New Zealand — Transportation
New Zealand Taxis and Car Rental
Taxis are a safe and reasonable transportation option in New Zealand. In the cities, cabs can be hailed on the street or called. In Auckland, visitors should use Alert Taxis (+64-9-309-2000) or Auckland Co-op Taxis (+64-9-300-3000). In Wellington, Blue Bubble Taxi (+64-4-384-4444) and in Christchurch Blue Star Taxis (+64-3-379-9799) are the most well known operators.
New Zealand is quite large and many visitors choose to rent a car as relying on public transportation can be difficult in remote areas. Roads in New Zealand are well-maintained and well-marked. Many families also choose to rent a camper or trailer, which allows for flexible travel without having to look for accommodation at each stop or at the end of the day. With camper parks located throughout the North and South islands, this can be a great way to see the country. Car rentals are available in most major cities and airports, however, during the peak season, vehicles, especially R/Vs, must be booked in advance.
New Zealand Water Taxis
New Zealand is made up of two main islands, the North Island and South Island, which are separated by the Cook Strait. The country also has numerous small islands, of which the three most inhabited are Stewart Island, Chatham Islands and Great Barrier Island. All are connected to the mainland by ferry service or water taxis.
The main ferry between the North and South islands runs from Wellington (North Island) to Picton (South Island) operated by Interislander and takes about three hours. The journey is considered to be one of the most scenic routes in the world and is well worth doing. The ferry can carry passengers, cars, and campers, but visitors should book well in advance to ensure availability.
New Zealand Trains and Buses
New Zealand has a very good and reasonably priced bus network which is a popular way for visitors to see the country. There are numerous companies that offer both inter-city and long-distance travel, some more reliable than others. InterCity Coachlines is the national bus in New Zealand and offers connections to over 600 domestic destinations. In the main cities like Wellington and Auckland, there are also extensive public bus networks making them a good way to explore the cities.
Wellington and Auckland have a commuter rail network as well, operated by Tranz Metro and Veolia, respectively. Inter-city trains are run by Tranz Scenic, but the long-distance lines have not been well-maintained and service is unreliable. The train company is shifting to offering scenic routes specifically aimed at tourists as locals tend to fly or drive, due to cost and schedules. Lines from Christchurch to Greymouth travel through some of the most spectacular scenery in New Zealand and are highly recommended if you’re not on a tight schedule.