If you're on the East coast, quite often it's quicker to get to NZ then it is to visit Perth. Flights across the Tasman are relatively cheap and range from $100 (absolute bargain) to $1000 (ouch, either you're coming from Perth or are travelling during peak times). Flights will generally be more expensive in school holidays, and during the ski season; outside of that, you should be able to snag a bargain.
Once you arrive in New Zealand, there are a few cross-country travel options.
- Flights: fly between major cities for a relatively small cost with airlines like Jetstar, Air NZ and Virgin. If you're in a rush and have a little extra cash to splash, this is your best bet.
- Trains: New Zealand boasts an incredibly scenic train ride between Auckland and Christchurch that stops at several towns and cities. The trains are slightly more expensive than flying; however, the level of service and scenery you are treated to is of a far higher quality.
- Buses: Areas not covered by the rail network are well connected by buses that cover both islands. Bus passes will vary in price based on the distance, so do some research to compare the options for your journey.
- Car hire: Driving through New Zealand is one of the most popular means of transport, with travellers revelling in the ability to take things at their own pace. Both car and campervan hire is very affordable in New Zealand, and the road rules are similar to Australia, so there is no need to be nervous about driving.
In individual cities, transport options will range between buses, trains, ferries and trams. Public transport is very affordable, just research what is recommended for the specific city you are visiting. If you are choosing to drive, ensure your accommodation either includes parking or has parking nearby.
Accommodation options in New Zealand are pretty similar to Australia in terms of quality and pricing. As you would expect, bigger cities have options for all travel styles and budgets with countless hotels, hostels and Airbnb's. Travelling further afar to smaller towns will reduce your choices; however, you're often greeted by petite bed and breakfasts, or bespoke cabins and accommodation options.
Popular tourist cities like Auckland and Queenstown are more expensive than other cities, such as Wellington and Dunedin.
If you are choosing to hire a van or camper and drive around either island, you're in luck as there are countless free or low-cost campgrounds. Freedom Camping is an excellent site with corresponding apps that outline where all of the campsite and campgrounds are, as well as their relevant facilities.
As we mentioned above, New Zealand offers an activity for every traveller. Bustling cities like Auckland and Wellington have a great mix of culture, cuisine and history to enjoy. Adventure capitals like Queenstown and Rotorua will have you packing your days with adrenaline-filled activities. If you're seeking tranquillity and a chance to get amongst nature, be sure to add Milford Sound, the Bay of Islands, Franz Joseph and Fox Glacier to your itinerary.
Activity choices will vary based on seasonality. Queenstown, for example, is a hot spot for snow sports in Winter before transforming into an adventurers paradise in Summer. If you're keen on learning more about activities in Queenstown, we've written a complete guide that is worth checking out.
Regardless of where you go, it is definitely worth having an idea of your preferred activities in advance so you can budget accordingly. Adrenaline pumping plans like bungy jumping and skydiving can take a substantial chunk out of your travel budget. The same goes for day tours to Milford Sound, Hobbiton and the glaciers - all setting you back a few hundred dollars. If you are keen on including these experiences in your itinerary, add them in your daily costs and ensure you have enough time to save so you aren't left scrambling for cash while on holiday.
Aussies don't need a visa for New Zealand as a tourist; however, it is worth chatting to your doctor if you have any medical travel concerns. Don't forget travel insurance as well, a must for all travellers regardless of the destination!