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. See our sustainable campus maps for our City campus (PDF 0.1MB) and our Woolston campus (PDF 0.1MB) that show the nearest bus stops to our campuses.

Christchurch city, Woolston and Manawa campuses

Christchurch's Metro bus system has one of the newest bus fleets, cash and card ticketing, plus a network of high frequency services at peak times - including several that pass our campuses.

You can purchase and top up a Metrocard to use these bus services at your campus enrollments counter or you can pay cash per bus journey.

Find out the best bus route for you at

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:

  • 6.30am - Departs Ashburton campus, Alford Forest Road
  • 6.35am - Tinwald Z Service station
  • 6.45am - Hinds, bus shelter
  • 7.00am - Rangitata, tearooms
  • 7.20am - Geraldine, adjacent to Mundells
  • 7.30am - Temuka, bus shelter opposite New World
  • 7.35am - Seadown, Acacia Drive
  • 8.00am - arrive Timaru
  • 5.00pm - Bus returns to Ashburton via Temuka and Geraldine - * Departs 4.30pm on Fridays

Oamaru to Timaru

  • 6.50am - Departs Oamaru campus, Humber Street turnoff
  • 6.55am - Galleon
  • 7.05am - Seven Mile Road, near concrete works
  • 7.10am - Glenavy, hall opposite shop
  • 7.25am - Waimate, Intercity bus stop
  • 7.35am - Waimate, stops at Nosh Café
  • 7.40am - Makikihi, outside the service station
  • 7.50am - St Andrews, outside Masonic Hotel
  • 7.55am - Pareora, opposite dairy
  • 8.00am - arrive Timaru
  • 5.00pm - Bus returns to Oamaru via Waimate turn-off - * Departs 4.30pm on Fridays

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 locations below. See our sustainable transport maps for our City campus (PDF 0.1MB) and Woolston campus (PDF 0.1MB) that show where our secure cycle stands, cycle lanes and public cycle tools are.

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

Bike Share Hub

The Christchurch City campus now offers a free bike share hub for students and staff. You can borrow a bike, helmet and lock for free for up to four hours (or for a small fee if over four hours).

The system is easy to use and simple instructions are provided at the hub, which is located outside Café X.

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 campus locations. Some is free, but some parks cost. Disability car parking is available for mobility card holders; to find out where these parks are, contact us.


Share a ride, save money, reduce congestion and socialise all at the same time. Smart Travel will help you to find people in your area who are also travelling to Ara.


City Campus

Ara carpark fee update for 2019

Fees for car parking at Ara City Campus Christchurch will increase from 1 January 2019.

We understand that ease and cost of transport is important for Ara staff and students. However, Ara provided low cost car parks at the City Campus for many years and our Council made the decision in 2016 to adopt a user-pays strategy for providing car parking at our inner city Christchurch location. Progressive fee increases were planned for 2017, 2018 and 2019.

New Parking fees:2019

Please, if you can, consider alternative transport options such as biking, bussing or ride-sharing. You could improve your fitness, save money, catch up on reading, make some new friends and help to reduce congestion in Christchurch. For more information on all of these options see the transport page on our website.

Pay and display parking at City campus, Christchurch. Pay and display car parking hours are Monday-Friday 7am to 5pm.

Woolston Campus

At the Woolston Campus there is limited free parking off Sullivan Ave and Ensors Road.

Timaru and Ashburton Campuses

In Timaru, carparks are on the street or a car park on Arthur Street next to the Childcare Centre. Ashburton Campus has off street parking.

Disability car parking is available to mobility card holders.

Student parking authority

To be able to use these parks you need to have the correct student parking authority sticker displayed on your windscreen. You can get your student parking authority at Security in the Rakaia Centre at our City campus or in the student services building at the Woolston campus.

Parking policy

Parking is provided for you at Ara and we need to enforce a parking policy so that it is fair for everyone. Vehicles may be towed away if you:

  • Don't display or incorrectly display your pay and display ticket, parking slip or parking authority.
  • Don't pay or have expired parking fees.
  • Park in areas not designated for parking such as on grass, gardens and driveways.
  • Park in reserved parks, private parking areas, disability parks and childcare P10 parks.
  • Park on broken yellow lines or hashed lines.
  • Block other vehicles in.
  • Speed in car parks (maximum speed limit is 10 kph).

Towed Vehicles

If you think your car has been towed away, then contact security who will be able to advise you if it has and where it has been towed to. You will need to pay a release fee if your car has been towed.