Moving & Shipping to Christchurch, New Zealand: 2022 Guide

With its breathtaking natural beauty and proximity to the ocean, it’s no wonder that many people want to move to Christchurch. After all, the city is known as “The Garden City” for a reason.  

 Moving to a new city, whether it’s just across the street or halfway around the world, is never easy. There is bound to be an abundance of unknowns, stressors, and uncertainties in any relocation. But with the right amount of preparation and planning, moving from one place to another can also be exciting and rewarding. 

If you’re moving to Christchurch soon, read on for some essential tips for a stress-free move! 

Christchurch Quick Facts  

Population: over 375,000 people  

Official language: English 

GDP per capita: NZD $49,000 (US$33,000) 

Currency: The New Zealand dollar (NZD)

Why Should You Move to Christchurch, New Zealand? 

  • The city is full of opportunity 

Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island of New Zealand, and it’s quickly becoming a hub for business and entrepreneurship. The city has a young and vibrant population, and there are many opportunities for those looking to start or grow their career. Christchurch is also home to a number of excellent schools and universities, making it a great place to raise a family. 

 

  • The city is picturesque and has a great climate 

Christchurch is known as the Garden City and truly lives up to its name. The city is filled with green spaces, parks, and gardens and enjoys a temperate climate that makes outdoor activities possible year-round. Christchurch is also located close to some of New Zealand’s most beautiful natural scenery, including the Southern Alps, Lake Tekapo, and Mount Cook National Park. 

 

  • The city is affordable and offers a high quality of life 

Christchurch is an affordable city to live in, with a lower cost of living than many other major cities in New Zealand. The city also offers a high quality of life, with low crime rates and plenty of amenities like restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops. Christchurch is truly a great place to call home. 

Things to Do in Christchurch, New Zealand

  • Visit the Christchurch Cathedral 

The Christchurch Cathedral is the main Anglican cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand, and one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. The cathedral is located in the heart of the city center, on a site that has been home to a church since 1856. The current building was completed in 1904 and is considered one of the finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture. The cathedral is open to visitors daily, and there are guided tours available. 

 

  • Go for a walk or bike ride in the Port Hills 

The Port Hills are a range of hills that form a natural barrier between Christchurch and Lyttelton Harbour. The hills offer stunning views of the city and harbor, as well as being home to numerous walking and biking trails. There are also several picnic areas and playgrounds dotted around the hills, making them a great place to spend a day with family or friends. 

 

  • Visit the International Antarctic Center 

The International Antarctic Center is located just outside of Christchurch and offers visitors the chance to experience what it would be like to live and work in Antarctica. The center includes a penguin encounter, where you can meet and feed real penguins, and an augmented reality experience simulating an Antarctic blizzard. There are also plenty of educational exhibits about Antarctica and its wildlife. 

 

  • Take a punt down the Avon River 

Punting on the Avon River is a popular activity for locals and visitors alike. Visitors can hire their own punt (a flat-bottomed boat) from one of several operators along the river or take a guided tour with an experienced punter. Punting down the river is a great way to relax and take in some of Christchurch’s beautiful scenery. 

 

  • Shop in the shipping container mall 

The shopping mall is located in the central city and comprises over 60 shipping containers. The mall was created after the 2011 Christchurch earthquake as a temporary measure but has since become a permanent fixture in the city center. The mall is home to a variety of stores, cafes, and restaurants and is a great place to find unique gifts and souvenirs. 

Moving & Shipping Costs to Christchurch  

  • The average cost of shipping a 20-foot container from Los Angeles to Christchurch is about $2,500.  

If you’re looking to save on moving and shipping costs, there are a few things you can do: 

  • First, try to downsize your belongings as much as possible. This will help lower the cost of shipping your belongings overseas.  
  • Second, look into using a shipping company that specializes in moves to New Zealand. These companies often have discounts and deals available for those moving to Christchurch. 
  • Finally, try to ship your belongings during the off-peak season (November through March). This will help you avoid paying peak-season prices for shipping services.

Things to Consider Before Moving & Shipping 

  • Destination  

Where are you moving to? Make sure you find out if your belongings have any special requirements or if you need to take any extra precautions with them. There may be specific things you need to do to meet New Zealand’s regulations or use their shipping services.  

 

  • Container size  

Make sure you know what size container you need for your belongings. Containers are measured in 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) and come in many different sizes. You can also use a container weight calculator to find out how much your container will weigh. 

 

  • Pricing  

Make sure you shop around and compare prices when booking your container. Container sizes are standard, but prices vary depending on the company and time of year. 

 

  • Container arrival date 

Find out when your container will arrive so you can plan accordingly. Make sure you have someone at the destination to receive the container, so it doesn’t get lost or sit in customs for too long. 

Christchurch Housing Costs & Best Places to Live 

 Christchurch is one of New Zealand’s most affordable cities to live in. 

  • Housing prices: 

The median house price in Christchurch is $369,000, while the median rent for a three-bedroom home is $450 per week. And the average cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment in Christchurch is $1,200 per month. Christchurch also has a wide range of housing options available, from apartments and townhouses to standalone homes. 

 

There are many great places to live in Christchurch, depending on your budget and lifestyle:  

  • If you’re looking for an affordable place to live, consider suburbs like Linwood or Woolston.  
  • If you’re looking for a more upmarket area, try Riccarton or Fendalton.  
  • Central city suburbs like Cathedral Square or High Street are perfect if you want to be close to the action. 

 

When it comes to renting in Christchurch, there are a few things to keep in mind: 

  • Rents can vary widely depending on the suburb you choose to live in.  
  • Most landlords require a bond of four weeks’ rent upfront, as well as one week’s rent in advance.  
  • It’s important to ensure your rental property is insured against damage or theft, especially if you’re bringing valuable items from overseas. 

Cost of Living in Christchurch 

Christchurch is often considered to be one of the most affordable cities to live in in New Zealand. 

In general, living costs here are lower than in other major cities, such as Auckland and Wellington. This is due to several factors, including the city’s relatively small size and location away from some of the more expensive areas of the country. 

 

  • Housing

Housing costs are usually the biggest expense for any household, and Christchurch is no exception. However, there are a number of ways to keep housing costs down in this city. For example, many people choose to live in the suburbs further away from the city center, where rents and house prices are generally lower. There are also a number of different types of accommodation available, from shared apartments to standalone houses. 

 

  • Utilities

Utilities such as electricity, gas, water, and internet can also add up. Expect to pay around NZD $100-200 per month for utilities, depending on your usage. 

 

  • Transportation

Costs can also be quite low in Christchurch. The city has an extensive public bus system that covers most areas, with discounts for students and seniors. Additionally, there are a number of cycling and walking paths throughout the city, making it easy to get around without having to use public transport or a car. 

 

  • Food

Food costs will vary depending on your eating habits. Eating out at restaurants can be expensive (expect to pay around NZD $30 per meal), but cooking at home is relatively affordable. A trip to the grocery store for basic groceries may cost around NZD $100 or more per week.  

There are many supermarkets and convenience stores located throughout the city, so it’s easy to find good deals on groceries and other essentials. Additionally, Christchurch has a wide range of restaurants and cafes offering food. 

Transportation in Christchurch 

The cost of transportation in Christchurch is relatively low when compared to other large cities. Many factors, including the city’s compact size and excellent public transport system, contribute to this. 

Public transport in Christchurch is provided by buses, trains, and ferries. The city has an extensive bus network, with regular services operating throughout the day and night. Train services are also frequent, with several routes connecting the city center with suburban areas. Ferries operate on the Avon River, providing a link between central Christchurch and the nearby suburb of Woolston. 

 

  • Buses

The main bus operator in Christchurch is Red Bus. There are also a number of smaller operators providing services within the city. Bus fares are relatively cheap, and there are discounts available for students and seniors. 

 

  • Trains

Christchurch has two train lines – the Main North Line and the Main South Line. Trains run frequently during peak times and less frequently at other times. Fares are reasonable, and there are discounts available for students and seniors. 

 

  • Ferries

Christchurch’s Ferrymead Heritage Park is served by a regular ferry service from central Christchurch. The service runs every 30 minutes during the day, with reduced frequency in the evening and on weekends. Fares are very reasonable, and there is no charge for children under 5 years old. 

 

  • Costs

The cost of using public transport in Christchurch is very reasonable, with a standard adult fare (known as a ‘Go Card’) costing just NZD 3.00 (approximately $2.00). This entitles holders to unlimited travel on all bus, train, and ferry services for a period of two hours. 

A monthly pass costs NZD 150.00 (approximately $100.00), representing excellent value for money, given the frequency and reliability of services. 

There are several options available for those who prefer to travel by car. Petrol prices in New Zealand are among the lowest in the world, currently averaging just NZD 1.30 per liter (approximately USD $0.80). 

This makes driving a very affordable option for getting around Christchurch. In addition, parking is relatively cheap and easy to find in most parts of the city center. 

Education & Schooling in Christchurch 

Christchurch is home to a number of excellent educational institutions, both public and private.  

The city is served by four main tertiary education providers:  

  • The University of Canterbury 
  • Lincoln University 
  • Ara Institute of Canterbury 
  • Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology 

 

Primary and secondary schooling options are plentiful in Christchurch, with a wide range of state and independent schools to choose from. Christchurch also has a number of highly regarded international schools that cater to the city’s growing expatriate community. 

Costs

  • State schools charge approximately $11,000 for primary schools and $14,000 for secondary schools per year.  

 

  • Approximately $25,000 is the annual tuition for private primary and secondary schools. 

 

  • Depending on the course, international students can expect to pay between $US14,900 and $21,700 per year for undergraduate studies. 

 

The cost of education in Christchurch is generally quite reasonable, especially when compared to other major cities in New Zealand. Tertiary education fees are set by the government and are typically lower than those in Australia or the UK.  

Private school fees can vary widely but are often comparable to or even cheaper than similar schools in other countries. Medicine and veterinary sciences require higher fees. Three years is the average length of time it takes to complete a bachelor’s degree.  

Healthcare in Christchurch 

In Christchurch, as with any city, the cost of healthcare will vary depending on the individual’s needs. 

However, there are some general things to keep in mind when budgeting for healthcare in Christchurch:

First, it is important to have health insurance. New Zealand has a public health system that is free for everyone to use. However, many people choose to supplement this with private health insurance. 

Private health insurance will cover things the public system may not, such as certain types of specialist care or private hospital rooms. The cost of private health insurance will depend on the level of coverage you choose and the provider you go with. 

Secondly, it is important to budget for GP visits and prescriptions. GPs (general practitioners) are the first point of contact for most medical needs in New Zealand. They can provide basic care and refer you to specialists if necessary. 

GP visits are typically free for those under 14 years old, while adults over 14 years old will pay a small fee per visit (around 30 NZD). Prescriptions are also typically low-cost in New Zealand, with most costing around 5-15 NZD per script. 

Finally, it is worth noting that dental care is not covered by the public health system in New Zealand. This means that all dental costs will need to be covered by private insurance or out-of-pocket. Dental care can be expensive, so it is important to factor this into your budget when planning for healthcare in Christchurch. 

Weather in Christchurch 

Christchurch is known for its temperate weather, with average temperatures ranging from 10-15 degrees Celsius. However, the city does experience four distinct seasons, so it’s important to be prepared for changes in temperature and precipitation.

Spring (September-November) is generally cool and dry, with occasional showers. Temperatures start to increase towards the end of the season. 

Summer (December-February) is the warmest time of year, with temperatures averaging 20-25 degrees Celsius. It’s also the driest time of year, so make sure to pack your sunscreen! 

Autumn (March-May) sees a return to cooler temperatures and more rainfall. The leaves on the trees change color during this time of year, making for some beautiful scenery. 

Winter (June-August) can be cold and wet, with temperatures sometimes dipping below 0 degrees Celsius. Snowfall is not common in Christchurch City itself but can be seen in the nearby mountains. 

Moving to Christchurch Alone 

 

  • Get to know your neighbors 

In Christchurch, most people live near their neighbors. This can be a great opportunity to get to know the people around you and build a strong support network. If you’re not used to living in such close quarters, it may take some time to adjust, but it’s worth putting in the effort to get to know your neighbors. They’ll be able to help you out with anything, from directions and recommendations on where to eat and drink to emergency assistance if needed. 

  • Get involved in the local community 

There are plenty of ways to get involved in the local community in Christchurch. From volunteering at local organizations and events to joining neighborhood groups or clubs, there’s something for everyone. Getting involved is a great way to meet new people and feel like part of the community. It can also help you settle into your new home more quickly and make friends for life. 

  • Make use of public transport 

Christchurch has an extensive public transport system that can take you just about anywhere you need to go within the city limits. If you’re not used to public transport, it may take some time to get used to, but it’s a great way to save money and meet new people. The Christchurch bus network is extensive and runs frequently, so you’re sure to find a bus that can take you where you need to go. 

  • Explore the outdoors 

Christchurch is surrounded by beautiful scenery, so explore as much of it as possible. From walks in the park to hikes in the mountains, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. Christchurch is also home to some of New Zealand’s best beaches, so don’t forget to pack your sunscreen and swimwear! 

  • Costs: 

For immigration purposes, you generally need a minimum of NZD 350 per month or NZD 4,200 per year for living expenses. A copy of your bank statement may suffice as proof that you have available funds. 

Moving to Christchurch With a Family 

Christchurch is a great place to raise a family. The city has excellent schools, safe neighborhoods, and plenty of family activities and amenities. 

Here are a few things you need to know if you’re moving to Christchurch with a family:

 

  • Schools 

There are many excellent schools in Christchurch, both public and private. If you’re moving here with school-aged children, you’ll be able to find a school that’s the right fit for your family.

 

  • Safety 

Christchurch is a very safe city. Crime rates are low, and the community is close-knit. You’ll feel comfortable letting your kids explore the city and play outside. 

 

  • Activities and amenities 

There are plenty of things to do in Christchurch for families. There are parks and playgrounds scattered throughout the city, as well as museums, art galleries, and theaters. And since Christchurch is located on the coast, there are also plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities like swimming, surfing, and fishing. 

 

  • Costs

To live comfortably, an average family of four needs a combined income of around $111,150 per year after tax and Kiwisaver contributions. An annual income of $162,600 would cover taxes, ACC, and Kiwisaver contributions. 

Moving to Christchurch From the United Kingdom 

The cost of moving to Christchurch from the United Kingdom can be quite expensive. It is important to get several quotes from different shipping companies in order to get the best price. 

  • The average cost of shipping a 20-foot container from the UK to Christchurch is around £5,000. 

 

There are a few things that you can do to keep the costs down: 

  • First, try to ship your belongings during the off-peak season. November to February is typically the cheapest time to ship as there is less demand for shipping services.
  • You should also try to consolidate your shipment into one container instead of shipping multiple smaller shipments. This will save you money on both the shipping costs and customs fees.
  • Another way to reduce the cost of your move is by getting rid of unwanted items before packing up your shipment. Have a garage sale, donate items to charity, or sell items online. The less stuff you have to ship, the cheaper it will be.  
  • Finally, make sure you pack everything securely so that nothing gets damaged during transit. This will help avoid any costly repair or replacement fees. 

Moving to Christchurch From the United States 

If you’re moving to Christchurch from the United States, there are a few things you need to know in order to make the transition as smooth as possible. 

 Get your visa in order

You’ll need a valid visa in order to enter New Zealand. If you’re planning on staying for an extended period of time, you’ll need to apply for a work visa. The process can be complicated, so it’s best to consult with an immigration lawyer or agent to ensure that you have all the necessary paperwork. 

  • Familiarize yourself with the currency and cost of living 

The currency in New Zealand is the New Zealand dollar (NZD). At the time of writing, one US dollar is worth approximately 1.45 NZD. This means that prices in Christchurch will be slightly higher than what you’re used to paying in the States. 

However, salaries are also generally higher, so it evens out. The cost of living in Christchurch is relatively high compared to other New Zealand cities, but it’s still cheaper than most major US cities. 

  • Learn about Kiwi culture and customs before you go 

New Zealanders (Kiwis) are known for being friendly and laid-back, so don’t be surprised if strangers have conversations with you while you’re out and about. There are also a few customs that might be unfamiliar to Americans, such as greeting people with a “kiss” on the cheek (this is called a hongi), taking your shoes off when entering someone’s home, and driving on the left side of the road. 

Learning about these customs before arriving will help avoid any awkwardness or misunderstanding while settling into your new life in Christchurch. 

Costs 

The cost of moving to Christchurch from the United States will vary depending on where you are shipping from and the size of your shipment.  

However, there are a few tips that can help you save money on your move: 

  • When planning your move, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get quotes from different shipping companies. This will ensure that you get the best possible rate for your shipment. In addition, try to ship during the off-season when rates are typically lower. 
  • When packing your shipment, be sure to use sturdy boxes and packing materials. This will help protect your belongings during transit and make it easier for the shippers to load and unload your boxes. In addition, try to pack everything as tightly as possible to minimize empty space in the shipment. 
  • Finally, when shipping your belongings, be sure to insure them for their full value. This will protect you in case anything is damaged or lost during transit. 

Moving to Christchurch From Canada 

  • Visa 

First, you will need to obtain a visa. The process for this can be found on the New Zealand Immigration Service website. 

 

  • Costs: 

The cost of moving to Christchurch from Canada will vary depending on a number of factors, including the size and weight of your shipment, the mode of transport you choose, and the distance between your origin and destination. 

 

  • As an estimate, you can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $15,000 for shipping your belongings to Christchurch from Canada. 

The most affordable option is typically sea freight, which can take up to 12 weeks for delivery. If you need your belongings sooner, you can opt for air freight, though this will be significantly more expensive. 

When budgeting for your move to Christchurch, don’t forget to factor in other costs, such as customs clearance fees and insurance. You may also need to hire a professional mover to pack and ship your belongings, which can add an additional cost. 

Conclusion 

If you’re moving to Christchurch, you’ve made an excellent choice. 

This dynamic city is home to many wonderful restaurants, cafes, and bars. In addition to the dining scene, Christchurch also offers numerous green spaces for those who enjoy outdoor activities. Moreover, it has a number of affordable apartments and houses with great views of the mountains or the coast.  

Moving to a new city is a big decision. It is important to research everything you can about the city before you move. You will need to find a place to live, get utilities set up, and find a new job. You also need to make sure you are prepared for the move itself. It can be really stressful, especially if you don’t plan ahead.  

With these essential tips for a stress-free move, you can ensure the move goes as smoothly as possible.