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Transport Suggestions for North Island

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Transport Suggestions for North Island

1. Posted by ladybug66 (Budding Member 42 posts) 7y

Hey All,

Would really appreciate suggestions for the North Island. Arriving in Auckland on the 18th November. Planning on travelling up to Bay of Islands for a day or so, down to Rotorua/Taupo area, then over to see White Island if possible,
also want to do the Waitomo cave, Tongariro crossing - only the 1 day though! and then south towards Wellington where we have some friends living.

We have as much time as we want really but hope to be in Wellington maybe around the 5th or 6th December.

My question really is - would it be better to rent a car? It's me and my boyfriend. We're in our late 20s and really have no interest in the whole "Kiwi Experience" type of thing-like to party but also need our sleep!! Our other choice would be getting regular public buses between destinations.

I've gotten a couple of car rental quotes which aren't too outrageous. I'd like to camper van it but having done that before it proved to be very expensive.

Ok, i know i'm rambling now.

Basically - car rental, do most hostels/motels/cheap hotels have free parking?
Or buses - do the public buses have pretty good regularity and price?

Budget is probably the most important thing though!!

Suggestions would be much appreciated.

Thanks

P.S. We are going to the South Island after but I wanted to get the North sorted first.

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4835 posts) 7y

Quoting ladybug66

Basically - car rental, do most hostels/motels/cheap hotels have free parking?

They do. The only exceptions will be hostels in the big cities: Auckland and Wellington on the North Island, Christchurch and Queenstown on the South Island. (Although even here you can find the occasional hostel with free parking; you'd just need to do your research in advance and pick a hostel based on this.)

Or buses - do the public buses have pretty good regularity and price?

They do. Intercity/Newmans goes everywhere you could want to go daily, and two or three times a day on the more popular routes. You can get a flexipass to save quite a bit of money on the overall trip, or book way in advance to get saver and super-saver fares. There's also quite a few smaller more regional bus companies.

I'm a big fan of bus travel in New Zealand, but especially since there's two of you, it'd probably just make most sense to rent a car. You're outlining a pretty full itinerary for the North Island, being on the move almost every other day, so renting a car would probably work out to be the roughly same cost. And you get way more flexibility with times and side trips and stopping by the side of the road if you come across really gorgeous vistas.

P.S. We are going to the South Island after but I wanted to get the North sorted first.

You'll be going into absolute high season (which starts at Christmas, and lasts until late February), which especially on the South Island means accommodation which will be booked full weeks in advance (sometimes up to a month or two if you want a private room rather than a dorm). Keep this in mind.

3. Posted by ladybug66 (Budding Member 42 posts) 7y

Great, thanks.

I think we might go with a car rental, rather than hopping on and off buses every other day. At least we can just throw our bags in the back and move on easily.

thanks for the heads up re: high season, we might actually end up stopping and staying in Wellington for a month or two, maybe try get some seasonal work and then move on to the South Island around January or so. Hopefully that way we can avoid at least part of high season.

Thanks for your help.