Advice on travelling from North island to South Island

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Advice on travelling from North island to South Island

Last Post This thread is marked as being about New Zealand
1. Posted by godriah24 (Budding Member 11 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Hi all,
I'm planning on being in NZ in around May time and was wandering if anyone could give me advice on what would be the best/cheapest way to get from the north to the south island. I've got around 2 months. I've been looking at bus packages in the uk to buy upfront, but they are quite expensive (I think, £190) Can anyone suggest if this is the best way to go about things, or is it better to wait to get out there and travel independantly. I've also been told that these passes are sometimes put up for sale on notice boards in youth hostels after someone has finishied with them. Any light shed on this matter would be of great help.

Many thanks in advance


2. Posted by pineapple (Budding Member 6 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

If you are looking for a cheap way to get round the best is too hitch. Its safe and as long as you pick a main road and its not a motorway you should be sweet.
The other option is to hire/buy a car. You can buy cheap car for probably £200 or less then sell/dump it at the end. Trade and Exchange newspaper is good for used cars (sometimes can find good deals from people who are leaving nz). Also car is best transport as planes are expensive and trains don't go to many places. Buses/coaches are ok.
As for advertisments at hostels, not too sure as i usually camp/sleep in the car.
My advice -hitch it you'll meet some cool people. Oh yeah one last thing there is a car ferry called the interislander that you take to get from north to south islands and vice versa. Go see the malborough sounds it rocks! Good luck.:)

3. Posted by SLOAN (Budding Member 3 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

There are 2 big bus services that are set up specifically for travellers to N.Z. The Kiwi Experience busses cater mainly to a young
bunch of party-animals from the U.K. who want to get around 1 or both
islands with the option of getting off the bus at different areas,
then re-boarding a day or a few days later to go to the next stop.
This is a relatively expensive way to travel by bus but the driver
will call ahead to the hostel of your choosing and book you in. The bus route covers the basics of both islands with a choice of buying
a ticket that covers all stops or getting a cheaper ticket that will
take you to fewer places. This is a very popular way to go for the
younger crowd that isn't so much concerned with actually seeing N.Z.
as staying on the piss and shagging.
The Magic Bus offers a very similar thing to typically a more serious
traveller. Discounts to different attractions are offered thru both
bus companies, they will actually take you to certain activities too.
If saving money is a big object then hitching is a great and safe way to go there. I met several young ladies there who were doing it and
nearly travelling for free due to the hospitality of the people that
were picking them up. They were encountering no hassles from people along the way. I bought a nice, cheap car the last time I was there
for less than what you were offered a bus pass for. I sold it for more
than I paid for it the day I started telling people it was for sale at
the hostel where I was staying. You should also have no problem finding some-body to pitch-in with who has a car and go with them for at least part of your trip. Partially used passes can also be found at hostels. a very safe place to travel with a tremendous hostel system. The country is set-up for the traveller it seems, all you have to do is get there! Work can also be found, cash in hand if nothing else. The South Is. is amazing for scenery, the North Is. is quite
lovely too.
Mike Sloan
Just get there, you will love it!

4. Posted by katesnape (Full Member 28 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Hi! I've recently travelled the North Island on the Kiwi Experience and it's the best time ive had of my travels so far. Although not the cheapest way to go...well worth every penny with friendly bus drivers that just make everything so much easier and more enjoyable. Although the Kiwi Experience has a certain 'reputation' I found that it enabled me to experience not only the fun outdoor activities... caving, sky diving etc.. but to experience some of the culture of the country through various activites. I made some of the best of friends on this trip and strongly recommend this type of tour, either through Kiwi or the Magic bus etc.. Make sure you get to Waitomo(NI) for the black water caving for something different!! Have fun!
p.s There are always Kiwi passes being sold on hostel noticeboards... try (Auckland Central Backpackers) i think they have a online noticeboard? The passes are much cheaper this way. Could also try putting a request for one on

hope this helps

5. Posted by xellenx (First Time Poster 1 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

as a new zealander living in ireland for the year, i think i may have a different view point on travelling in new zealand.
i really recommend winging it and going independantly when you get there. i mean, kiwi experience buses are great but it depends on what you want to see. they'll take you to the big places with the tourist stuff, but if i was a visitor there, i would want to see it a wee bit slower, and less drunkenly (kiwi experience tours are renowned for there continuous parties..but if thats your thing, go for it! :)
there are really good bus and shuttle company's around that have really reasonable fares, like $15NZ up which is pretty cheap. often in hostels they have people advertising for 'seat fillers' in cars to various locations where you pay them some petrol money and off you go!
i also know of budget car companys that sometimes want people to take cars to various drop off points, and this is free.
however you travel around NZ, i hope you have an awesome time. its such an awesome country with a really good hostel system and, not being biased or anything, great people.

ps i really recommend the lower half of the south island..its really beautiful..queenstown,arrowtown and around there.