Welcome to our airport
We love welcoming visitors to Christchurch and the South Island. Here’s what you can expect when you fly into Christchurch Airport. Please read through the information below and make sure you have everything sorted before you leave home.
Arriving from overseas
When arriving in Christchurch from overseas, you will be directed to passport control where you will need to present your passport and completed Passenger Arrival Card. Once processed, you can collect your luggage from the bag claim area.
New travel rules for New Zealand
The New Zealand Government introduced a new travel requirement for some visitors and transit passengers from 1 October 2019. It’s called the NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority) and travellers need to request theirs via the official mobile app or website. Approval can take up to 72 hours, so get yours before you go.
Visit immigration.govt.nz/nzeta to find out if you need one.
Visitors who are not required to have a visa will still need to show:
- A return travel ticket or evidence of onward travel arrangements
- Evidence that you have sufficient money available to fund your visit.
For everything you need to know about visiting New Zealand please visit the New Zealand Immigration website.
Your Arrival Card
A Passenger Arrival Card will be given to you during your flight. (If you lose it or didn’t get one, cards are also available in the International Arrivals area.)
Your Arrival Card and any goods you’ve declared will be inspected by a Ministry for Primary Industries Officer after you’ve cleared Passport Control and collected your bags. Your bags may be sniffed by detector dogs, X-rayed or searched.
Every passenger carrying NZ$10,000 or more in cash and/or foreign currency equivalent must notify a Customs officer.
Biosecurity Regulations for International Arrivals
New Zealand has strict biosecurity procedures to prevent the introduction of unwanted pests and diseases. When you fly to New Zealand from overseas, it's important to follow New Zealand law. That means when you arrive at a New Zealand border you must fill out a Passenger Arrival Card and declare or dispose of biosecurity risk goods. If you’re unsure – declare.
What to declare
- Any food – including cooked, uncooked, fresh, preserved, packaged or dried
- Animals or animal products – including meat, dairy products, fish, honey, bee products, eggs, feathers, shells, raw wool, skins, bones or insects
- Plants or plant products – including fruit, vegetables, leaves, nuts, parts of plants, flowers, seeds, bulbs, fungi, cane, bamboo, wood or straw
- Traditional or herbal medicines or remedies, animal medicines, biological cultures, organisms, soil or water
- Any equipment used with animals, plants or water, including for beekeeping, fishing, water sport or diving activities
- Any items with soil attached, outdoor sport or hiking footwear and tents.
If you fail to declare biosecurity risk goods on your Passenger Arrival Card you could face a $400 instant fine or be prosecuted.
For the most up-to-date information, please visit the Biosecurity New Zealand website.
Brown marmorated stink bug – check bags when unpacking
Biosecurity New Zealand needs your help to keep watch for the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) which could attack a wide range of New Zealand crops and infest local homes.
BMSB has spread from Asia to North America and through Europe. It’s not in New Zealand yet, and we want to keep it that way.
If arriving from Asia, North America, or Europe (in particular Italy) please let biosecurity staff know. And when unpacking your bags after your arrival please take care and look for BMSB. If you find any bugs or insects in your luggage, catch it, take a photo and call Biosecurity New Zealand’s pest hotline: 0800 80 99 66.
For more information (including how to identify BMSB) visit biosecurity.govt.nz/stinkbug
Duty free pick-up, allowances and charges
Aelia Duty Free is located in International Arrivals. If you’ve pre-ordered duty free items, remember to pick these up from the collection point in-store before proceeding to passport control.
You may bring the following goods into New Zealand free of duty:
- Goods obtained overseas and/or purchased duty free in New Zealand with a total combined value up to NZ$700 (excluding clothing, toiletries and jewellery intended for your own personal use and not for gift, sale, or exchange).
- If you are 17 years of age or over you may also bring in:
- 3 bottles or containers, each containing not more than 1125ml, of spirits, liqueur, or other spirituous beverages AND
- 4.5 litres of wine or beer (i.e. six 750ml bottles) AND
- 50 cigarettes OR 50g tobacco OR 50 cigars OR a mixture of all three not weighing more than 50g.
Please Note: You have to be 17 years or older to claim the alcohol and tobacco concessions. You have to be 18 years or older to buy these items in New Zealand.
You will need to pay full Customs charges on goods which are not eligible for concession or are over the above allowances.
If the duty and/or GST payable is less than NZ$50, no collection will be made UNLESS for tobacco products or alcoholic beverages, for which you will have to pay GST, regardless of the amount.
For more information, please visit the New Zealand Customs Service website.
Transiting to another flight
Find out more about transiting to another flight here.
If you’ve just arrived, the Christchurch Airport i-SITE is a great place to start your journey. It’s full of information and travel ideas, plus you can get free advice and help with bookings from their friendly staff. Find out more here.
If you need to store luggage during your stay, you can find out more here.
Items that have been lost and found within the airport terminal are stored with our Airport Services team. They are open 8.30am - 4.30pm Monday to Friday, and can be contacted on +64 3 353 7749 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’ve lost something on board an aircraft, please contact your airline directly.
- Baggage services
There are no sleeping facilities at the airport terminal. If you're in the terminal late at night or very early in the morning, our staff may ask to see your flight details.
You can spend a few hours at the airport overnight if:
- At least one of your travel bookings is a flight AND
- You can prove you arrived into Christchurch after 10.30pm by commercial transport (plane, coach, rental car, campervan) AND
- You will depart from the airport via booked commercial transport (plane, coach, rental car, campervan) by 8.00am.
If you have documentation to prove your arrangements above, you're welcome to sit in a chair for a few hours. You will be expected to comply with all requests and instructions from airport staff while you are with us.
You will not be permitted to sit at the airport overnight if:
- You did not arrive at the airport on commercial transport (plane, coach, rental car, campervan) after 10.30pm EVEN IF you can prove you are booked to leave on a flight or by coach, rental car or campervan before 8am the next morning.
Instead, you are welcome to book accommodation near the airport. There’s a number of options, including Novotel which is right outside International Arrivals, Sudima Airport Hotel which is 5 minutes’ walk from the terminal, and Jucy Snooze which is 10 minutes’ walk from the terminal. For help booking, visit the Airport i-SITE located in International Arrivals.
Airport check-in opens at 3.30am.
This gives you plenty of time to check-in for the first international departures. We recommend confirming your check-in details with your airline the night before catching an early morning flight.
Driving in New Zealand
New Zealand is famous for its scenic drives. However, driving here can be challenging and there’s a few things that you may not be used to.
- We drive on the left side of the road.
- It's easy to underestimate travelling times here.
- Our roads are steeper, narrower and more winding than you might expect.
- Our roads are mostly two-way, with one lane in each direction. We have few multi-lane motorways.
For a safe and enjoyable journey, please download Driving in New Zealand for information on New Zealand road rules. It’s available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai and Arabic. You can also click here for more information about driving in New Zealand.
Explore the regions of the South Island
The South Island boasts a range of unique experiences that are all within an easy drive of each other; from golden beaches to glacial valleys, thermal springs to thrilling adventure and local wildlife to wineries. Discover the attractions, activities and events of our regions.