New Zealand is a developed country, which means there are plenty of transport options to choose from when planning your holiday.
Self-drive holidays are extremely popular, with all the major rental car brands available here, along with many independent New Zealand companies.
Motorhoming has become so popular in New Zealand now, it often feels as if you are travelling in a motorhome convoy, even in the smaller regions. For visitors seeking to connect with nature, this comes as a disappointment.
Choosing an alternative way to tour New Zealand opens up endless possibilities
You are guaranteed to meet more locals and other travellers and experience an unforgettable adventure!
If you’re seeking to experience nature in New Zealand, you would be wise to consider alternative transport options including:
- Hire a car and rent one of our car camping kits – this opens up better ‘back to nature’ camping options because tent sites are often located some distance away from those in large motorhomes, and it’s easier to pitch your tent away from the crowds in many parts of New Zealand.
- Bus travel – Intercity Coachlines offer a range of passes that cover the whole country. This service is great value for money, fast and efficient. It also saves you the stress that a self-drive holiday can present to less confident and less experienced drivers.
- Train travel – whilst not as flexible as self-drive and bus travel, it is still possible to enjoy two epic train journeys in New Zealand from Auckland to Wellington in the north, and Christchurch to Greymouth in the south. greatjourneysofnz.co.nz
- Bicycle touring – it’s possible to ride the length of New Zealand by bicycle, from Cape Reinga to Bluff. The entire journey is 3,000km and utilises our extensive network of official NZ Cycle Trails, paths, lanes as well as quiet country roads. Of course, there are shorter rides you can enjoy throughout New Zealand. Take a look at our bike rental options. You can also purchase the Tour Aotearoa bikepacking maps here and we can pack and ship to you before you arrive in New Zealand.
- Hiking – it’s also possible to walk the length of New Zealand, utilising a series of connected walking trails from Cape Reinga to Bluff. tearoroa.org.nz
- Domestic flights – New Zealand is well serviced by two domestic airlines, Air New Zealand and Jetstar. Air New Zealand fly’s to all regions throughout the country. Be aware that you will be flying on small aircraft if you choose to fly to and from the smaller centres. Some destinations are serviced by ‘prop planes’.
- Charter flights – small aircraft and helicopters can be charted from most airports in New Zealand. Premium pricing applies to these modes of transport and advanced bookings are usually necessary.
- Ferries – as an island nation, there are many private and public ferry companies around New Zealand that can transfer you from one port to another. Popular options include Sealink and Fuller’s in Auckland (linking the mainland to the main islands of the Hauraki Gulf, including Waiheke, Rangitoto, Tiritiri Matangi and Great Barrier Island) and the Interslander and Blubridge Ferries linking Wellington to Picton (the North Island with the South Island).
- Charter boats – a very popular option in Auckland for group travel, charter boats are also a great way to explore the more remote islands of the Hauraki Gulf that are not serviced by ferry companies. Fishing charters are available from all major cities and towns around New Zealand. Private yachts can also be chartered from most coastal cities and towns at premium price points. You will find countless options in a simple google search.
- Urban public transport – most New Zealand cities are well serviced by bus and train services, particularly Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. It is necessary to be self-sufficient in smaller centres (walking and cycling are good options in the smaller cities and towns where travel distances around town are short when staying centrally).
Choosing the transport option that’s right for you
If you are an unconfident or inexperienced driver, a self-drive holiday is not recommended.
For less confident drivers, the other options outlined above are genuine alternatives – you just need to be careful to plan your accommodation to suit the fact you will need to locate yourself close to transport hubs, cycle trails or hiking trails.