Before you leave home

Before you leave home

Christchurch Information

Christchurch is an attractive city where you can study and learn and experience a lifestyle that is both stimulating and relaxing. It is the largest city in the South Island with about 385,000 people and is located on the eastern coast between the Pacific Ocean and the mountains of the Southern Alps. There is a wide range of attractions and recreational activities. You can be strolling along a beach or swimming, surfing, or sailing and only one hour later be in the mountains skiing, snowboarding, cycling or hiking. Alternatively, you can be jet boating, rafting or fishing in the beautiful lakes and rivers.


Christchurch is also a centre of culture. Its cultural heritage is European and Maori. The city was established by the British in the nineteenth century and it is often described as the most English of all cities in New Zealand. The stone buildings of its colonial past mix with the modern architecture of today.
Christchurch has also a great Street Art Culture which is not to be missed.
Check out the amazing murals around town and see why Christchurch is one of the Street Art Capitals of the World.


There’s always something interesting to experience. There are many exciting festivals and events to enjoy in and around Christchurch and a lot of them are free. If you just want peace and quiet there are tranquil parks, riverside walks and nature reserves.


New Zealanders are known as “Kiwis” and are friendly, open and relaxed. Because Christchurch is in the Canterbury province, its people are called Cantabrians.

Christchurch is also an important tourist centre and has fine shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels, and a casino.

For more information on Christchurch, visit:





September - November


December - February

March - May

June - August

These figures on temperatures, sun and rain are a guide to normal conditions.




Average during the day

23.9º C

Average at night

8.2º C
Sun (hours/month)

Rain (days/month)





Average during the day

14.4º C

Average at night

0.2º C
Sun (hours/month)

Rain (days/month)


Degree Range on Average:
Summer max 32 degrees;
Winter low 1.7 degrees

Source: NIWA, all temperatures and hours of sun and rain are average figures.



Most public holidays in New Zealand are in the Summer and Autumn months. Christchurch can be quiet on the long public holidays, particularly Christmas and Easter when all banks, offices and schools and some stores are closed.

The main holiday season for New Zealanders is from Christmas to mid-January when most businesses close for the summer break.

New Year’s Day

1 January
Day after New Year’s Day

2 January
Waitangi Day

6 February
Good Friday

Easter Monday


25 April
Queen’s Birthday

1st Monday in June
Labour Day

4th Monday in October
Canterbury Anniversary Day
2nd Friday after the first Tuesday in November
Christmas Day

25 December
Boxing Day

26 December

Check the dates of public holidays here!

Cost of Living

In general, you should budget NZ $350-$400 per week for living expenses; that is a total of NZ $14,000 – NZ $16,000 from mid-February to mid-November. If you decide to stay during the summer holidays, you will need to budget accordingly.

Books and stationery costs will vary depending on your courses, ranging from NZ $500 – NZ $1,000 in the first year, and may increase in subsequent years for some courses.

Students from tropical countries may require an additional sum of NZ $600 – NZ $800 for warm clothing during their first year of study.

The items below shows average New Zealand (July 2019) costs for a few common items:

Common Prices

Working in New Zealand

Students studying full time in NZ are able to work with conditions based on course of study.

New Zealand Money

New Zealand’s unit of currency is the dollar (NZ$). All major credit cards can be used in New Zealand, with Visa and MasterCard accepted most widely, followed by American Express and Diners Club.

Due to the discontinuation of 1c, 2c and 5c pieces, purchases made in New Zealand are subject to “rounding” of amounts either up or down. The Reserve Bank believes most retailers are adopting the Swedish Rounding System. Under this system prices, ending in 1 to 4 cents will be rounded down and prices ending in 6 to 9 cents will be rounded up.

For example, a purchase of $15.14 would be rounded down to $15.10, and a purchase of $15.16 would be rounded up to $15.20.

It is at the retailer’s discretion how they handle prices ending in 5 cents.

New Zealand Currency and Exchange Rate:


Coins have values of 10, 20 and 50 cents, $1 and $2.
Notes have valuesof $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100.

Health Services

With care and common sense, your visit to New Zealand should be accident free. If you are injured here, you may need the help of the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) – New Zealand’s accident compensation scheme.

In New Zealand, you cannot sue anyone for compensatory damages if you are injured. Instead ACC helps pay for your care.That means paying towards the cost of your treatment and helping in your recovery while you remain in New Zealand.

Travel and Medical Insurance

You still need to purchase your own travel and medical insurance because ACC does not cover everything:

ACC only covers treatment and rehabilitation in New Zealand, and usually you must pay part of the cost yourself.
ACC does not pay any additional costs resulting from an accident, for example delayed or curtailed travel costs, travel home, treatment at home and loss of income in your home country.

Further information can be viewed on the ACC website.