CBD Travel Info For Parents

Our school

Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery is a special character state school with a fundamental tenet that the student is central in directing their own learning so that the enthusiasm and love of learning is retained. We believe that learning can happen anytime and any place, thanks to the rich involvement of whānau and community. We have five guiding principles and five core values that define our special character.

From January 2014 to April 2019 the school was located on two temporary sites in Halswell and Ilam. These locations had very different traffic requirements than our new facilities.  From April 2019 the school will be located in a purpose built single site in the CBD at the start. A vital part of the school’s special character is its connection to the central city.

Why are we located in the CBD?

Our school wants to do all it can to make sure that our community can safely arrive at our unique Y1-13 CBD based school. Thanks to our location our school is able to use the entire city as its classroom.  The challenge of this location is however the lack of car parking and drop off zones typically present in a school. We aim to encourage our families to find the easiest way for each of them to get to school, by providing current information about public transport and public drop off spaces nearby, while building partnerships with local organisations.

Start and finish times

The CBD building will be open from 8am to 4pm each day.

  • Y1-6 classes run from 9am-3pm
  • Y7-13 classes run from 9am-2.30pm

With no supervision before 8am and the building locked, it is extremely important to ensure that your child does not arrive at school before 8am.  We do not believe that this is a safe option for any of our students.

With more than 670 students expected to arrive at school each day, we want to staggered the arrival of our students as much as possible.  We therefore encourage,

  • Y7-13 families to have their child arrive anywhere from 8am-8.40am each day or between 9.30am and 10.30am if they have a prearranged SDL programme organised with their Learning Advisor.  
  • Y1-6 families are encouraged to arrive at school between 8.00am and 9am each day.  Please note that we expect the busiest drop off time to be 8.50am. If you can arrive earlier than this, we would appreciate it.

The school day finishes at 2.30pm for most Y7-13 students each day. We strongly encourage these students to either leave immediately or to wait until 3.30pm on their floors. This will allow the departure of the Y1-6 students at 3pm to take priority.

Y1-6 students will not be allowed to leave the building without being collected by a parent, unless they are taking the walking bus to the bus station.

Public transport

We strongly encourage our families to use the cities extensive bus network to get to school.  The school is located within a 3 minute walk of the bus exchange. The advantages of taking the bus to Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery include

  • not having to worry about car parking (finding a park in the CBD can be tricky and there is also the cost of the park)
  • not having to find a suitable and safe drop off point
  • the relatively short distance between the bus exchange and the school
  • the many environmental benefits we all get from reducing the number of private vehicles on the road

You can find more information about fares and routes at metroinfo.co.nz.

Walking bus

The school will operate a walking bus each day from the bus interchange to the school. Children will need to go to [INSERT AGREED DROP OFF POINT] at the the exchange.  The walking bus will initially be operated by a learning advisor with parental and student leader support. The walking bus will leave the exchange at 8.30am and 8.50am each day.

The walking bus will return to the bus exchange after 3pm. Once again this will be operated by initially a learning advisor, with parental and student leader support.

Car parking

The school has no car parking.  If you intend to drive to school you need to be aware that it is your responsibility to find a place to park.  Our parents are currently exploring building connections with local business in the hope of finding suitable nearby parking options for families.  

The City Council has created this map for us (current April 2019) that shows where you can find car parks that are close to the building.  This is an important resource that can help with your planning when coming to town. You can ask for a copy of this map at reception.

Drop off zones

There are currently no drop off areas directly outside the school.  There are no suitable drop off zones nearby the school either. Anyone who has tried to drop off or pick up someone from the bus exchange will be acutely aware of how unfriendly the CBD is to cars.

Parents are exploring partnerships with nearby organisations in the hope of creating a nearby drop off zone for families.  St Asaph Street is currently, in our view, not a suitable drop off zone due to

  • the volume of traffic that uses the road
  • having bike lanes where passenger doors open
  • it being a multilane, one way street.

If you to plan to drop your child off via car, we strongly advise you to use one of the nearby parking buildings, Wilson’s Parks or the on street parking around South City.

Pick up zones

Like the drop off zone situation, there is really no suitable nearby pick up zone.  We anticipate that pick up times will be more congested than drop off times as families tend to arrive early and wait rather than just pull over and drop off their child.

We would encourage families to identify a nearby pick up space for their child. This is particular so for families of younger students.  We do not want students leaving the building without being first collected by a parent or caregiver. This means you will need to think about nearby car parking, walking to school, collecting your child and then returning to your car.

Mobility car parks

The school has two mobility car parks.  These are only to be use by people with appropriate permits.  These cannot be used by families as drop off zones.


The school encourages students and families to come to school on their bike.  There is monitored and free bike storage at the bus interchange. Bikes cannot be brought into the school for storage.


We do not encourage students to use scooters to get to school.  There are no facilities for scooter storage at the school and scooters (including e-scooters) are not to brought into the building.


For those of you living nearby you can walk to the school.