Visiting New Zealand by bus is a very popular option, especially among young people with a low budget. The good news is that There are many bus companies in New Zealand that offer tickets and interesting passes to visit both islands. In the end, it doesn’t matter how you get around, but rather that you get to know every corner of this incredible country! If you are on a tight budget or don’t want/can rent a car, buses will be the solution and will take you almost anywhere. In addition, they have free WiFi and plugs. What more can you ask?

Initially, this was an option that we considered since Back in the day we visited Australia by bus. We really enjoyed it! However, this time we decided to rent a car, since we wanted to have more freedom when moving around our area. New Zealand route. And the truth is that we have no regrets!

In this post we tell you how to visit New Zealand by bus. Here you have the details of how the system works, which company is best for you, the advantages and disadvantages it has, and much more!

Contents of this article


New Zealand is connected by an extensive bus network that links the country’s main destinations and attractions.. It’s lucky! Even so, there are several companies that deserve to be differentiated. Although in the end they offer the same service, they take you from one point to another, they do it in a different way. These are Top bus companies in New Zealand.

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1. What is the best company to travel around New Zealand by bus?

1.1. InterCity, the best option to get around New Zealand by bus

¡Travel by bus around New Zealand in maximum comfort if possible! The answer is partner with the best and biggest company. This national company connects almost all points on both islands, being an attractive option if you don’t feel like traveling. driving in new zealand.

While this isn’t the cheapest option, it does occasionally have travel rates starting at 1NZD. The most interesting thing about this company is its passes, which will take you to almost any destination in the country. Although if you prefer to buy single tickets you can also do so.

InterCity passes

FlexiPass: It is an hourly pass. You buy a number of hours, and you can use them for 12 months. It is a very flexible alternative for those travelers who go at the last minute. So that you have a reference. the 80-hour pass, which is the most expensive, costs 641NZD (€360).

TravelPass: And if you prefer to follow a marked route, you can choose your route. This one is usually more expensive, but it is also quite comfortable.

It is super important to know that travel around New Zealand by bus It can be a good way to save money. The inter-island ferry is included, unlike the car. And that represents considerable savings.

Additionally, if you want to visit an attraction that is far from a city, the company usually organizes its own excursions. So in these cases you will not have to search for life to get to the places.

1.2. KiwiExperience and Stray, perfect for solo backpackers

For backpackers, these two companies fit like a glove. And you don’t need to plan! The bus drivers will be your guides and will be in charge of finding you the best accommodation, excursions and everything you need.

They are super interesting alternatives if you travel alone since It will allow you to make many friends along the way. For example, KiwiExperience has a variety of passes, you are sure to find the one that suits you best.

We prefer to go with more freedom! In this case, the options did not convince us since when we saw the schedules we noticed that everything was very planned and in the end you had little freedom to choose accommodation, activities… Remember that if you hire these companies it is to do everything with them. Also, if you like quiet, these buses usually play loud music to entertain, so it may not be the best option for you. Although in the end it depends a lot on the experience you want to have in New Zealand!

Transport in New Zealand: how to get around the country

One of the Kiwi Experience buses, in Auckland


2.1. Main advantages of traveling around New Zealand by bus

2.1.1. You don’t have to drive

Driving for hours in New Zealand probably doesn’t appeal to you. If that is your case, then the bus will be the best option. This is perhaps the most important advantage. The distances between tourist sites in New Zealand are enormous. Although if you go by bus you are going to have to go through the same thing, at least not behind the wheel..

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2.1.2. You can rest while traveling

This advantage is related to the previous one, instead of driving you can sleep or simply rest, while Driving involves being attentive and that causes fatigue. On the bus you can recover hours of sleep and energy, which you will need for so much adventure.

2.1.3. You don’t pay gasoline

Although gasoline in New Zealand is not super expensive, you can save a few euros with this. Not renting a vehicle will allow you to use that gas money for something else. Maybe you can take a few souvenirs from New Zealand, invest in accommodation or restaurants. Traveling around New Zealand by bus has its advantages!

2.1.4. No waiting, unlike the plane

Although the car is the transportation alternative that gives you the most freedom, if you travel by bus you only have to show up 15 minutes early at the stop. So that makes it more practical than the plane, where you will have to show up at least a couple of hours before to check-in. An excellent way to spend time!

2.1.5. Ferry included

This is another of the highlights. The inter-island ferry is one of the most expensive expenses a tourist can make during a trip to New Zealand. The bus companies that operate between both islands offer them for free, although in reality the price is already included in a certain way and in a low amount in the passes. So you’ll save money!

New Zealand by busNew Zealand by bus
The ferry, one of the worst enemies for tourists’ pockets

2.1.6. Cheaper

There is no doubt that Traveling around New Zealand by bus will be cheaper than traveling by own vehicle. You will save gasoline and other expenses. So, if you are on a tight budget and want to save, this is a great option.

2.1.7. WiFi and power

Another great advantage that differentiates the bus from most cars, is that all buses usually have free and current WiFi. So you can perfectly distract yourself on your trips 🙂

2.2. Main drawbacks

2.2.1. less freedom

Although until now you have heard all the good things about travel around New Zealand by bus, we must be 100% honest. It is clear that this argument has a lot of weight when deciding. So consider that With the bus you will not be able to get everywhere, while with a car you will. In New Zealand everything is scattered. It’s not like Paris that all its attractions are in the center and you can walk or take public transport.

Everything is far away so it is (almost) essential to take a car. Or you can also hire excursions or taxis to take you to tourist places. Additionally, you will probably have to make several changes on the fly on your trip. The weather in New Zealand is always unpredictable and if you rent a car you can do what you want, whenever you want, without depending on anyone.

2.2.2. We don’t think it makes up for the price difference.

It is true that traveling around New Zealand by bus will be cheaper than renting a car, adding up all the expenses it will generate. But. Something insurmountable is the freedom that your own vehicle gives you. That being the case, we do not believe that the difference between the two options is worth it. So we keep the car, even if it is more expensive.

2.2.3. Paying more per night for accommodation does not allow you to sleep on the outskirts

New Zealand is not a cheap country, but we wouldn’t say it is extremely expensive either. You will surely be there for many days, so you will try to save on accommodation so that the sum does not cost so much. Traveling by car is smart because you can sleep in the outskirts (cheaper and secured parking) for a cheaper price than in the center. Or if you go in a motorhome, you don’t have to pay for any night.

If you travel to New Zealand by bus This option is almost ruled out. The reason is that the buses will leave the center very early, which forces you to stay in that area. Which is usually the most expensive! So maybe you’ll save on bus fare, but In the end you will have to pay for expensive accommodation.

Another aspect that you should consider is that generally The center is the most popular area to stay. You may be unlucky and not find accommodation available for the date you need. Going around New Zealand by bus has its pros and cons!

Visit New Zealand by motorhome

It is true that there are more advantages than disadvantages, but we believe that the negative points outweigh much more when traveling around New Zealand by bus. Although it all depends on the way you want to take the trip, the experience you are looking for, the time, your itinerary and budget.


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