Bus Travel in New Zealand
Statistically, overseas visitors would rather use the domestic air services to travel within New Zealand, rather than traveling by bus or train. Actually, car rental , private cars and ferries are the top three methods of transport used by visitors from Britain and Canada, while the scheduled bus and train services are pretty much ignored.
However, if you are on a low budget, using a bus to travel within a region or from one city to another is a good option. The roads are in very good shape, thanks to the many investments done in the infrastructure. Generally speaking, traveling by bus in New Zealand is cheap, fast and efficient.
Getting to/from New Zealand by Bus – From Another Country
New Zealand is an island so it’s impossible to get here by bus from another country.
Getting around New Zealand by Bus – From One Island to Another
If you need to cross between the North and the South Island, the cheapest way to go is by plane. Also, there are ferries linking the islands. It’s virtually impossible to get between the two islands by bus.
Getting around New Zealand by Bus – Within the Same Island
Buses are a cheap way to get from one city to another on the same island. If you book online, you might even get some bargains.
The companies offering coach services in New Zealand are:
- InterCity Coachlines – the national coach company, connecting more than 600 destinations nationwide. They also operate vessels so if you need to travel between the two islands, it’s possible to book the ferry ride as well, along with the bus ride. It’s a good idea to pre-book the ticket online in order to get the discounted rates.
- Naked Bus – is a low-cost company which offers city to city links. It is definitely the cheapest option for those who plan ahead.
- GreatSights New Zealand – is the daily sightseeing operator in New Zealand and offers 30 days sightseeing tours in the country.
- Flying Kiwi Adventures – is the original adventure bus tour company. Trips range from 3 to 27 days and cover both islands.
- Atomic Shuttles – is a low-cost company operating shuttle services in parts of the South Island
- Backpacker buses – offer trips around New Zealand. You can hop on and off at your will.
Getting around New Zealand by Bus – Within a City
Bus travel is very popular in Auckland . If you don’t mind to walk to the bus station, you can easily do without a car in this city. However, at peak hours the buses aren’t that reliable and delays of up to 15 minutes are common on all routes. The bus system in the city is not integrated, so there are different bus companies serving different parts of the city. The largest operator is Stagecoach.
In Hamilton, the bus service is also a good option to get around the city. The operator is Environment Waikato and covers the entire city. One way tickets are good for 2 hours (and cost $2.60NZ).
Wellington also has an extensive network of buses, including a number of routes served by electric trolleybuses. Free maps are available in locations around the town. For the travelers, the best option is to get an all-day central bus pass.
Rotorua, on the other hand, has a bus service for is limited. Although Christchurch’s bus system has been improved over the last years, it’s still a good idea to plan to use a rental bike while you are here. And in Queenstown the bus service is also limited, with only three routes available.