New Zealand: Local Travel Info
Land of the Long White Cloud
Internal Flights and Major International Airports in New Zealand
Auckland International Airport, 21km south of the city centre, is New Zealand’s main international gateway. Wellington International Airport and Christchurch International Airport on South Island are New Zealand’s other main airports. New Zealand is well linked by internal flight routes, with airports in most major towns and cities.
Getting To and From the Airport in New Zealand
Most international flights arrive at Auckland airport. There are regular shuttle bus services running between Auckland airport and the city, taking you direct to many city hotels, costing between $30-40 per person. Taxis to Auckland city centre cost about $60 one way. Wellington airport is located 8km south of town, and again there is a frequent and reasonably priced bus service between the airport and the city centre.
Travel Costs in New Zealand
Public transport in New Zealand is generally very reasonably priced, and there are frequent and reliable bus routes covering most of the country. A one-way intercity bus ticket from Auckland to Wellington, for example, will cost from around $48 but prices vary depending on your time of travel. If you are going to be in the country for a while and think you will be regularly using public transport around New Zealand, it may be worth buying one of the travel passes offered by the main bus and train companies, which often work out much cheaper than buying individual tickets from one destination to another and give you the flexibility to explore new Zealand in your own time. A five day intercity bus pass, for example, costs $399. Trains are more useful for sightseeing than simply getting around the country, but are a very attractive option if you don’t need to hurry. A week’s train pass costs $359, and includes the cost of the ferry between Wellington and Picton.
Renting Cars in New Zealand
There are plenty of international and local car rental agencies in New Zealand, especially in the main cities of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch where there is fierce competition and a variety of deals available. Exploring New Zealand by car can be an enjoyable experience, and can save you a lot of time if you are travelling long distances, and many of the bigger agencies allow you to rent your car in one city and drop it off in another. You must be at least 21 to hire a car, and rates vary considerably from one agency to another, with prices starting from around $30-40 or so per day. We recommend you book your cheap car hire or cheap car rental prior to travelling.
Drivers Licence Requirements in New Zealand
Your national driving licence will be valid in New Zealand, but if your licence is not in English, you should either bring a certified translation with you or an International Driving Permit.
Road Rules in New Zealand
New Zealanders drive on the left, and official speed limits for cars are 50km/h in built up urban areas and 100km/h on motorways. It is obligatory for all car passengers to wear seatbelt. An ‘LSZ’ (Limited Speed Zone) sign on a road means that the speed limit is reduced to 50km/h in poor conditions such as bad weather, limited visibility or very busy traffic.
New Zealand by Bus
New Zealand is a great place to explore by bus, and all major towns are well connected with fast and efficient intercity bus routes. There are two main operators which offer similar fares around the country. There is also a popular touring bus company, aimed at backpackers, which also travels around more out-of-the-way parts of New Zealand, and you can buy tickets for various legs of its itinerary, or passes for a full tour of New Zealand. New Zealand’s cities have extensive bus services, but services may be lee frequent on weekends.
New Zealand by Taxi
Taxi s are easy to find in and around the main city centres in New Zealand, as well as outside airports, but otherwise you may have to phone the taxi company to order you cab. Taxis are reasonably priced and are handy for short journeys but unless you are in a real hurry, they are not recommended for long, intercity journeys.
Water Transport in New Zealand
There are regular ferries travelling across the Cook Straits between North and South islands, departing from and arriving at the ports of Wellington and Picton respectively. Other passenger ferries in New Zealand depart from Auckland to the islands of the Hauraki Gulf, and from Bluff to the town of Oban on Stewart Island.
Hitchhiking in New Zealand
New Zealand is a relatively safe country for hitchhiking, although as always, hitchhikers should always exercise common sense in accepting lifts from strangers, and it’s a good idea to travel in pairs if possible. Hitchhiking may be a good money-saving option for getting around rural areas of New Zealand, but efficient and inexpensive public transport across most of the country means that hitchhiking in New Zealand is now much less common than it was in the past.