So, I am guessing that you’re thinking of visiting New Zealand? How could you not, I’ve been in this country for 5 months and I am still looking to explore more of it! There are so many magnificent landscapes and dramatic scenic routes to see, and never stopping activities happening around you. What is next, you say? Finding the perfect transport option to see the country.
Check out the list of the best ways to travel both islands and see the most on a budget.
Traveling in a campervan is definitely my top choice. You get so much flexibility with driving your own campervan, there is no need for a scheduled itinerary since you will be tackling each destination at your own pace. There is no doubt that there will be long drives involved, but it is a great way to see the scenic landscapes that created the land of the long white cloud (Aotearoa).
Renting a campervan is for sure more expensive than renting a car, but it will save you on accommodation costs, and you will also be able to stay where ever you want (of course sites that are permitted like campervan parks and DOC freedom camping sites).
If you are staying for one month or more, you can buy a campervan and save on rental costs.
Take a look at Elements Motors' article "Things to check in a vehicle when purchasing a vehicle"
*Please take note that gas price is relatively higher in NZ than other countries.*
2. Bus Experience
There are heaps of companies that offer bus passes for individual backpackers and travellers to hop on and hop off at any destinations they wish to explore! Not only is this convenient, you also get the perks of meeting other travellers, and make new friends from different parts of the world.
You may be thinking why flying? Flying is expensive and I can’t afford that. I know flying may seem pricey, but if you get the right deal, you can fly for as cheap as $1 NZD around New Zealand! Air New Zealand offers $1 fares on their Grab-a-Seat website. If you’ve got flexibility and you’re looking to get to another destination without driving, then Grab-a-Seat will be your friend. Sign up for notifications so you won’t miss a deal!
4. Scenic Rails
You also have the option to take scenic rails from one place to another, allowing you to leisurely admire the landscape you pass. There are two different rails from Christchurch, the main transport hub in the South Island.
If you are looking to travel from Christchurch to the West Coast, the TranzAlpine runs from Christchurch to Greymouth and back, bringing you through Arthur's Pass the highest pass across the Southern Alps in New Zealand.
The Coastal Pacific rail brings you through prime coastal views, travelling north to Picton. Coastal Pacific train passes by Kaikoura, where you can hop off and explore the abundance of marine life here. You can also go on a whale watching tour and see for yourself the beauty of Sperm whales splattering the waters with their enormous tails. (*PSA. Coastal Pacific is currently suspended for the 2016/17 season due to earthquake disruption between Kaikoura and Blenheim.)
In the North Island, take the Northern Explorer from Auckland to Wellington, stopping in areas like Waitomo, Tongariro National Park, Palmerston North and Wellington. You can also take the ferry from Wellington and cross over the ocean to Picton on the South Island.
I’m guessing your question is “Is it safe to hitchhike in New Zealand?” My answer to that is yes, to an extent. New Zealand is one of the safest countries in the world, and one of the most popular country for solo backpackers to hitchhike; also you get the chance to meet locals and fellow travellers!
However, I am not saying that it is always safe to just hop in someone’s car. You have to have some common sense when hitching for a ride; also be extra cautious if you are a solo traveler (and a female traveler).
If you are thinking of hitchhiking around the country, keep in mind a couple of things:
a) Have a sign for the destination you are looking to head to. I know you are probably thinking isn't a thumb enough? Let's be honest, it is more effective for you to catch a ride when drivers know where you are going before they stop.
b) Stand on the side with traffic going the direction that you want to go to
c) Relocate yourself to the outskirts of town so that cars are actually headed the way that you hope to go.
d) You can also strike up a conversation with a driver at a gas station, that could possibly land you a ride if they are headed the way you want to go. I personally picked up a backpacker when I was fueling up my vehicle at a gas station. Everything is possible if you ask the right person!
Hope this article helps you on deciding how you want to see New Zealand! Comment below with any questions, we would be happy to help you out.