|South Canterbury is easily accessible by road and air. Timaru City is just over 2 hours drive from both Christchurch and Dunedin, is well served by regular coach services and has a local airport with daily links to Wellington and other main centres. Driving from Christchurch International Airport, State Highway One and the Inland Scenic Route 72 both offer attractive rural vistas with plenty of attractions and points of interest along the way.
The AA Travel time and distance calculator provides accurate timings for your travels around South Canterbury.
Travelling by Bus
InterCity Buses to/from Christchurch to Queenstown through Mackenzie and Lakes District depart Kiwi Country Complex, Geraldine. InterCity Timetable.
To view South Canterbury Bus Timetables click below
Budget Bus Shuttles
After hours contacts for Transport Operators
Budget buses: 03 615 5119
Intercity Bus Services: 03 365 1113
Atomic Bus Services: 0508 247 287
Interislander ferry Service: 0800 265 626
Bluebridge Ferries: 0800 844 844
KiwiRail: 0800 872 467
Travelling by air
Direct flights from Timaru's Richard Pearse Airport, located only 8km from the central Timaru business area, regularly connect South Canterbury with New Zealand's capital Wellington and links to other main centres and international destinations.
Travelling By Car / Campervan
With its comparatively low traffic density and spectacular countryside, South Canterbury is an ideal destination for those who like being on the road. If you want to be self-sufficient, a rental car or campervan is a great way to see this beautiful region. Road conditions are good and in the South Island, uncongested. A few gravel (shingle) roads exist in rural areas. New Zealanders drive on the left hand side of the road. To get an idea of average drive times, see the table below.
Self-drive rental vehicles and campervans are available locally.
South Canterbury Driving Distances
South Canterbury has some spectacular scenery, activities and attractions which makes for a fabulous self-drive New Zealand holiday. The breath-taking moutain ranges, stunning lakes and rivers and quaint little country towns have so much to offer. View the South Island guide for approximate driving distances between main centres within South Canterbury and around the South Island.
Maps of Main Centres