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An Essential Guide to New Zealand For Anyone Travelling Down Under
Guide To
New Zealand
General Info
General Info
Driving Reference


An Essential Guide to New Zealand For Anyone Travelling Down Under

There's no shortage of ways to get around and see New Zealand. Whether you plan to drive, fly, or extend your thumb, there are a number of transport services at your disposal. The usual rule of booking ahead applies to get discounts on rental vehicles, as it does to guaranteeing a seat if you're travelling by bus or train. Transport bookings can be made at Tourist Offices, Travel agents, and also through various backpackers up and down the country.

Air Services
There are two main domestic airlines, Air New Zealand and Ansett, which connect New Zealand's major towns and cities. Smaller commuter services operate from most of the outlying areas. In some of the smaller towns, locally owned businesses offer breathtaking scenic flights (Flightseeing) at competitive rates, which are well worth spending the extra dollar or two.

Bus & Coach Services
Daily bus and coach services are available throughout the country, offering very reasonable rates and convenient timetables. This has proven an extremely popular way for backpackers and budget travellers to get around, plus the odd exhausted cyclist with most coaches carrying bikes for a nominal fee.

Rail Services
New Zealand's Tranz Scenic Rail service covers most of New Zealand with eight spectacular scenic routes. Enjoy onboard refreshments while listening to the commentary about the local areas as you travel through them. Timetables and more information can be obtained by calling any of the Tranz Rail service offices during normal working hours.

Interisland Ferry Services
Travelling between the North and South Islands of New Zealand is made possible with the Interisland Ferry Services, carrying both passengers and vehicles (cars, caravans and motor homes etc). If you're after a faster trip, the Lynx catamaran and top cat will get across the Cook Strait in just over one and a half hours.

Rental Cars
Rental car companies are located throughout New Zealand, and include the major players like Hertz and Avis. Budget rental services are also available in most regions offering attractive rates for the more money conscious.

For information on driving and Road Rules in New Zealand, see the driving references page, or visit the official site of the Land Transport Safety Authoritiy, the leading provider of safety information and advice on land transport in New Zealand. They have a section devoted to international visitors, with clear interactive examples of traffic signals and other driving tips.

Buy-Backs are a good alternative to renting a car for those visiting New Zealand on an extended stay. Various Buy-Back dealers throughout the country will sell you a car, and then buy it back from you on your departure, minus depreciation. Second-hand Japanese imported vehicles are relatively inexpensive also, and can be found in abundance at city car fairs or auctions.

Get all the holiday freedom you need with a campervan. Most major rental car companies supply campervans at reasonable rates for overseas travellers, and have pick up and drop off points located all over the country. Campervans give you the opportunity to camp anywhere, with most camping grounds still allowing you to utilise their dumping facilities.

Taxi services are available in all major cities and can be found at taxi stands, or more conveniently by picking up the phone and making a call.

Shuttle Buses
Shuttle bus services can save you both time and money, leaving at scheduled intervals throughout the day and often servicing towns not visited by major coach lines. See local visitor centres for shuttle timetables and prices.

Cycle Touring
Bring your own bike or rent one right here in New Zealand, cycle touring is a popular way to see the country. Most major roads are well maintained, but do expect to be on metal roads if you venture off the beaten track. Also, do remember a cycling helmet, as they’re a compulsory head attachment here in New Zealand.

Although certainly a risk in every country, hitchhiking in New Zealand is said to be considered relatively safe. Using your common sense when accepting rides should keep you out of trouble generally speaking. We would not recommend women hitchhike alone, and recommend you always think twice before entrusting your life to someone else. The relatively small size of the country means you can cover a lot of ground in short amounts of time, which makes hitchhiking an attractive and cheap way to get around in New Zealand.