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Tour, car rental or bus/rail?

Tucson, Arizona
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51 posts
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Tour, car rental or bus/rail?

We are looking to spend 14 days in mid-Oct touring the north and south Islands and really don't like the structured tours but I would like my husband to relax and enjoy the scenery without the worry of driving a rental car. (He is capable of it as he drove a 17 passenger van through Scotland, England and Wales for 2 weeks). Is it feasible to use public transportation - bus, air or rail to see NZ? I thought taking a bus would allow us to see some of the countryside as apposed to flying over it but maybe that's not necessary. Any info would be greatly appreciated and renting a car is not out of the question as I could help with the driving. Also can you hire private tour guides in the larger cities - maybe that would be helpful...

Palmerston North...
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1. Re: Tour, car rental or bus/rail?

When taking the bus, it is one of the cheaper options, but it is the longest way to travel, so it depends on how much time you want to waste on the road. I took a bus from Palmerston North to Rotorua the other month and that would normally take me just under 4 hours if i drove myself, the bus trip took 7 hours with a stop in Taupo to swap buses.

Where are you wanting to go, maybe if you had a rough idea of the places you want to visit, we could help you choose the best mode of transport between locations and you could decide from there.

I have never taken the train when traveling around NZ, but I have heard good things about the scenery when getting the Auckland to Wellington train and the trains the cross the country down south.

I hope you enjoy your trip and find the help you are looking for

Jess

Palmerston North...
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2. Re: Tour, car rental or bus/rail?

Here is a site that could help you with travel distance's and directions if you do decide to hire a car http://www.wises.co.nz

Also some bus companies are Naked Bus and Intercity

Bowie, Maryland
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3. Re: Tour, car rental or bus/rail?

I have done lots of research on this topic for our trip in Feb. In short, it costs too much for a guide and car because the distances means you can't base out of a city like we did in Bangkok, Istanbul, Beijing, Rio and other places. Also the rates in NZ for guides made it high for 3 persons to have a private guide. We looked at bus tours but something always was wrong -- mostly it would not meet up with our requirement to be in Wellington on Feb. 5, 2014 to board a cruise on Feb. 6. On this forum about a month back there was a long trip report that was called 19 day bus tour. Really gave me lots of ideas for things to see and do. The bus tour would be great if you don't have the time to do a great deal of planning. We have decided to rent a car. Then the 9 day cruise around South Island and then probably rent a car for the last week starting in Queenstown and ending in ChristChurch. This board will really be great help as will the New Zealand tourist offices which I find by googling 100% New Zealand. Have a great trip.

New Zealand
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for South Island
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4. Re: Tour, car rental or bus/rail?

Renting a car is by far the most flexible way to explore NZ. On most bus routes in the South Island there is only one bus per day and in some cases it takes all day to get there, so you either have no time to explore, or you need two nights everywhere. There are two rail journeys in the country, Auckland to Wellington and Arthur's Pass Christchurch to Greymouth. There are also excursion trails - Taeri Gorge from Dunedin and Kingston Flyer from Kingston (near Queenstown). In the summer months a train also runs Picton to Chch.

It takes a minimum of 3 weeks to explore the main spots of both islands by car so your biggest limitation is lack of time. With just two weeks to explore you might want to consider visitng just one island. Two weeks will cover most of the North Island or about half of the South Island.

Hope this helps, happy planning :)

Los Angeles...
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5. Re: Tour, car rental or bus/rail?

In my opinion you would love to travel by car rather then taking bus or any other transportation. I am completely agree with Alve_Family that traveling in public transportation is like wasting time. My advice is to take a car on rent and enjoy the holidays without wasting time.

Auckland
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6. Re: Tour, car rental or bus/rail?

Another vote for renting a car, it really is the best and easiest way to see New Zealand.

Windsor, Canada
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7. Re: Tour, car rental or bus/rail?

What are some of the local and independent car rental places?

Bowie, Maryland
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8. Re: Tour, car rental or bus/rail?

Check your car insurance. I usually do not take the insurance offered by rental agencies but I learned here on TA that American car insurance (State Farm at least ) does not cover you in NZ. Also, as an American renter who rents cars maybe once every 6 weeks, I was surprised that many of the small local rental agencies have much older cars than American would usually rent and make sure that the rental agency has the support on the road that you may need. Also many agencies don't allow you to take rental on ferries or between two islands. The one way fees can be very steep or you are not allowed to rent one way. Just check it all out. I found for my vacation that Hertz booked with my Gold Club and AAA benefits was MY best deal. You may find differently. 100% New Zealand tourist offices have information on rental cars.

9. Re: Tour, car rental or bus/rail?

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