through Aotearoa by Bus,
and Rail: Top New Zealand Transport Picks
By Marie Javins, GoNOMAD TRANSPORTS EDITOR
is one of the most popular destinations in the worldtoday. It's beautiful,
compact, and inexpensive. Getting yourself around New Zealand is easy
-- most roads are sealed, the signs are in English, and an efficient tourist
infrastructure caters to travelers. Getting off the tourist path is tougher
-- unless you have your own wheels and can drive on the left.
Dozens of agencies rent cars or motorcycles. Bring a tent, or just stay
in the inexpensive cabins available at nearly all holiday parks, and you'll
save hundreds on hotel costs.
Nearly all private Kiwi campgrounds feature
kitchen facilities in addition to modern ablution blocks with hot showers,
Buy a campground guide on arrival. There are dozens of internet databases detailing rental car
options in New Zealand. New Zealand Tourism is a good place to start.
Motor home travel is hugely popular in New Zealand. You can
take your kitchen, your bed, your bathroom, and your entire family with
you, and stay in holiday parks or remote areas. Remember that motor homes
can be unwieldy to drive, and Kiwis drive on the left. Familiarize yourself
driving rules before you leave home.
the Driving to the Kiwis
New Zealand's biggest coach network, with Newmans
also running several routes. Both companies offer advance-purchase discounts
as well as several flexible pass and sightseeing options. Cyclists can
bring their bicycles and transport them in the luggage bays for a small
Kiwi Experience and Magic Bus offer low-cost
hop-on/hop-off travel passes. Passengers tend to be young backpackers
but all are welcome and the atmosphere is inviting. Backpacker buses visit
some remote areas not reachable without a car, and are best for those
wishing to meet other travelers or for backpackers on a tight budget of
time and money.
TranzScenic operates a limited network of lines through stunning scenery
on both islands, but their pride and joy is the TranzAlpine journey over
the mountains from Christchurch to Greymouth. The train crosses plains,
gorges, and the massive Southern Alps, leaving passengers on the western
beaches just four hours later.
Islands by Ferry
Cross the 83-kilometers of sea between the North and South Islands by "Interislander"
ferry (3 hours) or "The Lynx" catamaran (135 minutes). Foot
passengers and vehicles are both welcome. If you're renting a vehicle,
avoid the pricey auto fare by leaving your car/motor home on one side
and picking up another on the other shore. Both sides have shuttles to
local towns and train stations. Try to make the trip during daylight hours
to see the Cook Strait's fantastic scenery.
The New Zealand Travelpass
combines a bus pass with one ferry crossing and rail options. Passes are
available in 5-22 day increments. Travel days do not have to be consecutive.
your Own Steam
the energetic of all ages, New Zealand is best seen by bicycle. The South
Island, with its lack of traffic and spectacular scenery, is better for
cycling, while the North Island has some busy roads perhaps better visited
by throwing your bike in the cargo hold of a bus.
Kiwi cyclist Nigel Rushton runs a website
resource for cyclists, as well as a Lake Tekapo hostel. His book "Pedallers'
Paradise" is available in New Zealand as well as in some outdoors
stores abroad. For the less-than-fit, it can take a few weeks to gain
strength and confidence on the bike, so if you are on a brief trip, leave
the bike at home, or consider joining a cycling tour that supplies a "sag
wagon" for those hefty mountainous inclines.
While GoNOMAD does not recommend hitchhiking, New Zealand's reputation
as a hitcher's paradise is unavoidable. Increase your chances of success
and decrease the odds of spending a lot of time by the highway by asking
around for rides at hostels. Many travelers are happy for some company
and extra fuel funds. Try to avoid hitching out of heavily-touristed regions
as there will be lots of competition.
All major tourist routes are serviced by dozens of private shuttles. Some
regions, such as "Abel Tasman National Park," feature water
taxis. Auckland is home to a ferry
network as well as unique ocean voyages on tallship "Soren
Larsen." Most cities have public buses. Inquire at visitor's
centers for local details.
I thought you might be interested in a couple of further sites for this page.
KiwiCombo Pass New Zealand
Combines New Zealand transport and accommodation into one convenient,
cost-effective travel pass for independent vacations with a choice of coach
travel & self drive car rental, motels & hotels.
Flexi-Pass New Zealand Bus Travel Pass for independent travellers
Flexi-Pass is an innovative bus travel pass from Intercity Coachlines
allowing travellers to buy hours of travel to get around New Zealand - the
most flexible and comprehensive New Zealand travel pass.
Kea Motorcycles New Zealand Motorbike Rental
Banbury Bicycle Tours & Cycle Rental New Zealand
Also this is another excellent New Zealand travel resource site and
directory you might like to consider adding along with Jasons, AA Guides etc.
Destination New Zealand Travel & Accommodation Directory
Search for airfares to New Zealand