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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 8 best ways to get around New Zealand – save some cash while exploring the rugged beauty of New Zealand
Joanna James Joanna James
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8 best ways to get around New Zealand – save some cash while exploring the rugged beauty of New Zealand

Budget travelling around New Zealand is one of the best ways to explore the diverse landscape and meet new people. Here are 8 of the top ways to get around the two islands.


Rent a campervan

For the ultimate outdoor traveller, not to mention saving some cash on accommodation, think about renting a campervan. You can easily find campervans in a range of sizes and prices to suit large groups or independent travellers. If you want to camp in New Zealand for free, you will have to invest in a campervan which is certified as self-contained


The national coach

The only fully coach service in the country is the InterCity service. They provide buses that cover almost all of the major towns and cities in New Zealand, making it the most extensive public transport system. Tickets are cheap, plus, there is the option of investing in a bus pass to save a bit more cash if you plan on using the service a lot.


Bus tours

If you want a stress-free way of travelling around the country, then hop on a tour bus. This bus follows set routes around the country and is usually all-inclusive of meals and accommodation. This is a great way to meet like-minded travellers and learn about other cultures. However, bus tours can be quite expensive when compared to other methods of transport. If you want to save some money while still experiencing a bus tour, find a hop-on-hop-off bus, much like the bus tours they follow a set route around the islands. The only difference is that they allow passengers to get off along the route and catch another bus later. You are also in charge of your own meals, so you have flexibility when it comes to spending.


Rent a car

For short cross-country trips, renting a car is the ideal option if you want freedom and independent travelling. There are several car rental businesses in New Zealand, but make sure to do a price comparison before you settle on one. There are also several hotel brands that offer car rental services, like Minor Hotels. Search online for recommendations so you have a rough estimate of what you will need to budget.



The train system doesn't cover much of the islands, however, the rides that are available are more of a picturesque experience. It's a fun and affordable way to get between main cities but because of its limited network, you will have to combine it with other modes of transport.



New Zealand has 24 domestic airports located around the islands, making it a quick and effective way to travel over long distances. If you're only travelling short distances, skip the plane and opt for a bus or train.



Hitch-hiking is legal in New Zealand and a common practice among locals. There's always a possibility of risk when getting into a complete stranger's car, but if you are careful about who you travel with, you'll have a great time meeting new people and discovering some hidden small-town treasures.



Best left to outdoor enthusiasts and campers, New Zealand has several trails that take you through absolutely stunning landscapes. For the adventurous types, this is one of the best ways to really experience the beauty of the islands.

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