Top 6 Travel Options for Travelling New Zealand

by | Last updated Mar 22, 2022 | New Zealand Live Work and Play

Campervans are a popular way to travel New Zealand


New Zealand is a compact country with plenty to see and do and when you are planning any trip to New Zealand, you will want to know the best way to get around. There are a number of travel options for travelling New Zealand so you can fully appreciate all it has to offer. Many hire a car or camper van while others travel on the extensive bus and train networks. If you are planning a holiday to New Zealand here are the travel options for travelling New Zealand.


Travelling New Zealand by Car or Camper Van


One of the best ways to travel New Zealand is by car or camper van. A vehicle will allow you the freedom to move at your own pace and go where you want, when you want! Your trip will be more flexible as you can deviate if you want to. A car is great to hire to get you around New Zealand however, the accommodation costs on top of the hiring fee may prove expensive – but this depends on the type of accommodation you will stay in. An option is to hire a camper van. A camper van means you will be taking your accommodation with you as you roam from place to place. If you don’t have a car and need to rent one you can rent one through If wanting a camper van check out great options at


Tips for Driving in New Zealand


  • Drive on the left side of the road in New Zealand
  • Know the Speed Limits. Speed limit signs are on the side of the road. They mostly have a red ring around a number. Speed is measured in km per hour in New Zealand. The national speed limit for open roads is 100 km per hour.
  • Only overtake when it is safe to do so.
  • Stay off your phone while driving.
  • Don’t drink and drive. It is illegal to drive with alcohol in your system if you are under 20 years old. Over 20 years old and it is 250 micrograms per litre of breath.
  • Watch out for animals on the road. Slow down.
  • Watch out for one way signs on bridges. Most of New Zealand’s bridges are single lane. Look at the sign first. The bigger arrow means that that side of the road gets priority so you will need to give way if you don’t have that arrow.
  • Understand how to drive in different conditions, particularly if driving in winter. Head advice regarding putting chains on your tyres.
  • Take your time and enjoy the scenery.


READ MORE: 1 Month New Zealand Road Trip Itinerary


Travelling New Zealand by Train


Taking the train in New Zealand is another transport options you could take. However, it isn’t as flexible as having your own car or camper van. New Zealand does has some of the most scenic train rides in New Zealand. The TranzAlpine runs between Christchurch, Arthur’s Pass and Greymouth on New Zealand’s South Island and take you through the scenic Southern Alps. If in a hurry, you could take the Northern Explorer that links Auckland and Wellington. This is a 12-hour journey taking you through the volcanic heart of the North Island. A highlight of the trip is the famous Raurimu Spiral – yes, just like the name sounds, it is a spiral – a feat of railway engineering. And don’t forget the Coastal Pacific which takes you between Picton and Christchurch where you will have the steep Kaikoura Ranges on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other.


Travelling New Zealand by Bus


New Zealand has a number of options to travel by bus. You could get yourself a bus pass, take a hop-on hop-off bus tour or take an escorted bus tour.

  • InterCity Buses

The only national coach service in New Zealand is InterCity. They offer bus tickets to get you from A to B in New Zealand and service many towns and cities in New Zealand. As well as cheap A to B tickets you can get bus passes to use on the bus network. Check out Intercity Buses here.

  • Hop-on hop-off New Zealand Bus Tours

A Hop-on hop-off bus allows you to travel by bus from certain points within the country and usually secures your hostel accommodation for the night. These are great options if you are travelling New Zealand solo as you get the chance to meet many other solo travellers. Check out KiwiExperience, StrayTravel and Flying Kiwi.

  • Take an escorted bus tour of New Zealand

If you want all the logistics sorted out for you – transport, accommodation, most meals – then consider taking an escorted bus tour of New Zealand. Some great tour companies include Haka ToursIntrepid Travel, Kiwi Experience, G Adventures, AAT Kings, Globus and Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours.


Travelling New Zealand by Plane


New Zealand has plenty of airports servicing many cities so if you prefer to fly, then why not. However, flying is great to get you from A to B but you do miss out on a lot. The major airline in New Zealand is Air New Zealand.


Travelling New Zealand by Ferry


You can’t actually travel New Zealand by ferry, but you can travel between the North and South Islands by ferry. The ferry sails between Wellington on the North Island and Picton on the South Island. During the 3.5 hour journey you will be treated to some glorious scenery, particularly as you pass through the Marlborough Sound. Check out InterIslander timetable, costs and availability here. 


Hitchhiking New Zealand


Yes, hitchhiking is legal in New Zealand and is pretty common practice also. However, if you are on a time limit with your itinerary around New Zealand it may be a slow process and you will need to factor extra time into your travels. Just be safe and cautious about who you accept a lift from. 


Hiking in New Zealand


You may not have thought that hiking is a form of transport, but you can look at it that way. After all, walking is a form of transport. And walking can take you many places in New Zealand, and it is free! So don’t forget that hiking can be included into your travels around New Zealand. In fact, you could hike the Te Araroa Traial. This trail is 3,000km or 1,864 miles long and takes you from the top of the North Island at Cape Reinga, follows the centre of New Zealand all the way to Bluff on the South Island. They say it takes around 120 days to complete the trail. If you have the time, and love hiking, this may be a way for you to travel in New Zealand. 


Final Words on Travel Options for Travelling New Zealand


As you have read, there are a number of options to help you travel around New Zealand. All you have to do now is work out what is the best way for you to travel New Zealand. You can choose one option or combine a number of them. Whichever you choose, have the best time travelling around New Zealand. And I’d love to hear which option you chose in the comments following.


If you need Accommodation while in New Zealand check out and don’t forget the travel insurance. 

Extend your stay in New Zealand on a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa.


Travelling New Zealand by Camper Van Is A Popular Way To Travel New Zealand.

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Sharyn McCullum Travel Writer and Founder Of Live Work Play Travel, Work Abroad, Work Online, Travel Blog Enjoying At Beer At The Coldstream Brewery In The Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia.

Sharyn McCullum – Travel Writer / Blogger, Remote On-line Worker, sometime Digital Nomad and Travel, Live and Work Abroad Expert. Is a chocoholic, coffee connoisseur and lover of ’80s music. Been travelling all her life thanks to her dad who worked for an airline. Lived in London 4 years on a working holiday. Has holidayed in Hawaii over 15 times and currently calls Melbourne, Australia home. Is inspiring others to live work play travel around the world with this blog. Read more about Sharyn here.


  1. Pippa

    What did you think of New Zealand?

    I’ve lived here for 20 years, and love it. I really need to do some more travelling here, I just don’t get to see enough of my own country!

    • Sharyn McCullum

      I loved New Zealand. The weather in Cape Reinga was wild the day I was there. I loved all of my trip from the vibrant cities like Auckland to seeing those magnificent ‘Sounds’ – I just loved visiting New Zealand. Where in New Zealand do you live?


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