Waiting for the Bus at the Train Station
Waiting for the bus (leaving from the train station)

New Zealand offers several easy options when it comes navigating the country and using public transport for your travels. Make sure you book early and look out for cheap deals as I found there were always specials helping to soften the blow of the price.

Travel by Plane

Flying can often be quite costly but due to the amount of time it saves it is definitely more convenient than taking the bus. If you plan and book your flights early enough you can find affordable flights throughout New Zealand and Australia.

Grab A Seat  – When looking for internal flights I would definitely recommend that you start with Grab a Seat. This website finds the cheapest Air New Zealand flights available. Just be careful when booking and make sure you read the details, as the cheapest flights often don’t include a bag.

Webjet – Web Jet is a good place to start because it compares a variety of websites so you can get a sense of how much everything is probably going to cost. Still though, even using Webjet, you will probably find Grab a Seat will probably offer the cheapest flight.

Air New Zealand flight
Air New Zealand flight

Other websites I have been recommended, but haven’t used personally.

Tiger Air

House of Travel

Travel by Bus

Buses have been my saving grace during my study abroad experience. Thanks to the reliable bus services I was able to experience the hot pools in Rotorua, visit my friends in Auckland, and go skydiving in Taupo. If you are looking for a way to explore this beautiful country I would definitely recommended looking up the various bus services.

Getting around by bus. Photo by Emily Padilla who studied abroad in New Zealand.
Getting around by bus. Photo by Emily Padilla who studied abroad in New Zealand.

InterCity – I have used InterCity and would definitely recommended it. My friend and I were dying to go skydiving but we had no way of getting to Lake Taupo, but then we discovered the bus service InterCity. It was reliable, clean, and offered free wifi!

Naked Bus – Another popular choice is Naked Bus. Naked Bus offers a hop on, hop off, style of traveling and so is a good option if you want a schedule with some flexibility to do what you want. Even if you don’t use Naked Bus I can guarantee you will see them all over the roads of New Zealand. This bus company often offers journeys from just $1 so make sure you keep your eye out for those.

Contiki I travelled with Contiki for my two week mid semester break. Again, another hop on, hop off, service but Contiki takes care of your food and accommodation. I found it particularly great for my break because I got to see all the top spots in the south island without having to worry about how or when I was going to get there.

Travel by Ferry

Interisland – If you are unable to find an affordable flight between the South and North Island you might prefer to take the ferry. The ferry is an option I would definitely recommend to students studying abroad in Wellington because it leaves right from the harbor. Friends of mine who took the ferry describe the three hours as a lot of fun, and the views made it worth the trip.

Stewart Island Experience – If you get the chance everyone will tell you the trip to Stewart Island is worth the journey. Before even stepping foot on Rakiura island, students have seen an array of wildlife, including great white sharks, all from the comfort of the one hour ferry ride. The ferry leaves from Bluff, which is a seaport located on the southern coast of South Island.

Kirsty Cowie is a Global Ambassador and student at The Pennsylvania State University. She studied abroad with TEAN in Wellington, New Zealand.