Ever gone to New Zealand? The country is in the Southwestern Pacific, and although it’s a small one, there’s no doubt the country is filled with stunning scenery.
Backpackers flock to New Zealand because there’s so much to explore in the country. There are amazing cities, such as Auckland and Wellington, but outside the cities are expanses of rolling countryside. Travelers will also find neck-craning mountains, which are the perfect views for a road trip. Also, there are eight million hectares of native forest and acres and acres of bush for people who love greenery. (1)
Some parts of the island nation are still quite remote. That’s why it can be a long way from one town to another in some regions. However, once you’re in the country, getting around is a breeze. There are plenty of options for how to move between places. It also helps that the country’s key destinations are distributed in its two main islands.
Since transportation is a crucial part of any trip’s enjoyment, you might be wondering how you’d go about your tour of New Zealand. As previously mentioned, you have many choices. But if you want to travel in style, check out these options:
- Traveling around by car
Nothing beats touring the country by car if you want the freedom to organize and experience an adventure around the country on your own terms. Traveling by car ensures that you won’t miss seemingly isolated attractions. For instance, one of the most exciting parts of traveling in New Zealand is by visiting its national parks, which are away from the main roads. You should definitely travel around by car if you want to reach them. (2)
If you opt to tour New Zealand by car, you can either buy or rent one. If you’re looking for a luxury campervan hire from Wilderness or other camper van rental providers on the island. If you have the budget and want something comfortable, go for full-sized vans. However, the cheaper, smaller campervans will also do the job for those who want to save on rent.
Going back to traveling around by car, here’s a closer look at your options:
- Buying a car: Okay, buying a car for the sole purpose of touring New Zealand might seem a crazy idea. But it’s worth it for some people, especially those planning to spend more than three months in the country.
Also, buying a car in New Zealand is pretty straightforward. Even the vehicle’s registration is one simple process. The most important thing is that you can find a car in good condition and a reliable seller.
- Renting a car: If you only have a couple of weeks to explore New Zealand, then it might be better just to rent a car. The daily rental rate becomes cheaper the longer your rental period. Note that not all companies offer one-way rental if that’s what you’re looking for. In fact, the majority of rental providers only allow for return journeys.
Travelers under the age of 25 might also want to note that car rental in New Zealand can be a little more expensive for them. That’s because of the higher insurance fee required. Also, another thing to keep in mind is that not all rental cars can get on an inter-island ferry. If you plan to travel between the country’s islands, better check with the rental company if you’re allowed to do so with their car. (3)
What’s great about traveling around New Zealand by car is that you can really experience everything that the country has to offer. It’s especially true if you’re going for luxury campervan rental or any motorhome, which provides a home for you on the road.
You’ll also be glad to know that many holiday parks in the country offer free overnight camping. Don’t ever set a camp up outside of designated grounds, though, as it isn’t always legal. If you want to go freedom camping and aren’t sure where to do it without getting fined, you can always find the official guidelines online first.
Anyway, whether you’re going to buy a car, rent one, or rent a campervan instead, you can drive around the country legally for up to 12 months so long as you have a valid driver’s license issued by your home country with you. (4)
- Getting around by bus
If you don’t like the idea of driving in a foreign country or you’re on a tight budget, traveling by public transport is your best bet. (5)
One of the public transport options available in New Zealand is the bus. It’s one of the best ways to explore the island nation while meeting the welcoming and amazing Kiwis. Also, with buses, you can avail of “hop-on, hop-off” passes, which will give you unlimited travel for a one-time fee. It’s especially a good offer if you have multiple places on your list. Of course, booking in advance will give you better deals when riding New Zealand buses. (5)
- Traversing New Zealand roads on two wheels
Another way of exploring New Zealand’s stunning scenery is by motorcycle or bicycle. Like a car, a two-wheeled vehicle allows for maximum flexibility with your itinerary. It’s even possible to venture off road if you want to at your own pace. People who love the great outdoors will surely like this option. It gets them closer to the stunning nature.
If you want to cycle your way around the country, make sure that you’ve already made some long-term cycling trips in the past. That’s because cycling around New Zealand requires a decent level of fitness. If riding a motorcycle, you can drive legally for up to 12 months if you have a driver’s license from your home country, just like when driving a car. (4)
- Touring by boat
The traditional way of getting around New Zealand is traveling by water. It’s the way to go for tourists looking for a unique perspective of the country’s landscapes. (5)
When you decide to tour by water, you can go onboard an organized boat ride through some of the most picturesque places the island nation has to offer. Or if you have the budget, take a luxurious cruise through New Zealand’s famous ferry routes, such as the journey across the Cook Strait. (2)
Going around the country by water may not be as popular as several years ago. Still, one can’t deny that New Zealand has breathtaking scenery that can only be experienced when riding a boat.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, New Zealand’s borders are temporarily closed for tourists. However, a reopening strategy for next year has already been unveiled. If you’re already in the country, you should definitely try traveling locally through one of the transport options discussed here to make the entire experience more enjoyable. Go ahead and start planning that New Zealand escapade that you deserve while keeping what you’ve learned here in mind.
- “New Zealand’s Forests”, Source: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/forestry/new-zealand-forests-forest-industry/new-zealands-forests/.
- “Things To Do In New Zealand”, Source: https://www.newzealand.com/int/things-to-do/
- “Age Restrictions When Renting A Vehicle In New Zealand”, Source: https://nzpocketguide.com/age-restrictions-when-renting-a-vehicle-in-new-zealand/
- “Enjoying New Zealand Roads”, Source: https://www.discovernewzealand.com/blog/driving-in-new-zealand-id-10
- “Transport”, Source: https://www.newzealand.com/int/getting-around/