Transport options

There are several ways you can get to and from campus. We encourage you to walk, bike or bus if you can but other options are available like driving and carpooling. Details are provided below, and you can get further information from student services.

By bus

Catching a bus is an environmentally-friendly way to travel to campus. You'll arrive warm and dry, and you can spend the journey reading or catching up on emails, Facebook etc.

The following services travel to or near to Ara campus locations:

City Campus

Many other bus services stop at the central bus exchange which is just a 10 minute walk from the City campus.

Woolston Campus

For up-to-date route, timetable and fare information for Christchurch, visit the Metro website, or download the Metro app.

Ashburton Campus

There are no suburban bus services in Ashburton.

Oamaru Campus

There are no suburban bus services in Oamaru.

Timaru Campus

For information on Timaru's suburban bus service visit Metro Timaru.

Ara operates a free daily bus service for students travelling from Ashburton and Oamaru to our Timaru campus. You must register with student services to book your place.

Ashburton to Timaru:

  • 6.40am - Departs Ashburton Campus, Alford Forest Road
  • 6.55am – Hinds, bus shelter
  • 7.10am – Rangitata, tearooms
  • 7.30am – Geraldine, adjacent to Kiwi Experience
  • 7.40am – Temuka, bus shelter opposite New World
  • 7.45am – Seadown, Acacia Drive
  • 8.00am - arrive Timaru
  • 5.00pm - Bus returns to Ashburton via Temuka and Geraldine

Oamaru to Timaru

  • 6.40am - Departs Oamaru Campus, Humber Street turnoff
  • 6.55am - Galleon
  • 6.58am - Seven Mile Road, near concrete works
  • 7.05am – Glenavy, hall opposite shop
  • 7.20am – Waimate, stops at Nosh Café
  • 7.25am – Makikihi, outside the service station
  • 7.35am - St Andrews, by old Post Office
  • 7.40am – Pareora, opposite dairy
  • 8.00am - arrive Timaru
  • 5.00pm - Bus returns to Oamaru via Waimate turn-off

By bike

Cycling is a convenient, low-cost and environmentally-friendly means of transport which is easy (thanks to the flat terrain) and good for your health too. Wear a helmet and high visibility gear and always lock your bike securely. Showers and lockers are available at some campus locations.

If you're cycling in Christchurch, there's a wealth of cycling information available on the Christchurch City Council's website.

Cycle Stands

Cycle stands are available on campus at the following locations:

City Campus

  • NS Block basement, Madras Street entrance (covered, entry by student or staff card)
  • E Block, western entrance (covered)
  • Various stands around the campus (uncovered)

Ashburton Campus

  • At the rear of the car park, south of the campus buildings

Timaru Campus

  • A Block (south side)
  • L Block (south side)
  • I Block (west and south sides)
  • J Block (south side)
  • G Block (north side)
  • D Block (south side of engineering workshops)
  • There is also a dedicated motorcycle parking space in the carpark east of A Block.

Oamaru Campus

  • Next to Room 122, near the campus reception

By car

Driving to and from campus has its advantages, but unless you're travelling with others, it's the least environmentally-friendly form of transport available and at some campus locations, parking can be hard to find due to high demand.

Parking for students is available at all Ara campus locations. Some is free, but some parks cost $2 per day. Maps are available here. Disability car parking is available for mobility card holders; to find out where these parks are, contact us.

Free parking

In Timaru, free parking is available directly opposite the campus, on the north side of Arthur Street. In both Ashburton and Oamaru there is free parking on the road, and at the rear of each campus.

Pay and display car parks (Christchurch)

Parking close to campus is generally 'pay and display'. To use an Ara pay and display car park, you need to obtain and display the appropriate permit sticker on your windscreen, and display a parking slip for the day on your dashboard. Hours are Monday to Saturday, 7am to 9pm. Staff and students cannot park in each other's car parks.

Obtaining a student parking permit

You can get a student parking permit when you pay your enrolment fees at the Enrolment centre. Alternatively, take your student ID card to the Security Office and they can issue one (staff can get a permit from HR).

Parking policy

A parking policy is enforced to ensure that parking is fair for everyone. Your vehicle may be towed if:

  • You don't display (or incorrectly display) your pay and display ticket, parking slip or parking permit
  • You don't pay or have expired parking fees
  • You park in areas not designated for parking (such as on grass, gardens and driveways)
  • You park in reserved parks, private parking areas, disability parks and childcare P10 parks
  • You park on broken yellow lines or hashed lines
  • You block other vehicles in

Please note: the maximum speed limit in Ara car parks is 10kph.

Visitor parking

If you're visiting our City Campus in Christchurch there is public parking in the main entrance parking areas outside the Rakaia Centre on Madras Street. This is pay and display Monday to Saturday from 7am to 9pm with a rate of $1 per hour. Otherwise there are various public car parking spaces and areas around the campus. The Christchurch City Council and Wilsons websites have more information.

For your convenience there's a change machine next to the Westpac ATM in the Rakaia Centre (X block). It will give change in $2 coins for $10 and $20 notes.

Towed vehicles

If you think your car has been towed away, contact Security on 03 940 8076 or after hours on 027 540 8076. Staff will be able to confirm if your car has been towed and where it is. You'll need to pay a release fee to get your car back.