There’s plenty of beautiful sights and sounds to see around NZ, whether you stay within the cities or embark on a long trip out on its wonderful open roads. Traveling in NZ allows you to see its expanse of rolling countryside, towering mountaintops, diverse ecosystems, and stunning beaches and water bodies.
Of course, you’ll need a ride to actually get to your preferred destination. The question is, what are the best ways to travel around New Zealand?
Thanks to around 25 domestic airports across the country, air travel in NZ is certainly an accessible and fast way to get to your destination if time is of the essence. They’re very good for travelling long distance, though they can work out to be more expensive if your destination works out to less than a 4-hour drive.
The national airline, Air New Zealand, is capable of taking you to 25 different destinations, while Jetstar usually offers a more low-cost option. Note that both these airlines don’t have the same reach. If you want to get a more competitive flight, booking in advance with Air New Zealand’s special airfares can usually get you a good deal for your next trip.
Of course, travelling by road still remains a great option especially for leisure as it really allows you to take in everything on your trip. For that, you have many more choices.
This method is very easy and budget-friendly. While buses serve as the main means of transportation for many travelers in NZ, you may also take a train, or even a ferry. Taking public transportation is useful too if you’re not the type of person who wants to deal with the hassles of driving yourself. Simply sit back and enjoy the ride.
Many guides also recommend a transport pass. For instance, if you’re planning to spend some time in Auckland while using public transportation, you can make use of their HOP card which grants you a 20% discount on most fares while using the bus, trains, and ferry services in the city.
Of course, if you’re comfortable traveling with other people and would not mind following set routes, you can always go on a bus tour. They’re a stress-free way to see as much of the country even with the limited time frame. These tours tend to be all-inclusive, with accommodation and meals already included in the payment. It’s a bit more expensive than other methods of travel, but at least you don’t have to stress about your itineraries.
Many coach companies serve the major tourist destinations so you’re sure to cover a lot of ground if you lack a bit of the flexibility that driving yourself brings. Most charter coach companies also have travel guides which can help enrich the travel experience. Alternatively, you can try a hop-on, hop-off bus tour where you can catch a bus to get to a destination while actually staying there, catching a bus later on.
NZ’s train network is still a bit small with limited departures, making it a bit ineffective for most tourists and travelers. It’s not as popular as a travel method since you’ll usually need to pair this with another travel method such as a car or bus.
However, it’s still a good way to get a scenic route around the country. It’s also a really good means of travel for certain areas like if you’re traveling between the likes of the South Island to the North Island.
If you have the money and want to travel the country the more adventurous way, you can consider renting or even buying your own campervan. It’s going to be a bit difficult especially as its maintenance is not going to be easy, since there’s other components and amenities to look at, but if you're up for the challenge, having a campervan can be really exhilarating.
After the initial expensive purchase, camping in a van like this can help save a significant amount of money on transport and accommodation by freedom camping on the many campsites around NZ. Of course, you also have to consider your own lifestyle. It may not be worth it if you only travel once in a blue moon, but it's ood if you go around the country a lot. Depending on your preferences, a campervan travel tour could be a unique experience in itself.
Of course, you can rent a private car if you’re up for driving yourself. Think of it as a slightly less premium campervan experience. You miss out on the accommodation features but a car ultimately is cheaper and easier to maintain at least compared to a campervan. Car travel is handy for seeking out seemingly isolated spots which could help you find the best campsites for your preference.
Having a car makes it very flexible for you to travel, provided you know how to get around. Traffic is also light outside of the major cities so you shouldn’t have to worry about getting stuck for hours. Visitors are also allowed to drive on their home license’s country for up to a year as well. You can choose to go with a rental car or even buy one with the help of a good car loan from a reliable provider. Your options are rather good for this type of travel.
Of course, if you really want to get in touch with nature, you can try hiking as well! There's nothing like seeing the sights and sounds as you embark on a journey on your own two feet. The Te Araroa trail is a 3,000km journey from the top of North Island at Cape Reinga and stretches all the way down to Bluff right in the bottom of South Island; a sure challenge for fit and adventurous thrill seekers with a lot of time on their hands. Of course, you’ll take a ferry between the two islands but most of the trip will be done on foot. This trail takes over 120 days in order to complete. Of course, it’s not necessarily an activity for everyone but there are other shorter hikes you can go on if it's something you really want to experience.
At the end of the day, your preferred method of transportation will depend on you. Your options are as diverse as the sights and sounds this beautiful country has to offer. Maybe a bus tour with a dedicated travel guide is the type that suits your preferences more? Or maybe you prefer to be more in control of your schedule and thus, prefer a private car or campervan? The choice is yours. What’s important is that you enjoy and make the most out of your stay, making memorable experiences along the way!
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