travel around new zealand

How to travel around New Zealand

How to travel around New Zealand should be obvious right?

It really does depends on what you want to see, what you want to do and the distance you wish to travel to get there.

There are, of course, a variety of options for you which will depend on several factors:

  • Budget
  • How long you have
  • How far you want to travel

Further information around the main methods’ of transport is below:

  • Fly
  • Drive
  • Bus / coach
  • Train

Travel around New Zealand – Fly!

For the size of the country New Zealand is pretty well set up for flying but it can be pricey.

If you have time it may be cheaper not to fly.

Flying is a great way to cover large distances in a short time.

The main domestic airlines in New Zealand

  • New Zealand airlines
  • Jetstar

Competition amongst domestic airlines means that great fares are available.

A number of the major airlines use Loyalty schemes.

If you want a domestic flight, check how any points you have accrued from previous flights and use them.

Some domestic flights can be covered entirely by your loyalty miles which will save you money.


Travel around New Zealand – Drive!

It may be a long way between destinations but driving has to be great option for you to travel around New Zealand. (Particularly if you have the time to do it)

See New Zealand your way by taking one of the truly amazing touring routes.

Some people like to hire a car or camper while other people will prefer to buy and sell on later.

Things to consider

If you buy a car or camper you will have the initial outlay , the fuel and insurance cost and any maintenance or breakdown costs.

(Depreciate the value over the number of days to work out the daily cost)

If you rent you may pay more but will have less to worry about when compared to buy a vehicle.

We offer loads of hire options and can even sell you a camper van Let us know what you need and Get in touch

If you have time give us 24 hours and we will come back with the perfect option at a great price.

Camper van

A camper van is a great way to travel around New Zealand.

You can easily carry luggage, stop for a cuppa and a few pics, grab a bite to eat and get your head down for a kip, great right?

There is however one very important thing to consider…

Where you are going to park?!?

Roadside parking isn’t always the best option.

You could spend a lot of time driving about in the dark, stressing & trying to find to stay.

Unless you are determined you will probably end up at a camp-site.

This defeats the point and it can cost you a lot more money.

We offer loads of hire options and can even sell you a camper van Let us know what you need and Get in touch

From the Boss

In the end I found a car and Hostel a much better approach, the car was half the price of a camper, fuel cost less and you get to meet a lot more travellers in a hostel. Much better than travelling along the quiet roads by yourselves looking for a camping spot.The Boss

More from the Boss

I have a great example of a challenge I faced from when I was in Nelson. Continued…The Boss

Nelson is a biker town and we happened to park outside a biker club on a party night, we were approached and asked to leave which we couldn’t as the wine had been flowing.

Surprisingly we were invited in and started playing pool, all was going well until a young lad we travelled with for a while got a bit gobby with the barman and was asked to leave. We were ok as they invited us back later, we gratefully declined.

It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later we discovered that the bikers we met were a notorious Drug and Gun running gang and we realised how lucky we were not to find ourselves in a much more compromising position

(particularly when we were parked outside…)

We offer loads of hire options and can even sell you a camper van Let us know what you need and Get in touch

If you have time give us 24 hours and we will come back with the perfect option at a great price.


If you want to use a camper van, leave plenty of time to travel and park & decide how you want to travel and who you want to meet.

The novelty may ware off quicker than you think…

If the camper or car isn’t for you, you can always book a tour bus such as Stray Travel or Kiwi Experience.

How to buy a car in New Zealand

If you are looking to buy a camper van or car you can look in the local listing, garages, or hostels to identify a potential purchase.

You may get a bargain if the owner has to leave in the next few days…

Renting a vehicle couldn’t be easier, get in touch with us, we have you covered!

Alternatively you will find car rental companies at major airports, in the city, at travel agents and on the internet.

This all makes it very easy to hire a car, four wheel drive, caravans or motorbike and hit the highway.

Some companies allow you to return the car at your destination so you don’t have to complete a round trip #winning

N.b Look into the New Zealand driving laws and stick to them, ensure you are insured & taxed to avoid unnecessary complications

Bus or Coach

Travel around New Zealand – by Bus or Coach

New Zealand is really well set up for the backpacker with a great bus and coach network.

Book onto an inclusive bus tour and see the sites with ease.

Stray Travel & Kiwi Experience are the main 2 tour companies for hop on hop off bus services.

Transport is usually comfortable, easy and economical.

Most of the coaches will have the usual features such as air conditioning, reading lights, adjustable seats and videos.

If you want to go for it yourself then you may wish to consider the national bus service provider:

Intercity Buses

New Zealand’s largest national coach operator is Intercity.

Intercity travel to over 600 destinations and offer passes based on the number of hours you wish to travel.

If you can work that out and want to check out the passes go to their website to find your Intercity passes.

Hop on Hop off

As we mentioned above there are various hop-on; hop-off tour companies who offer you a variety of packages.

These packages can be convenient way to backpack around, meet new people, to visit the popular sites of the country and have lots of fun.

If you want to take some time out from the tour you can hop off, do your own thing and hop back on when you are ready.

Check them out below:


Kiwi Experience

By Rail

Travel around New Zealand – By Rail

The train is less popular method of travel for  backpackers.

Train travel is a convenient, affordable and scenic way to explore New Zealand but is less extensive.

There are Interstate and Intrastate rail services connecting cities and regional centres.

Obviously there are a variety train packages available to travellers to take you to your destination.

New Zealand Rail offer various rail passes, some scenic and some linked with bus or ferry travel.

You can check out their Scenic Rail Pass, the Scenic Train/Bus Pass and 3 – 7 day passes on their website.

We found that if you plan to stay in a city for several days and want to travel about the city or surroundings it is worth looking at local rail passes.

Quote from the Boss

I arrived in New York and bumped into a local who told me about a cheap 7 day rail pass.  The pass allowed me to hop on and hop off the city rail and subway network.He also got me a local network map and highlighted all the best places to see and the nearest station.  Brilliant information as it was my first week travelling!!I will never forget how helpful this complete stranger was with his insider knowledge but I got to see some amazing sites and save a bundle on travel costs…..The Boss

Rail, Bus and Ferry Combos

As if you would expect anything less in New Zealand as it is one of the best set up places for travellers making it easy to get around.

Click here and you can check out some combos for yourself!

Other considerations

If you are driving to a destination and have a spare seat put a note up in the hostel to fill the space.

This is a great way to make a friend and save some money.

If you need to get somewhere and need some help check out the Hostel notice board you will be surprised by what you can find.

The same thing goes for accommodation.

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