If you want to see everything New Zealand has to offer – you might be wondering how best to get round? Should you rent a car or a campervan? What are the different types of bus pass that are available, and what about touring with a small group? To help you choose how to get around New Zealand, here are some of the most common options and who they might suit.
From my experience, the most popular option for couples and families travelling around New Zealand is the freedom offered by a campervan. From budget vehicles to absolute luxury, New Zealand has a wide range of suppliers with an enormous choice of vehicles to suit all budgets.
Most companies only allow pick-up/drop-off in Auckland (North Island) and Christchurch (South Island). A few companies offer Queenstown (South) and Wellington (North) pick-ups too – so ask us for advice if you’re looking for other depots.
If you choose to collect your vehicle from one location and drop off in another this can be a much more time-effective way to travel. It can also save you money on the extra days rental required to drive the vehicle back to where you started. One way rentals often incur a small fee due to the costs of relocating the vehicle back to where it needs to be. These fees can vary from $75 to $250 depending on brand.
The minimum driving age for the majority of campervans in New Zealand is 21. However, the Mighty and Hippie brands do allow drivers to be 18 years old - I can advise you on this.
Another popular option is hiring a car to explore the islands. There is a fantastic selection of cars to suit everyone’s needs and budgets.
Unlike with a campervan where you sleep in your vehicle, with a car you generally pre-book accommodation along the route. In New Zealand, it’ll be small, privately owned B&Bs, boutique properties or lovely luxury lodges that New Zealand is known for. In high season (December to February) you’ll definitely want to reserve your accommodation in advance to guarantee availability – we can help with this!
These give you an idea of what’s possible but in New Zealand, anything is possible! Spend as long as you like and choose which ever standard of car and accommodation you prefer.
Most car hire companies don’t allow you to take your car from one island to the other. Generally you’ll have to leave your car at one side and pick up a new car on the other.
New Zealand has several bus companies who offer transport around both islands. If you’re short on time or travelling on your own these could be the perfect option for you.
The main companies we work with are Kiwi Experience, Stray and Bamba. All operate similar routes and offer hop-on/hop-off travel with knowledgeable local drivers.
For solo travellers, first time visitors or those who just prefer a little bit of sociable travel, a small group tour is a great option. The key factors for choosing the right group tour for you are: your age, your budget, any pecific places you want to see, how active you want your holiday to be, how much time you have and the size of group you'd prefer to be travelling with.
Group tours are great for budgeting – because so much is included, you know from the start how much you’ll need. There’s no running-out-of-cash and missing out several days in! If you’re wondering about a tour, but are unsure – see our top 10 reasons to try a group tour.
Although at first the cost of a tour can seem quite daunting, it’s worth remembering that most tours will include all accommodation, all transport on the tour, some meals and some activities.
If you want to explore – I highly recommend it! Having lived in New Zealand for three years, I can recommend places to visit, adrenaline activities and of course, help you choose the best way to get around. For more information – contact me. I can help you plan an amazing trip to New Zealand!