NZ Tours and Transport in New Zealand

NZ Tours & Transport in New Zealand

New Zealand is considered a compact country approximately the size of Britain or Japan. New Zealand has excellent transport networks in both the north and the south island which means than most places are reachable by public transport. Whether you choose to drive, take the train, book a tour or fly the beauty of New Zealand is waiting to be explored.


Most people choose to self drive in New Zealand as it’s a great way to leisurely explore the countryside. Road sides are clearly marked in English and speed limits are displayed in kilometers (km/hr). Due to New Zealand’s traverse alpine terrain travel journeys do take longer than usual distance estimations.

Licenses and Permits

Visitors can legally drive in New Zealand with a current driver’s license from their home countries for up to 12 months. An International Driving Permit (IDP) is also acceptable. All drivers must carry a valid driver’s license on them when driving on New Zealand roads. Foreign licenses must have an English translation and drivers will only be allowed to drive the same type of vehicles as their license from their home country.

New Zealand Road Rules

New Zealand requires you to drive on the left-hand side of the road, as in the United Kingdom, Australia, India, Japan and South Africa. Drivers must give way to all traffic crossing or approaching from the right. If turning, you must give way to all traffic not turning. Everyone traveling in the vehicle must wear a seatbelt or child seats. Motorcyclists and bicyclists are required to wear a helmet. Drinking and driving is prohibited. The speed limit is 100km / 65 miles per hour on the open road and 50 km /30 miles per hour in urban areas. More up to date information can be viewed on New Zealand’s Road Code by visiting and clicking on Visitors and New Residents.

Driving in New Zealand

Driving in New Zealand

Estimated Driving Times and Distances

North Island Distance

South Island Distance

*It is important to note that when driving in the South Island the distances between petrol stations are great, and it is advisable to fill up as often as possible.

Themed Highways

It is easy to discover New Zealand’s scenic treasures through its numerous themed scenic or cultural journeys. This way travellers can tailor make their journeys to suite their own interests.

North Island

The Twin Coast Discovery Highway – Is a circular route in New Zealand’s Northland region that passes through Whangarei, the Bay of Islands, Katatia, Cape Reinga and the Ninety Mile Beach.

Pacific Coast Highway – a coast to coast scenic journey passing through beautiful eastern coastal areas such as the Coromondel, the Bay of Plenty and the famous wine and agricultural region of Hawkes Bay & the art deco capital Napier.

Thermal Explorer Highway – Starts in Auckland and takes travellers through New Zealand’s famous geothermal areas and strong Maori cultural regions of Rotorua, Ruapehu, Lake Taupo and the Waitomo Caves.

Themed Highways

Themed Highways New Zealand

South Island

The Treasured Pathway – covers the beautiful region of the Malborough Sounds. Starting from Picton the 260km journey takes travellers through the beautiful coastline coves and trendy cultural communities such as Nelson. Also a great route for wine and vineyard tours and tastings.

Alpine Pacific Triangle – A popular route for wildlife adventures, wine and spa breaks as this road links popular tourist destinations such as whale watching mecca Kaikoura, the Waipara Valley wine region and thermal spa town Hanmer Springs.

Great Alpine Highway – One of the world’s most famous scenic routes. This 250km journey links Christchurch and Greymouth and offers travellers’ spectacular views of snow capped mountains, forests and big skies.

Southern Scenic Route – This route is a great way to discover the most southern region of the South Island and often goes missed by most tourists. It starts in the historic town of Dunedin, famous for its albatross colony and cuts through the magnificent costal forest area of the Catlins, through Invercargill and up to the Fiordland community of Te Anau (a little gem and a gateway to Milford Sound).

Travelling by Train

Travelling by train in New Zealand is an excellent way to experience the spectacular scenery. Normal services offer panoramic windows, comfortable seats and refreshments and meals can be purchased on board. Train services run in both directions, so it’s easy for travellers to create an itinerary using more than one mode of transport. Main rail services include:

The Overlander: This service is an 11 hour journey and runs between Auckland and Wellington.

The TranzCoastal: A morning service from Christchurch to Picton with an afternoon return. It takes just over 5 hours and connects with the inter-island ferry to Wellington.

The TranzAlpine: Is a daily return service between Christchurch and Greymouth and takes approximately four and a half hours and is considered to be one to the best scenic railway journeys in the world.

The Taieri Gorge Railway: Is a historic and breathtakingly scenic rail journey departing daily from Dunedin’s historic railway station.

Travelling by Train

Travelling by train in New Zealand.

Airports & Airlines

Larger towns and cities have an airport, and there is a competitive domestic airline market as well as international flights from most major metropolitan areas.

Coach Services, Tours & Backpacker Buses

Coach services are readily available throughout the country as daily scheduled services, and offer a great way to see the country side. Operators such as Intercity Coach lines and Newmans Coach lines operate on both the North and South Island. Coach tours generally travel along a scheduled tourist route providing commentary, meals and accommodation and it is a great relaxing way of seeing the country. Backpacker buses offer a hop on/hop off service between backpacker hostels throughout the country.

Coaches and buses in New Zealand

Coaches and buses in New Zealand

Recommended Transport Companies

  • JUCY Car Rental & Campervan Hire

    North Island, Auckland New Zealand
    JUCY is one of Australasia’s leading and fastest growing independent tourism brands. JUCY is highly successful, young, fun and funky with a massive entrepreneurial and team spirit.

    JUCY Car Rental & Campervan Hire

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