New Zealand is the adventure capital of the World. It is a country known for its abundant landscapes, friendly locals, and tender lamb! Each NZ destination is a spectacular place to see.
And choosing how to travel around this beautiful country is as important as choosing where to go – so, check out the 6 best ways to see and experience the land of the long white cloud — New Zealand.
A two-in-one passenger transport and tourism company, Intercity operates New Zealand’s largest bus network and has been going for more than 30 years – connecting more than 600 destinations nationwide with 130 services daily.
Intercity is one of the country’s lowest cost transport network, with bus fares starting from only $1 (plus booking fee) and you can easily book trips online and the earlier you book, the cheaper it is. Buses are all equipped with wi-fi (free of charge), which is an added bonus!
They also offer flexible saver packs including InterCity FlexiPass and InterCity TravelPass for your total freedom to explore the national network at discounted rates.
Best for: Medium budget / alternative routes / bolt on travel
Dubbed as New Zealand’s backpacker network and running for 25 years, the Kiwi Experience bus passes offer flexible, guided travel in a hop on hop off style. You’ll get to travel alongside your fellow backpackers and meet some new travel buddies – especially in the 18-25 age range.
Kiwi Experience has 6 main pass types to choose from with something for every style, time frame and of course budget:
- Start anywhere/finish anywhere
- Start Auckland, finish Christchurch
- Start Christchurch, finish Auckland
- North Island only
- South Island only
- Whole country passes.
The bus drivers are friendly, too! They’ll be chatting about what you can get up to, booking your succeeding trips, and even helping you with your accommodation – with your first night in each stop guranateeed.
Though not the cheapest option, Kiwi Experience bus comes with a lot of discounts and route options. Who knows maybe you can catch a bigger pass on a cheap price when it comes out on sale – so keep an eye on our Kiwi Experience deal page!
Best for: Flexible and longer stays / solo and young-gap backpackers / people wanting to meet new people and discovering new routes / partygoers looking for an enjoyable nightlife
Stray New Zealand
“Take off the beaten path.”
That’s just how Stray New Zealand ethos works, immersing you into few different destinations alongside the major ones.
They have a range of authentic activities to do in NZ like a farm stay experience, a wild stop-over on Stewart Island, and a night in the country’s highest mountain – all of which are exclusive to Stray New Zealand.
Much like the Kiwi Experience their drivers also serves as your local “guidebook” providing their own insights on New Zealand’s history and culture.
Stray’s hop on hop off passes are valid for 12 months and during these months, you can re-travel and revisit your favorite spots in its operated routes – perfect for those who aren’t sure where they want to go but have a good chunk of time to play with.
It also comes in smaller group size of 24 for more intimate setting for you to meet fellow travelers and eventually, life-long friends.
Age wise Stray New Zealand attracts a slightly older age range than Kiwi (think 25 rather than 18!) but it’ll still be packed full of heaps of fun and good vibes!
Best for: Flexible and longer stays / solo, mature backpackers / people wanting to meet new people and discovering new routes
This bus company is the middle ground between backpackers’ network and Intercity. It promises the art of ‘stripping the cost of travel’. They are labeled as the Greyhound of New Zealand.
Naked Bus passes through 320 towns, once or twice daily throughout New Zealand. The only day they don’t operate is during Christmas Day – so no matter when you’re travelling there will be a bus to grab!
Their fares are starting at $1 per journey but they have the “first in, gets the cheapest deal” policy. Cheap seats are sold first so you have to be quite fast to get the best fare available.
The company also offers a travel pass called Nakedpassport which is on a per 5 trip basis and is valid for 12 months – it doesn’t include activities and tours so you have to purchase it as an add-ons. However, they will give you a discount depending on the activity or tour you are going to do.
Naked Bus also introduced Nakedbus Sleeper, the country’s first lie flat bed on a bus. You can get the offer thru Nakedsleep.com which offers beds from $15 per person per night (plus booking fee).
Best for: solo, mature backpackers / people looking for variety of routes / flexible and longer stay / bolt-on travel
There’s no freer and more satisfying feeling than taking off the long road and having all the facilities you need when travelling.
Stopping off where you want and when you want through a campervan gives you a more authentic and fulfilling travel experience. It won’t limit you from the box of planning too much prior to a trip (well, planning your driving itinerary is a different story!) and you’re not tied to the schedule of buses nor tours.
But this freedom comes at a price and is actually can be one of the more expensive options to go with, especially for a longer trip.
Also, take note of the temperatures in New Zealand during winter time. In addition to campervan’s common facilities, you also have to hire heaters from the companies.
And above all, don’t forget to pass on “camperaderie” to others campervanning!
Best for: Medium to high budget / small groups or families / people looking for alternative routes / people looking for a bit more adventure
Renting a car in New Zealand still gives you the flexibility of a campervan but without the added cost. It would give you the freedom of spontaneously stopping off at an interesting place and be able to go to another anytime you want.
However, hiring a car in NZ requires that you are 21 years old and a holder of a valid international driver’s license. You should also understand New Zealand’s road rules – so read up and make sure you stick to the correct side of the road!
Car hire is perfect for going to New Zealand on a budget. It is not expensive and is more common during the months of March to April when most travelers come and go.
Best for: medium to high budget / small groups / people looking for alternative routes and shorter trips
No matter what option you choose for travel in New Zealand there are heaps of activities to pack your itinerary with – caving, zorbing, dolphin tour, bungy jumping, skydiving, surfing, white water rafting, black water rafting, heli hike, and hobbiton movie set tour – take your pick!