This is a guest post by Matt from backpackingmatt.com
Known as the Land of the Long White Cloud, New Zealand is truly a wonderland of adventure just waiting for you to conquer. While you are planning your journey to visit the Kiwis, you will need to form a plan for transportation and travel. Like any place in the world you are thinking of planes, trains, and automobiles but there are a couple of other ways to see this beautiful country.
Let’s take a look at the best ways to travel in New Zealand in order to help you decide most appropriate way for you to see the breathtaking world that exists in New Zealand. Depending on the length of your stay, you can decide if one or the other is better or perhaps a combination of travel methods.
Cars are a great way to travel while visiting New Zealand. When you decide to drive yourself, you have more freedom in what, where, and when you want to see a particular spot on either the North or South Island. This really ensures you have the best possible New Zealand itinerary suited to your interests.
There are plenty of rental car companies in New Zealand. You can find them at any airport or major urban area on both islands. Rental companies range from Avis and Hertz to Ace Rental Cars and Go Rentals. Keep in mind you must be 21 years of age to rent a car and some agencies may want an additional deposit from drivers 25 years of age or younger. In addition, you will need a valid driver’s license from your home country or an International driving license.
An important fact to remember while driving in New Zealand is to keep on the left side of the road as people do in Australia and United Kingdom. Another factor to remember is that some roads are one lane and you must check the Give Way sign for which driver has the right to go first.
Cruising New Zealand in a campervan gives you the freedom and flexibility to enjoy your trip. Campervans are ideal for adventurers who want to be able to stay in a variety of places outdoors without paying for accommodations. There are plenty of campgrounds that provide full hook-ups for your vehicle in and out of the bigger cities. If you decide to rent a self-contained campervan or RV you can literally park anywhere and camp for the night. Like car rentals, you may have the opportunity to rent a campervan one-way, thus giving you the freedom to start on one island and finish your trip on the other without returning your campervan to your starting point. You can rent a campervan in most urban centres and airports from companies like Apollo, KEA Campers, Britz, Jucy, and Maui Motorhomes.
If you rent a campervan or car and choose to travel between both islands, there is no need to worry. There is ferry service from Blue Bridge and Interislander that makes the trip across the Cook Strait. The most common route is three hours from Wellington to Picton where you will have the opportunity to see the wonderful natural world of the Marlborough Sound.
Bus Service-Traditional and Hop On Hop Off
Bus service in New Zealand consists of several forms of buses along with associated activities. National bus service in New Zealand is operated by InterCity which offers the best network of public transportation in New Zealand. You can travel from urban centre to urban centre on InterCity with ease. Bus tours are another option but tend to be expensive with predetermined stops that include lodging and meals. There is also a hop on hop off bus operated by Kiwi Experience that is ideal for adventurers. These buses run exact routes with several stops along the way which allow you to hop on and hop off at your leisure. You have more flexibility with this type of bus service allowing you to choose your pleasure for meals, accommodations, and sightseeing.
There is a network of trains in New Zealand that operate on both islands. Train service in New Zealand take a more scenic route such as the TranzAlpine route from Christchurch to Greymouth which crosses over the Southern Alps. You can catch a train from Wellington to Auckland on the North Island that takes you through Tongariro National Park and the gorgeous Raurimu Spiral as well. Train travel may not be the best option but definitely a memorable experience for you given the incredible scenery. In the end, you will need to combine train transportation from Rail New Zealand with another form such as a car.
Motorcycle or Bicycle
If you like the open road and the wind in your face, then renting a bicycle or motorcycle is a great option for travel. Exploring on a motorcycle or bicycle also gives you plenty of flexibility on your travels. There are a variety of motorcycles you can rent including a Harley-Davidson and even one-way rentals may be available. Choosing a bicycle for transportation can be rewarding. You can peddle at your leisure from sight to sight or city to city after renting from NZ Bike or Cycle New Zealand.
New Zealand has 25 airports scattered throughout both islands. The two national airlines, JetStar and Air New Zealand, offer service to both islands and most destinations. Airplanes are an easy way to get around but once you land you will need to combine your travels with another form of transportation.
In the end, the amount of time you vacation in New Zealand will determine the best ways to travel in New Zealand for you. Just remember, be adventurous, be safe, plan your transportation around your comfort zone, and above all have a great time.
What is your favorite way to travel?