Red Zones" and all houses have been demolished or removed. No decision has been made on what use will be made of this vast area.


Find info on hitchhiking at Hitchwiki.

Public transport

Christchurch has a good public bus network. Fares can be paid in cash to the driver or debited from your Metrocard. To obtain a Metrocard you need to supply a Christchurch address. It costs NZ$10 and you need to put $10 credit on it. The card can be re-charged with $10 each time or a multiple ($20, $30, etc.).

  • With Metrocard: Zone 1 is $2,50, Zone 2 is $3,60 and Zone 3 is $4,55
  • Without Metrocard: Zone 1 is $3,50, Zone 2 is $5,00 and Zone 3 is $6,20

The new central city Bus Interchange opened in May 2015. Official website - Fares.


It is really doable, even from the city to the airport. More on Hitchwiki.


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Find info on hosp ex at Couchwiki.

Hosts are available through all the hospitality exchange and work-exchange sites - Trustroots, Couchsurfing, Bewelcome, Workaway, Help-X, WWOOFNZ.


Hostels can be found through BBH website. There has been a shortage of hostel beds since the earthquakes of 2010-2011 when most backpacker hostels were destroyed or demolished.

Free camping

The Christchurch City Council is getting tougher on freedom campers in the city following numerous complaints from residents about the behaviour of campers. A new Freedom Camping Bylaw comes into effect prior to the 2015-16 summer which will restrict freedom camping to a small number of locations and also allow for $200 instant fines for camping in prohibited areas.

If you are arriving later in the day without planned accommodation it may be better to ask to be dropped on the outskirts before you actually enter Christchurch. Both highways entering from the North and the South are surrounded by a lot of partial rural and suburban (ie Belfast suburb) where you can either sleep in a paddock (take normal trespassing precautions) or small park. In the morning you can hitch further into the city or take a bus.

There is the massive Hagley park area is really doable but it might be better to just take your sleeping bag in some bushes rather than a tent (even though the huge field are tempting) due to the potential of unwanted attention from late night drinkers etc, and the fact that each field is owned by a private entity who won't take kindly to finding you sleeping there. The golf course, under a tree, is a good choice but be careful not to wake up too late and take a ball in your head :)

Unless you want to jump the fences, the Botanic Garden is not really an option as it is closed at night and routinely patrolled by security staff.

Meet fellow travellers on hospitality exchange networks: Zealand Trustroots, BeWelcome


Find info on dumpster diving at Trashwiki.
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Internet connectivity

Hackerspaces around Christchurch.

The new city center has free wifi! The main bus stop, where almost all buses transit, has electric plugs (but no internet).


Busking on city streets in designated areas does not require a permit from the Christchurch City Council but certain conditions must be met. Busking outside supermarkets can be very rewarding - some supermarkets may chase you away but most aren't bothered by your presence. Also outside The Mad Butcher shops and The Warehouse can be good busking sites.

Travel destinations

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The central city (CBD) was heavily damaged in the February 2011 earthquake so there are not many pubs, nightclubs or activities in the city centre although a few new bars and cafes are now open. Most bars (with live music) are located on Lincoln Road in Addington and on Victoria Street to the northwest of the old CBD. Worth a daytime visit is the nice Botanic Gardens (closed at night) and Canterbury Museum. The Re:Start Mall in Cashel Street is constructed from colourful shipping containers. The Christchurch Art Gallery and the CoCA Gallery will be re-opening in December 2015 after undergoing serious repair work. There are many interesting Gap Filler projects around the central city. There are many weekend farmer's markets in several suburbs and at The Commons in the central city.