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Known as ‘The Garden City’, Christchurch is one of the most picturesque locales on the South Island of New Zealand. Taking an afternoon to stroll through the Christchurch Botanic Gardens or exploring the expansive Hagley Park are wonderful ways to spend a day.

If you’re ready to visit the city and the stunning surrounding areas, a cheap car rental in Christchurch can help you live your dreams. Using our Christchurch Airport car rental service, you can enjoy the experience of exploring the city. All you need to do is get your keys, pack up your snow gear, and head to the Selwyn Six for powdery runs and breathtaking views.

There is no denying that Christchurch can give you an unforgettable road trip across the South Island.

Why Choose Car Hire and Rental?

One of the easiest ways to tour the South Island is by car. To take in the beautiful sights, you want the freedom to travel at your own pace, which you can’t achieve when riding a train or bus.

The good news is that hiring a car on the South Island is easy, particularly with Car Hire and Rental, New Zealand’s most trusted car rental provider. Here, you can compare car hire deals in Christchurch, saving time, effort, and money. Car Hire and Rental’s booking service is free, and they don’t always require credit card details when booking.

You can choose whatever car for rent suits your travel needs and budget. Our long-term partnerships with the biggest brands in car hire, such as Budget, Thrifty, Avis, Hertz, Firefly and Europcar, along with Go Rentals and InterRent, guarantees you’ll have a chance to browse a wide range of great makes and models of different sizes from more than eight rental providers based in Christchurch.

You can also enjoy the benefits of Car Hire and Rental’s Christchurch Airport car hire without worrying about hidden fees.

Benefits of Purchasing Car Hire and Rental Services for Your Road Trip in Christchurch

  • We partner with Christchurch car rental brands you know and trust.
  • 100% free booking service without hidden fees or extra charges
  • We are an Australian-based website. We do not sell any of our services to overseas call centres.
  • We compare rates and rental providers impartially to see how each rental company stacks up.
  • In most instances, no deposit or upfront expense is required.
  • Our drive-away rates include all taxes and fees except the young driver surcharge and any optional extras (taken at pick-up)

Car Hire and Rental’s car hire in Christchurch, as well as the car rental from Christchurch Airport, unlocks many fantastic opportunities for fun and adventure in South Island’s largest city. Whether you want to spend your time exploring the North Island, South Island, or both, let our superb range of vehicles take you there.

Stay at These Lovely Places in Christchurch

Whether you want to stay right in the city centre, take advantage of your Christchurch car rental or take a short drive out of town.

One thing to keep an eye on is The Christchurch Casino. This hotspot is slated for a massive renovation, including a 200-room hotel that could change the game regarding Christchurch accommodation.

The George Christchurch

For those who want to be treated to a pampered life during their New Zealand vacation, The George Christchurch features an elegant option overlooking North Hagley Park and the River Avon. 

The location is just minutes from all the great attractions in the city centre. With a one-to-one staff-to-guest ratio, you rest easy knowing there will be no shortage of attention paid to you and your fellow travellers. If you get hungry, the award-winning 50 Bistro and Pescatore restaurants are on the premises. This means you’re always only a few steps away from a delicious feed.

Heritage Christchurch

A fantastic mixture of contemporary class and iconic Christchurch heritage, the aptly named Heritage Christchurch stands out amongst the accommodation crowd with its stony Italian High Renaissance Palazzo façade and fabled history. Winner of the 2016 World Luxury Hotel award in the Australasia and Oceania region, the Heritage sets you right in the middle of the CBD while exhilarating you to a time gone by. 

Throw in a lap pool, jacuzzi, and sauna and have everything you need for a beautiful stay.


The home of the University of Canterbury, Riccarton’s younger and livelier vibe can be a great place to set up shop during your stay in Christchurch. Outside the radius of the earthquakes and aftershocks, Riccarton has carried the torch regarding retail and nightlife spots. You can also find ample accommodation that will satisfy your social senses throughout your stay.

Jucy Snooze

This one might only be for some, but it is excellent for those travelling on a budget. Much like those green and purple vans you see around Australia and New Zealand, this spot is perfect for those looking for ample accommodation with few thrills. 

The Jucy Snooze Christchurch offers budget-rate private rooms and revolutionary sleeping pods with eight beds and will remind you of an upscale hostel. The best part of Jucy Snooze is the shared area, which features funky, comfortable furniture and a chance to make some new pals during your travels. 

Grab your car hire at Christchurch Airport and travel less than a kilometre to get to your accommodation before hitting the road for your next big adventure.

Unleash Your Inner Taste Buds in Christchurch

With many outstanding options within walking distance, you won’t have to rely on car hire in Christchurch to make your way to eating and drinking heaven. Check out some local diners while in town to make your taste buds and belly happy.

Christchurch Tramway Restaurant

If meals on wheels are your thing, the Christchurch Tramway Restaurant is not to be missed. 

This unique dining experience allows you to cruise around town as you’re waited on by courteous, attentive staff. The lavish, white tablecloth meal, not to mention the views of the city, offers you a taste of what the city is all about. 

Volstead Trading Company

Are you looking to get away from the standard bar and grill scene? The Volstead Trading Company in Riccarton is a hip spot that offers everything to wet your whistle. 

Let the vibes of a 1920s speakeasy wash over you as you test the impressive rotating list of craft beers from around the world. You can also enjoy the music and get through Hagley Park from the city centre. 

We suggest making the easy 10-ish minute drive in your Christchurch rental car.

Hello Sunday

You can say hello to Hello Sunday any day of the week, and we heartily urge you to do so during your journey to Christchurch. 

This café has become a local crowd favourite, and one visit to sample its tasty menu will show you why. They offer delicious twists on classic dishes like beef cheek hash, matcha buckwheat waffles, and Turkish eggs with burgers and salads. Add a zesty bloody mary or mimosa to get the party started. 

Situated in Sydenham, south of the city centre, this brekkie and brunch spot is trendy without being pretentious. It sets forth a welcoming environment for those looking to sit down for a full meal or grab a nice cup of joe.

Boo Radley’s

If you travel to NZ but want to taste some southern-style US BBQ, check out Boo Radley’s in the city centre near Victoria Street and Montreal Street. Combining North American BBQ with incredible local produce, you’ll get your fill of meat and local twists on classic American sides. To wash it all down, choose from a fantastic range of craft beers or sample a dram from one of the country’s largest bourbon collections.

Things to Experience While in Christchurch

Everywhere you look, you’ll find a representation of the spirit of Christchurch. Make some time on your trip to check out these great attractions, which have a little bit of everything to please even the most varied travelling parties.

Restart at ‘Re: START’

The Re: START Container Mall is an excellent reminder of what makes Christchurch such a great place to live and visit

A sterling example of the grit and determination of the city of Christchurch, the Re: START Container Mall on Cashel Street between Colombo Street and Oxford Terrace started as a Band-Aid solution after the dreadful natural disasters that shocked the city to its core in 2011. In the city centre, retailers set up shops out of shipping containers. It started after much of the area was damaged during the earthquakes and aftershocks. The number of retailers has grown to more than 50, developing into a unique shopping district and symbol of the town’s spirit.

While you’re there, check out Quake City, a small but moving museum that helps tell the tale of the Canterbury earthquakes through videos, photographs, and even debris from the fabled cathedral.

Get a Taste of the National Pastime

Fewer countries have as close a connection to the sport as New Zealand does to rugby. Much like football in the UK, New Zealand’s obsession with rugby union consumes the entire country, especially when the world-famous All Blacks team is battling international foes. But the household competitions bring out the fans by the thousand as well.

Christchurch is the home of the strong Crusaders, perhaps the most storied franchise in the Super Rugby match that comprises teams from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Japan, and Argentina. The team won the competition seven times in its first 21 years.

Try to witness the team at their home ground, AMI Stadium. Remember to track down some red and black gear if you want to fit in. Alternatively, you can see the next wave of stars playing for Canterbury in the Mitre 10 Cup match or head down to local grounds to witness battlers put in the hard yards for little more than their love of the game.

Find Out Why Christchurch is Known as “The Garden City”

Be the judge if Christchurch lives up to its nickname of “the Garden City” by checking out the plethora of strolling routes that can have you shrouded by greenery. You can check out the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and their massive collection of domestic and native plants, the paddling pool and the playground where the kiddos can burn off some excess energy.

If you want to get off the beaten track, you can take a leisurely punt on the River Avon. You’ll be able to kick back, relax, and drink in the beauty surrounding you as a punter guides your glide down the river. All it takes is a quick 5-10 minute stroll from Cathedral Square – or even less time by Christchurch car hire – and buying a ticket to be out on the water.

A guided bike tour can also give you a fantastic view of why the town has earned its moniker.

Be Astonished on a Haka Performance in Ko Tāne

Maori culture is one of New Zealand society’s most critical foundational blocks, and Ko Tāne gives you a chance to get an up-close look at it during your trip to Christchurch. 

This interactive experience features Haka performances, delicious hangi pies, and all sorts of enthralling learning experiences that can help you understand Maori culture. Just about 20 minutes’ drive northwest from the city centre in the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve in a Christchurch rental car, Ko Tāne serves up a firm mixture of education, taste, and fun that will appeal to travellers of all ages.

Discover the Beauty That Surrounds Christchurch

If you’re staying for a few days in the city, make sure you take advantage of car hire in Christchurch and uncover what the rest of the South Island has to offer. New Zealand is known for far more than just its cities, so to get an authentic taste of all the fuss, you must venture out of town for at least a day. Luckily Christchurch is right next to some stunning landmarks and ideal road trip destinations, and it won’t take long before you’re out enjoying the wilderness. You might even want to rent a campervan to extend the trip longer!

Mount Cook National Park and Mount Aoraki

Just a 3-hour and 30-minute drive from Christchurch, a stop at the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is not to be missed. The park is home to Mount Aoraki, the tallest mountain in Australasia. The scenery here is truly outstanding, a far cry from the cityscapes, making it an excellent time to get your camera out.

The dazzling peaks in the national park show what is widely considered some of the finest mountaineering in Australasia. Still, if you aren’t feeling exceptionally adventurous, there are many other ways to enjoy the area. There are walks and hikes of varying length and difficulty starting near Mt. Cook Village, which can take a few hours to a few days.

The park also boasts an astonishing number of 60 glaciers! It includes the 27-kilometre-long Tasman Glacier, the longest in New Zealand. If you’d like to encounter this glacier up close, try taking a boat ride through the terminal lake, past icebergs and ice crystals. This voyage is available from September to May and takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes. For a truly unique experience, book a helicopter or plane to witness the Tasman Glacier from the best possible angle. It can even carry you for a drop on the snow if you fancy a ski.

Waipara Valley Winery

It wouldn’t be a trip to New Zealand without stopping at one of the country’s world-renowned vineyards.

The Waipara Valley region in Canterbury has been voted one of the finest in the South Pacific and is particularly well-known for its excellent Pinot Noir and Riesling varieties. It highlights 31 wineries with four winery restaurants, so you’ll undoubtedly encounter at least a few to your liking! If you take your trip on a summer Saturday morning, you can appreciate the Waipara Valley Farmers Market and find different products from across the region. 

The Valley is effortlessly accessible with your rental car from Christchurch, just a 40-minute drive from the CBD however, if you intend on taking full advantage of the pleasures of the vineyards, reserve some accommodation before you make the return trip!

Arthur’s Pass

Take your hire car from Christchurch to Arthur’s Pass for another spectacular display of New Zealand’s scenery. 

This long stretch of road is regarded by many as one of the most picturesque drives in the country, taking you on a journey up 900m high through the mountains, rainforests, and valleys. The pass links the gap between the east and west coasts of New Zealand, a route first utilised by Maori tribes on their quest to find Pounamu (jade). 

The drive is windy and relatively challenging, so plan many pit stops and check the road status in case of snow. Once you arrive at Arthur’s Pass, around two hours from Christchurch, there are many outdoor activities to appreciate, including hiking, climbing, and skiing.

Hanmer Springs

With all the planning, organisation, and activities you’ve already accomplished on your New Zealand adventure, you deserve a bit of relaxation! 

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa is the perfect spot to do that. About 90 minutes drive from Christchurch, you’ll discover this award-winning sanctuary of pools, jacuzzis, and spa treatments to keep you there all day. There are even enjoyable water activities for kids, too!

The thermal water in the pools is pulled from a bore right next to the spa and is full of natural minerals to allow the body to rejuvenate and repair.

For those looking to travel further afield, this Christchurch self-drive itinerary explores the best of New Zealand’s South Island over ten days.

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