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How best to get from Christchurch to Aukland

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How best to get from Christchurch to Aukland

Hi,

I have two weeks to travel overland from Christchurch to Aukland taking in as many sights as i can along the way. I am on a budget but can anyone tell me what may be the best route or/and means of travel from the south to the north? Many Thanks

London, UK
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1. Re: How best to get from Christchurch to Aukland

You have different options for getting round NZ but first you should consider whether to head around the Southern Alps instead of making a direct trip north from Christchurch.

You might want to consider hitchhiking as the cheapest transport method. There is a great site which gives some practical guidance for hitchhikers: www.bugpacific.com/transport/index.html

You might also consider using the coach. There are the scheduled coach services but also consider the backpacker buses. Excellent details and huge listings are on the same site above.

You can cross the Cook Strait by ferry and it costs about NZ$35. You might want to consider flying across though. It doesn't stretch the budget too far either and you will get stunning views. You can fly oneway from Picton to Wellington with SoundsAir for NZ$59 (online booking). Also look out for deals with OriginsPacific. They offer regular discounted flights between various towns to enable them to reposition charter aircraft.

http://www.soundsair.co.nz/

http://www.originpacific.co.nz/Home

Another option is to rent a wreck! Budget car rental. http://www.rentadent.co.nz/Portal.asp

It may sound crazy but another cost effective idea is to buy a car then sell it when you leave! Supposed to be fairly straightforward in NZ! The BugPacific website gives you full details on how to do this.

Have a thought about these ideas and maybe feedback your decision about route round mountains. Do you have a preference for types of things you would like to do whilst in NZ? Easier then to suggest an appropriate route.

London, UK
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2. Re: How best to get from Christchurch to Aukland

Meant to mention that the NZ$35 price on the ferry is for group travel, ie if you hook up with others perhaps on the backpacker tours. Normal prices are around NZ$45.

Also remember that all the fares for ferry and air will have no flexibility.

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3. Re: How best to get from Christchurch to Aukland

As i only have 2 weeks to do both the north and south islands i'm going to have to be quite selective about what i have time to see and do. I have never been to NZ before so I'm not sure where the must see spots are yet. I'll probably take quite a well worn route as it's my first time. I'm travelling alone and being female i'm not sure how safe it would be for me to hitch, is it relatively safe or best avoided? Thanks for replying.

Abi

London, UK
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4. Re: How best to get from Christchurch to Aukland

Hi Abi

If you are a lone female I would suggest not hitchhiking. I am sure the statistics show it is very safe to travel this way in NZ --- but you really should look forward to your daily travel and not be apprehensive. You can still get about fairly cheaply using the other methods suggested above. You might meet up with a fellow traveller in a hostel somewhere and both opt to travel part of the journey together too.

As you said you will probably travel along well worn routes but the reason for this is that they are great routes. I really do think you need to venture further south than Christchurch to get a real flavour of the South Island. You should plan to get a cheap internal flight to Queenstown or take the coach. Make Queenstown your real starting point for your tour.

Spend time in Fiordland, indulging in some adventure pursuits around Queenstown before heading north, perhaps along the West Coast. Stop off along the way as you head for Picton.

On the North Island after a day or two in Wellington head north. You might want to choose the Tranzscenic Overlander up to the National Park or up near Waitamo Caves. Look out for special fares on the Tranzscenic routes in the backpacker carriage. From Waitamo you can head over to Rotorua. Travel on up, perhaps diverting up the eastern coast of the Coromandel. I think you might appreciate a couple of nights in the Bay of Islands too.

Hope this helps.

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5. Re: How best to get from Christchurch to Aukland

Again many thanks, it sounds like a good idea to start at queenstown and work my way up. Your suggestions have been very helpfull.

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6. Re: How best to get from Christchurch to Aukland

Do not, under any circumstances hitchhike!! New Zealand is a safe country especially compared to the UK but it is certainly not wise for a female (or any person for that matter) to get into a car with strangers. Frankly I cannot believe that was even suggested.

Two weeks is not a long time to do the whole country but I would suggest travelling from Christchurch to Queenstown/Wanaka and then travelling up the west coast stopping at the glaciers on the way. You are aiming to make your way to Nelson for the ferry to the North Island. Stay overnight in Wellington when you arrive then head straight up to Rotorua stopping at Taupo if you have time. Again depending on how many days you have remaining you could head to the coromandel before heading to Auckland for your return flight.

In my opinion as a Kiwi from the North Island, the best scenery in NZ is in the South Island so you should aim to spend most of your time there making sure you stop off at Rotorua for the cultural and Geothermic highlights.

Hope this helps a bit. A good suggestion would be to look up some tours that are offered by different companies and then replicate their trips on your own. As you mention, in a short space of time the well travelled train is generally the best one.

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7. Re: How best to get from Christchurch to Aukland

Londongirl

I understand fully your concerns about hitch hiking. It isn't something which appeals to everyone. There are risks.

But, for me, it is important on a travel forum to recognise that people do hitch. Some people will hitch no matter whether the advice is against it. Many people do it to travel routes where public transport is difficult and others because of budget constraints. If you look at many backpacker websites for New Zealand you will find information on how to successfully hitch hike round the country.

It is with this in mind that I suggested it as an option for a budget traveller. I have personally never hitched but the concept does not fill me with dread. But there again I happily walk round cities after midnight to see the sights free of traffic.

I do recommend that anyone hitching takes precautions. Try not to travel alone. Some people , as they are about to get into a vehicle, take a note of the reg number and let the driver know you are phoning a friend before getting into the car. Most drivers would not be insulted and would happily provide their name etc. If they did act strangely then let the lift go.

Another idea is to prearrange the hitch hiking. It works in the same way as many people in the UK use online services to look for a regular commuter lift from a car owner. Such a service exists in New Zealand for hitch hikers. I do not know how easy it is to get a lift arranged but the big bonus is learning the names and contact information of the driver in advance. http://www.easyhitcher.com/

But, as I said previously, I would not recommend a lone female hitch hikes. But I am sure some will and maybe some of the advice from other travellers on TripAdvisor will help ensure they minimise the risks rather than just turn up in the country, stick out their thumb and hope for the best.

:-)