Easy methods to Get Round New Zealand


A campervan on Wanaka Lake in New Zealand
It’s straightforward to get round New Zealand. Buses go in all places, automobiles consistently choose up hitchhikers, campervans are straightforward to lease, and backpacker bus excursions zigzag across the nation. Plus, there are trains and planes.

Briefly, there’s no scarcity of transportation choices.

After I was in New Zealand just lately, I used almost each considered one of these choices so, at the moment, I need to share the professionals and cons of every so you understand how to get round New Zealand essentially the most (price) efficient and environment friendly approach attainable!

Backpacker Excursions

Stray Bus, New Zealand
Probably the most common methods vacationers get throughout New Zealand is by backpacker bus. These buses provide a hop-on/hop-off service that enables vacationers each the flexibleness to go at their very own tempo and the comfort of getting actions and lodging organized for them. New Zealand has two main hop-on/hop-off buses: The Kiwi Expertise and Stray.

  • The Kiwi Expertise – The Kiwi Expertise is the largest and hottest backpacker bus in New Zealand. It attracts primarily younger gap-year vacationers. I’d say it’s about 50% 18-22-year-olds, 40% 23-27-year-olds, and 10% 28+. I like how they exit of their approach to verify everybody socializes and will get to know one another: the drivers play a number of video games and icebreakers, and there are group dinners most nights. The draw back is that: (a) the buses seat round 55 individuals, and once they’re full, they get a bit of bit cliquey (and through the busy season, the bus is just about at all times full); and (b) the passengers are actually centered on getting drunk (the bus’s affectionate nickname is “The Inexperienced Fuck Bus”), therefore why so many younger individuals take it. I’d say in the event you’re 25 or youthful (or simply in search of a celebration), this bus is for you.
  • Stray Journey – Stray has smaller buses, offering a extra intimate setting and making it simpler to fulfill individuals. Whereas there are lots of gap-year vacationers on the bus, Stray picks up extra older, unbiased vacationers. The bus drivers don’t play as many video games or have as many icebreakers, making it a bit awkward if you first step on the bus alone and aren’t an extrovert. If you happen to aren’t actually seeking to occasion so much or need to spend time with extra mature vacationers, Stray is for you.


the Tranz Alpine train route in New Zealand; Photo by Johannes Vogel (flickr: @vogeljohannes)
New Zealand has three practice traces: Northern Explorer, Coastal Pacific (at present closed due to the earthquakes), and TranzAlpine. These should not commuter trains however scenic practice rides: they arrive with viewing platforms, audio commentary, data packets, and massive home windows for taking pictures.

Listed here are the costs:

New Zealand train routes

I took the TranzAlpine throughout the South Island. It had been a dream of mine to do since my first go to in 2010 and I beloved each minute of it. It lived as much as all of the hype. You move rivers and mountains, cross gorges, and roll by vibrant inexperienced farmland. It was a very peaceable, informative, and scenic technique to get throughout the South Island and made me want there have been extra trains across the nation (come on, NZ, you are able to do it!).

This isn’t essentially the most environment friendly or least expensive technique to get round (heck, the Northern Explorer from Auckland to Wellington is 11 hours!) however I can’t suggest this sufficient. It’s value each penny.

Tip: InterCity provides a bus/practice combo ticket from Christchurch to Greymouth after which onward to Nelson or Franz Josef, but it surely’s really cheaper to e-book it individually.


Naked Bus, New Zealand
If you happen to aren’t renting a automobile, buses are the very best and least expensive technique to get round New Zealand. Buses cease in each city, and there are frequent departures from even the smallest cities.

There are two most important corporations: InterCity, New Zealand’s largest public bus community, and Bare Bus, a holding firm for extra traveler-centric buses and excursions.

Personally, I just like the Bare Bus because it tends to be just a few cheaper and have extra package deal choices geared towards unbiased vacationers. However the bus expertise? It’s principally the identical. Each corporations use related coaches and each have wifi. (Additionally, Bare Bus contracts out to InterCity on the South Island.)

These are the common ticket prices for pattern routes:

New Zealand sample bus routes
Costs exclude the $three.99 reserving payment for InterCity and the $1.99 reserving payment for Bare Bus.

You can even discover tickets as little as $1 NZD in the event you e-book a minimum of two months prematurely. I have a tendency to purchase transportation last-minute so I by no means scored these tremendous low cost fares however they’re an superior deal in the event you can!

Each corporations additionally provide bus passes. InterCity has two, each of which legitimate as much as 12 months: FlexiPass, an hours-based bus move (15-80 hours) designed for backpackers and unbiased vacationers; and the TravelPass, a fixed-route move that’s solely good for spots on that particular route. The FlexiPass prices between $135 – $545 NZD, whereas the TravelPass prices between $125 – $1045 NZD. The Bare Bus has one too known as The Passport, which is legitimate for a set variety of journeys: three, 5, 10, or 20. It prices between $99 – $439 NZD.

With the InterCity TravelPass, you possibly can cease anyplace alongside the route. For instance, in case your move consists of journey between Picton and Christchurch, you would do Picton to Blenheim, Blenheim to Kaikoura, and Kaikoura to Christchurch all on one journey. With the Bare Passport, you possibly can solely cease at locations listed on their move route’s web page.

So +1 for the IC TravelPass.

I purchased the $135 InterCity FlexiPass for 15 hours. Including up my journeys on the South Island individually, the value of my tickets would have been $172, so the move does lower your expenses. Nonetheless, there’s a caveat: you possibly can solely use the FlexiPass on InterCity buses, and on the South Island they contract out a number of routes, so I couldn’t use my move from on many of the routes to Milford Sound, Mt. Prepare dinner, or Bluff (to get to Stewart Island).

So what’s a traveler to do?

If you happen to’re reserving far prematurely and getting a budget low cost fares, don’t purchase a move. I’d additionally skip the large fixed-route move, as they don’t provide worth when in comparison with different large passes or tour operators. For instance, the InterCity TravelPass is $1045, however Stray has extra complete passes for much less — at present its Max Move is barely $929 and has extra locations and actions. Kiwi Expertise’s Sheep Canine does the identical for $799. On the larger costs, the backpacker buses make higher sense than a bus move.

I’d purchase a FlexiPass since it’s hours primarily based and lasts ceaselessly. Mix that with different low cost tickets purchased far prematurely, ridesharing, or anything. Combine and match what you do for optimum financial savings. Use the move for costly routes and cheaper choices for different, shorter routes!


Air New Zealand
Flying in New Zealand isn’t that low cost, as there are solely two corporations that dominate your entire market: Air New Zealand and Jetstar — and on most routes, it’s simply Air New Zealand. Whereas yow will discover some low cost fares on shorter routes or by reserving just a few months prematurely, until you’re actually pressed for time or touring from island to island, I’d skip flying.

Listed here are costs for some common routes:

sample prices for domestic flights in New Zealand

Campervans and Automobile Leases

a campervan camping near a lake in New Zealand
Campervans litter New Zealand, particularly on the nature-heavy South Island, the place individuals hike and camp, as a result of they function lodging and transportation multi function, and for budget-conscious vacationers, that’s a win-win. There are 5 most important rental businesses: Jucy, Travellers Autobarn, Spaceships, Britz, and Depraved Campers. Jucy is dominant; I noticed extra of its automobiles and vans than every other firm.

Costs range so much. Your every day fee will change relying on the place you choose the automobile up, in case you are dropping it off at a distinct place, how lengthy you’re renting it for, how far prematurely you e-book, and if you e-book (going through the excessive season? Costs appear to double!). You want a level in accounting to determine how these corporations worth their automobiles! Listed here are pattern every day charges for if you choose up and drop-off on the similar location:

sample prices for campervan rentals in New Zealand

Listed here are pattern every day charges for if you choose up and drop-off at a distinct location:

sample prices for campervan rentals in New Zealand

If you happen to drive, getting a campervan goes to be some of the economical technique to get round. You’ll be capable of use your van/automobile as lodging, choose up vacationers to separate the price of gasoline, and possibly discover journey companions to separate the price of the automobile itself. In case you are spending $70 NZD per day for a Jucy campervan that may match three individuals, that’s a financial savings of as much as 50% in comparison with a hostel and every day bus journey, which can set you again $30-50 a day.

If you happen to use a campervan, you’ll want to obtain the superior CamperMate app, which helps you to discover close by campsites, gasoline stations, and dump stations.


A hitchhiker on a green road
Hitchhiking is straightforward in New Zealand, and it’s one of many most important methods to get round. There are many individuals who will choose you up. Moreover, you possibly can simply ask round any hostel for a journey — everyone seems to be doing the identical circuit. I bought from Wanaka to Queenstown to Fiordland that approach. Plus, hostels even have boards the place individuals are in search of rides. Moreover, take a look at the Thumbs Up NZ or Carpool New Zealand ridesharing apps.


There are a number of methods to get round New Zealand. If you happen to’re OK driving, lease a campervan. Don’t need to drive? Bus it or get rides with different vacationers — somebody is at all times seeking to break up the price of gasoline! It doesn’t matter what, you’re not going to have bother getting from level A to B, even in the event you get up and wish transport that very day! On a good price range? Positively don’t fly! New Zealand is a straightforward nation to journey and, with some planning, an inexpensive one too!

E-book Your Journey to New Zealand: Logistical Suggestions and Tips

E-book Your Flight
Discover a low cost flight to New Zealand through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They’re my two favourite search engines like google and yahoo. Begin with Momondo.

E-book Your Lodging
You’ll be able to e-book your hostel in New Zealand with Hostelworld. If you wish to keep elsewhere, use Booking.com as they persistently return the most affordable charges. (Here’s the proof.)

Don’t Neglect Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will shield you towards sickness, damage, theft, and cancellations. I by no means ever go on a visit with out it. I’ve been utilizing World Nomads for ten years. You must too.

Want Some Gear?
Try our resource page for the very best corporations to make use of!

Need Extra Data on New Zealand?
Be sure you go to our strong destination guide on New Zealand for much more planning ideas!

Picture credit: 1, 2, 3, 4

The publish How to Get Around New Zealand appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

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