Getting Around New Zealand
Most international travelers arrive in either Auckland (toward the top of the North Island) or Christchurch (one of the biggest cities on the South Island). Domestic flights can be taken to every large and medium-sized city in the country.
Driving is a convenient way of getting around New Zealand, either in a car or a self-contained recreational vehicle. Self-driving allows access to some more remote areas such as national parks, coastline, and mountain areas, which are difficult to access any other way. New Zealanders drive on the left side of the road, and while most routes are well maintained, there are some challenging mountain roads on both islands.
New Zealand’s public transit network is not extensive, but a few scenic, long-distance rail routes cover main points of interest on both islands, such as the Tongariro National Park, Kaikoura, and the West Coast. Long-distance buses are slower than self-driving, but it’s possible to get to many large towns and popular destinations this way, and it saves the challenge of driving on unfamiliar roads.
Travelers must either fly between the islands or take the ferry between Wellington and Picton, at the top of the South Island. Ferries also run to some other off-shore islands, such as Waiheke, Great Barrier, and Stewart Islands, but not all of these are vehicle ferries.
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The Tongariro National Park is about 180 miles (290 km) north of Wellington, in the central North Island. It's easy to reach by road or rail. Here's how to get there. By Car... read more
The Coromandel Peninsula is in north-eastern New Zealand, jutting into the Hauraki Gulf opposite Auckland. The closest Coromandel town to Auckland is Thames, 70 miles (114 kms)... read more
Mount Cook Village is in the central South Island, quite close to the West Coast but separated by mountains. It's a 200-mile (330-km) journey from Christchurch by road. By... read more