Though New Zealand has eight international airports, services to most are limited to short-haul flights from Australia’s east coast and Fiji. Visitors from further afield are most likely to fly to either Auckland or Christchurch, and many opt for a one-way fly-drive tour, flying into Auckland and leaving from Christchurch. Direct flights from Europe can take over 24 hours to complete, and we would strongly recommend a stop-over en route, particularly when flying the more tiring west to east route.
Cruise ships regularly visit ports around the country, docking from the western sea-board of Canada and the United States, Australia’s eastern sea-board, the Pacific Islands and Singapore.
Transport from and to the Airport
Both major International airports, Auckland and Christchurch, offer a range of transport options for arriving visitors.
Voted among the top ten airports in the world, Auckland Airport is located 21km south of downtown Auckland. More..
Located 12 km north-west of the city, Christchurch International Airport is New Zealand’s second largest, boasting over 6 million passenger movements in the 12 months to June 2010. More..
Getting Around New Zealand
New Zealand’s national carrier, Air New Zealand, and its regional subsidiaries Air Nelson, Eagle Airways and Mt Cook Airlines operate scheduled passenger flights to 26 domestic destinations around the country, while some scenic flight operators such as Bay of Island’s based Saltair schedule regular flights with connecting shuttle transport from Auckland CBD. Cut-price companies such as Jetstar and Pacific Blue also operate regular flights around the country.
Daily train services aboard the Overlander run from Auckland and Wellington in the North Island, climbing to the Central Plateau via the magnificent Raurimu Spiral and passing Tongariro National Park’s trio of stately mountain peaks (12 hours). In the South Island, the Tranz Coastal skims the beautiful Kaikoura coast from Picton to Christchurch (5 hours, 20 minutes), and the Tranz Alpine crosses the South Island’s backbone, the Southern Alps between Christchurch and Greymouth (4 hours 30 minutes). Seven and fourteen day passes are available, which also cover one passenger journey on the Inter-Islander ferry.
www.tranzscenic.co.nz New Zealand train and rail journeys.
To fully enjoy New Zealand’s diverse scenic delights, a road-tour is a most enjoyable and practical option, but independent travellers accustomed to driving on the right should be aware that driving on the left after a long-haul flight can be hazardous. We recommend a light driving schedule for the first few days. A wide range of transport options are available for independent travellers, from rental cars to campervans, while tour and public bus companies cater for those preferring not to drive themselves. For those travelling in campervans, camping grounds, particularly in the South Island, are well equipped and are often sited in picturesque surroundings, offering convenience, comfort and top-notch locations.
Things to remember when driving in New Zealand:
A green background indicates a state highway
A blue background indicates all other roads and services
A brown background indicates a tourist attraction
New Zealand has only one major toll road, the Northern Gateway Toll Road just north of Auckland. This 7.5km extension to the Northern Motorway (SH 1) cuts through Johnstone Hill between Orewa and Puhoi. A charge of $2.00 per car or light commercial vehicle applies per trip. There is no collection point on the motorway - the system is monitored electronically. Motorists have the option of stopping at the well-signposted self-service kiosks at either end of the tunnel, or of paying by phone or online.
Self-service kiosks are located at BP Connect Service Station, Dairy Flat (north-bound) and just off SH1, 1 km before Waiwera exit (south-bound).
Online payments may be made up to five days after the trip (ANZ, ASB, BNZ, Kiwibank, National Bank, TSB Bank, Westpac and Bank Direct Account holders only):
Phone payments using credit or debit cards:
Phone toll free 0800 40 20 20 between 8am and 6pm Monday to Sunday.
Car ferries leave Wellington (North Island) and Picton (South Island) at regular intervals throughout the day for the 3 to 3 ½ hour crossing across Cook Strait. Food and drinks are provided on-board all vessels, while some also offer workspace facilities, optional new release movies and club lounge upgrades. Bluebridge ferries leave from opposite the Wellington Railway Station in the central city, while Interislander ferries leave from Aotea Quay, north of the city, with a shuttle bus connection from the Railway Station for foot passengers. Both terminals are well sign-posted from the motorway.
Intercity bus en route
Tranz Scenic train with Kaikoura Ranges in the distance
Car Rental Companies:
- ACE -- Phone: + 64 9 303 3112 Book
- Avis -- Phone: Book
- Budget -- Phone: +64 9 529 7784 Book
- Europcar -- Phone +64 9 275 0066 Book
- Hertz -- Phone: +64 9 256 8690 Book
- Jucy -- Phone +64 9 374 4360 Book
- Thrifty -- Phone: +64 3 359 2721 Book
Campervan Rental Companies:
- Apollo -- Phone: +64 9 889 2976 Book
- Britz -- Phone: +64 9 275 9090
- Kea -- Phone: +64 9 441 7833
- Maui -- Phone: +64 9 275 3013