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Last updated : Nov 2009
New Zealand Getting Around - Internal Travel
New Zealand Internal Travel - Getting Around New Zealand - TravelPuppy.com

Qantas Airways
and Air New Zealand (NZ) operate domestic flights between the major airports. For more information on the major airports see travel international section.

Many smaller airlines, such as Eagle Air, Air Nelson and Mount Cook Airlines, are owned by Air New Zealand and have been grouped together as Air New Zealand Link. These smaller airlines serve many of the 27 other airports throughout the 2 islands.


Modern ferries link the North and the South Islands by carrying vehicles and passengers across Cook Strait, traveling between Picton and Wellington.

One of these ferries, the Interislander makes several daily crossings and the travel time is 3 hours.

Lynx, the faster choice, is a high speed catamaran and takes 2 hours 15 minutes operating all year round.

Reservations on all ferry services are highly advised, particularly for visitors taking their vehicles. You can receive information from Tourism New Zealand (see contacts section) or via the Tranz Rail reservation line; see the Rail section for further details.


Toll New Zealand (formerly called Tranz Rail Ltd) operates a reliable rail service on 4,000 kilometres (2,485 miles) of railway with a selection of routes with fantastic scenic attraction.

Tranz Scenic
provides 8 longer distance trains.

The Overlander runs between Wellington and Auckland, daytime and overnight, with beautiful views of volcanic peaks, gorges and forests.

The Transcoastal runs between Christchurch and Picton along the east coast between the snow covered Kaikoura Mountains and past the Kaikoura coast, which is well known for whale watching.

The TranzAlpine runs between Christchurch and Greymouth through amazing landscapes of river valleys,gorges, and across the snow covered Southern Alps.

There are buffet cars on all trains, however there are no sleeping cars on overnight services, and all services are one class travel only. For further information, contact Toll New Zealand:

Telephone: (4) 498 3000
Facsimile: (4) 498 3259
Email address: info@tollnz.co.nz
Website address: www.tollnz.co.nz

or Tranz Scenic:

Telephone: (4) 495 0775 or (0800) 277 482 (toll free in New Zealand)
Facsimile: (4) 472 8903z
Email address: bookings@tranzscenic.co.nz
Website address: www.tranzscenic.co.nz


There is 92,000 kilometres (57,200 miles) of roads in New Zealand. The Traffic drives on the left, and the legal speed limit is 50 kilometres per hour (30 miles per hour) in built-up areas and 100 kilometres per hour (60 miles per hour) on the open road. Distances are indicated in kilometres, and it is legally essential for both both driver and passengers to wear seat belts at all times.


There are regional bus networks which supply most parts of the country, they are cheaper and known to be friendlier than the larger companies.


There are metered taxis throughout New Zealand.

Coach tours

For all coach tours it is advisable to make reservations for seats. Contact an InterCity Travel Centre or Tourism New Zealand for information and details on travel passes, which are valid for coach, rail and ferries.

InterCity Coachlines activates scheduled services throughout New Zealand.

Website address: www.intercitycoach.co.nz

Newmans Coach Lines
operates services in both islands.

Website address: www.newmanscoach.co.nz

Car hire

Local firms and major international firms have offices at airports and in most major towns and cities. It is advised to hire vehicles from members of the New Zealand Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association.

The minimum age for driving a rented car is 21. For further information, contact The New Zealand Automobile Association:
Telephone: (9) 377 4660 or (800) 500 444 (toll free in New Zealand)
Facsimile: (9) 309 4563
Email address: info@aa.co.nz
Website address: www.aa.co.nz


New Zealand recognise all international driving licence's, however although its not compulsory, an International Driving Permit is advised. For further information, contact Tourism New Zealand (see contacts section).


Reliable and local bus services are provided in the main towns, and in Wellington there are also trolley buses. Both Wellington and Auckland have zonal fares with pre purchase tickets and day passes. The company Rideline houses all the bus, train and ferry information about traveling around Auckland.

Travel times

The following chart gives approximate travel times (in hours and minutes) from Wellington to other major towns and cities in New Zealand:
  Air Road Rail
1 hour 9 hours 10 hours
2 hours
5 minutes
15 hours
40 minutes *
20 minutes 6 hours -
N. Plymouth
1 hour 8 hours
30 minutes
Palmerston N.
30 minutes 2 hours
30 minutes
2 hours
40 minutes
(west coast)
1 hour
45 minutes **
8 hours
20 minutes
45 minutes 7 hours
20 minutes *
5 hours
20 minutes *
1 hour
20 minutes
12 hours
20 minutes *
1 hour
15 minutes
5 hours
45 minutes
Bay of Islands
2 hours 14 hours -
1 hour 6 hours
30 minutes
Mt Cook
2 hours 10 hours -
30 minutes - -

* Means plus ferry crossing lasting 3 hours
** Means plus 2 hours 30 by road

Travel Passes

‘Travelpass New Zealand’ is a 3-in-1 travel pass which allows unlimited travel on Tranz Scenic trains, InterCity coaches, and Interislander ferry services across Cook Strait.

It can be issued for periods between five days and over eight weeks and can be bought outside New Zealand from any Toll New Zealand travel centre or accredited travel agency, or a InterCity Coachlines office

The Best of New Zealand Pass
includes all train and ferry services as well as selected coach services and the Taieri Gorge Railway for travel over 180 days.

For further information, contact Tourism New Zealand (see the contacts section).
Useful travel links
Auckland regional council Other information on travel in Auckland
Interislander Information on the Interislander and the Lynx.
Rideline Information on timetables ect. in Auckland
Taieri Gorge rail Information on Dunedin's Taieri gorge rail
Tranz Scenic Information on all long distance travel in NZ