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Travelling around New Zealand

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Whether you’re visiting temporarily or moving permanently, discovering New Zealand will be high on your priority list. Day to day commutes and travel will also be something to consider. The urban areas in New Zealand have good transportation networks, while flights are common for longer distance travel between cities. Driving is the best way to explore New Zealand's rugged landscape.

Planes

One of the fastest ways to city hop around New Zealand is to use planes. Even smaller cities and tiny islands have domestic airports. If you book your flights far enough in advance – and even sometimes if you don’t! – Air New Zealand’s fares can be very affordable. Jetstar and Scoot (formerly Tigerair) are the two main low-cost airlines operating within New Zealand that are also worth considering. The islands are usually serviced by much smaller airlines and planes, like Barrier Air for Great Barrier Island and Stewart Island Flights to Stewart Island.

 Useful links:

Air New Zealand
Jet Star
Scoot

Trains

There are train lines in New Zealand, including very scenic ones that make for a great journey. However, this might be the most expensive way to get around the country. If you must use public transportation to make your way around then it might worth it to you to skip one or two flights and use trains instead so you can ensure you see some of the amazing New Zealand landscapes.

 Useful links:

Rail New Zealand

Ferries

At some point, you’ll likely want to go between the main islands of New Zealand, and aside from flying, the only way to do this is to take a ferry. Two ferry companies service the Wellington and Picton ferry terminals a few times a day, taking you between the North and South Islands via the Cook Strait in approximately 3 hours.

Ferries are very comfortable with reclining seats, cafeteria style restaurants, shops, kids play areas and cinema rooms. Outside decks and large windows give great views of the Marlborough Sounds, and sometimes even marine life. Take care if you suffer seasickness, though, as crossings can be rough in inclement weather. You can ride as a passenger only, or pay a bit more to bring a vehicle with you.

 Useful links:

Interislander Ferry
Blue Bridge Ferry

Bus

New Zealand does have national bus services, and you can buy single rides, multiple ride passes, or even join a bus tour of the country. Some buses even feature NZ$1 tickets, so this can be a great budget way to travel. InterCity and Naked Bus are the biggest companies that go all over the country, while Kiwi Experience is the most popular backpacker tour bus that offers hop on/hop off options – just note that this type of tour may have more of a party atmosphere.

 Useful links:

Inter City
Naked Bus
Kiwi Experience

Cars

If you prefer to have your own private vehicle to get around New Zealand, then you may want to consider hiring, or even purchasing, a car or campervan. If you’re expatriating to New Zealand then you will likely have a work commute and buying a car is probably the most practical way to go. If you’re just visiting then you may want to hire a car, or even a campervan so that you have transportation and accommodation all in one. Either way, if you plan to drive, then make sure you have researched all of the legal and safety requirements beforehand in our 'Driving in New Zealand' article.

 Useful links:

Avis
Go Rentals
Jucy
Trade Me

City transport

If you plan to live in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch then there are also a few public transportation options available to you, such as city buses, commuter trains, and even small ferries. Walking, cycling and scooters are also popular ways to commute to work when distance allows. From time to time you may also want to use a taxi, which can be hailed on the street or booked in advance. If booked you will likely pay a set rate, but if you hail one on the fly then it will use a meter and charge roughly NZ$2-$3 per kilometre.

 Useful links:

Metlink
Auckland Transport
Metro Info New Zealand
New Zealand Taxi Federation

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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See also

You can rely on job websites, classified ads in local newspapers or hiring agencies to find a job in New Zealand.
If you are setting up a business, then you might want to do it in New Zealand. Kiwis have a special entrepreneurial spirit that the country cultivates.
Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand and considered the country’s creative hub. It’s a major economic centre with ample opportunities for expats.
Auckland is New Zealand’s most international city, and is considered its economic capital. Global companies provide numerous job opportunities for expats.
Christchurch is the largest city on New Zealand’s South Island and is rebuilding following the 2011 earthquake, with lots of job opportunities for expats.

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