Most travelers to New Zealand tend to rent cars to get about the North and South Island. However utilizing the country’s easy-to-use bus system is a much more affordable option for your New Zealand vacation.
Several coach companies ferry tourists between New Zealand’s major cities. The largest is InterCity Coachlines, a national organization which travels to more than 600 New Zealand cities. Its network is not quite as expansive, but the Naked Bus is the cheapest way to travel around New Zealand. Fares start from just $1, and escalate as the bus fills up. Alternatively you can buy a Naked Passport, which offers discounted travel on a minimum of five trips. Atomic Shuttles is another low cost alternative, although it only operates in the South Island. Most Kiwi coach companies offer online discounts, so it’s worth planning your itinerary and booking your seat before you leave.
For shorter journeys within a city you’ll need to rely on the local public transport system. Auckland has its free Explorer bus servicing major tourist attractions, and other paid bus services if you want to travel outside that route. It’s best to allow plenty of time to reach your destination though, as Auckland buses are notoriously tardy. It’s not uncommon to experience delays of 15 minutes before your ride arrives.
Wellington’s buses are much more reliable, and a great way to explore the city. You’ll find free bus maps at various locations, which make it easy to find the city’s bus stops and routes. Travelers are best served getting an all-day central bus pass, which allows for unlimited journeys.
Sadly though, bus services are limited in some Kiwi tourist towns, including Rotorua, Christchurch, and Queenstown. You’ll find some buses of course, but their small number of routes and infrequent service means you may need to consider alternative transport to reach your destination.