Transport and travel New Zealand
The country is well served by air, which is very useful given the long distances to be covered between the north of the North Island and the south of the South Island. Many travelers gradually make their way south by rental car or public transport, before returning to Auckland by plane at the end of their stay. In principle, nothing prevents making the circuit from the south to the north, even if the grandiose character of Fiordland (on the South Island) pushes to end your trip there.
Air New Zealand serves around twenty destinations. As competitors, only a few small secondary companies remain, serving, for example, the Pacific Blue and Jetstar which provide domestic routes.
The most important company is InterCity, Pass allows you to travel on all 2 networks for one year with significant reductions. The pass can be recharged like a phone card. Prices: 132 NZ $ for 15 hours of journey, 172 NZ $ for 20 hours, etc.
There are also regional or national passes with a predetermined itinerary: the Travelpass offers 15 bus routes covering the 2 islands, including the boat connection between the 2 islands. Rates: from NZ $ 695 to NZ $ 1 (base rates, excluding backpacker discounts).
Another option, Skip Bus, valid only for the North Island.
Please note that reservations are imperative in summer. Interesting formula in areas poorly served by other companies, such as the West Coast (on the South Island). It's an opportunity to meet new people, but don't expect a lot of calm… Among these backpacker buses, let's mention Kiwi Experience and STA Travel.
Many small local companies offer point-to-point links between specific cities or to national parks, for example.
The private Kiwi Rail Scenic Journeys network is comfortable and fairly fast, but it is small and the fares are quite high.
- The Northern Explorer Line, in the north, connects Wellington to Auckland.
- The Coastal Pacific, to the south, makes Christchurch-Picton.
- The TranzAlpine, still in the south, makes Christchurch-Greymouth.
There is a pass system (Scenic Rail Pass), and attractive special rates in winter.
Driving is on the left.
The French driving license must be accompanied by the international permit, to be obtained before departure from France.
Maximum authorized speeds: 100 km / h on the roads, 60 or 70 km / h when approaching built-up areas, and 50 km / h in town.
The network is in good condition. The roads are quite slow: lots of hills and mountains and few highways on the program. It will give you time to watch the butterflies flutter ... In remote corners, a lot of roads are not paved, but they remain well maintained.
Signage is of good quality. Checks are frequent, speeding and alcohol while driving (80 mg / 100 ml of blood) punishable by heavy penalties.
- car rentals are a bit expensive. If you are renting a car, it is better to check that the rental agreement authorizes traffic on unpaved roads. If you stay several months, you can always consider buying a vehicle to resell it at the end of your stay, but it is not always easy ...
Another option for those who are with family or who think big: the campervan, of its local name, combines flexibilityZeeland, it is one of the favorite modes of travel under these skies. Well, obviously, the bigger and more comfortable it is, the more it consumes and pollutes ...
New Zealand is a fairly safe country and its people are friendly; hitchhiking is practiced there with a lot of success. Still, it becomes quite difficult when you move away from the main roads. Patience...
The NéZéZélande: the low traffic, the beauty of the landscapes and the abundance of sites where to camp (wildly or not) make it a true paradise for long-distance cyclists. You can find rentals all over the place, but you can also bring your little queen with you.
Ferry (Cook Strait Ferry)
Two companies connect Wellington (on the North Island) to Picton (on the South Island) in 3h30 of journey: Bluebridge (count 53 NS $ the crossing for a pedestrian, 173 NS $ with a car), and Interislander ( 65 NS $ per crossing for a pedestrian, and 208 NS $ with a category A car). Sailing in the Marlborough Sounds (before arriving in Picton) is sumptuous!