New Zealand Travel Information

New Zealand Bus Travel

The biggest coach operator is InterCity, which has bus services to most major cities and towns in New Zealand. 

There are also most smaller bus companies that offer frequent bus services within a limited regional area.

Magic Travellers Network and Kiwi Experience are the two biggest backpacker bus companies, which operate an extensive network throughout New Zealand and represent a great travel option. If you're thinking about buying a pass for one of the smaller backpacker bus companies, first check whether it suits the independent traveller, allowing you to get on and off as you please -

InterCity Coachlines

New Zealand's major coachline operates buses to most destinations in both the North and South Islands. Although you can buy individual tickets, it is often better value to buy one of the passes which are available. Check our InterCity Coachlines page for details on the various InterCity passes.

Northliner Express

Northliner Express (website:  www.northliner.co.nz ) is a regional bus company that is particularly good for travel north of Auckland although they work with other regional bus companies to provide connections to Tauranga, Rotorua and as far south as New Plymouth and Wellington. They are a good choice if you want to go to the Bay of Islands.

Northliner Express offer the following travel passes :

  • Bay of Islands Pass: Good for a return trip between Auckland and the Bay of Islands. You can get on and off at destinations along the way within a one-month period. This pass costs NZ$53 and you must hold either a current YHA, VIP, BBH or Nomads card.
  • Loop Pass: This is a good pass if you want to travel between Auckland and the Bay of Islands. The pass allows travel between Auckland and Paihia/Kerikeri returning via the west coast (Opononi, Omapera, Waipoua Forest and Dargaville).You must hold either a current YHA, VIP,BBH or Nomads card.
  • Northland Freedom Pass: This pass allows travel from Auckland to the Bay of Islands and to Kaitaia, returning to Auckland via the west coast (Opononi, Omapera, Waipoua Forest and Dargaville).You must hold either a current YHA, VIP, BBH or Nomads card.
  • Top Half Pass: The Top Half Pass is good for travel between Rotorua the Bay of Islands with stop overs at destinations along the way within a one-month period. This pass isn't good for a complete return journey, instead it is good for the route: Rotorua - Hamilton - Auckland - Bay of Islands - Auckland if purchased in Rotorua or Auckland - Bay of Islands - Auckland - Hamilton - Rotorua if purchased in Auckland. This is a good value pass . You must hold either a current YHA, VIP, BBH or Nomads card.

Coast to Coast Daily Bus Service

A regional coach operator with a daily service between Christchurch and Greymouth and Hokitika via Arthur's Pass. The bus picks up and drops off passengers at backpackers hostels in Christchurch, Greymouth and Hokitika.

Compass Coachlines

A regional coach operator with a useful service connecting Picton with Christchurch with stops in Blenheim and Kairoura. Phone them on (03) 578 7102 for reservations and further information.

Kiwi Experience

The biggest backpacker bus service with a flexible hop-on hop-off bus service. It is the bus to take for a full-on party atmosphere although it tends to stop at the bigger (but not always the best) hostels. There's a large range of passes available and it can be confusing working out which is which. Check our Kiwi Experience page for details on the various passes.

Magic Travellers Network

An alternative to Kiwi Experience with passes which are a little easier to work out. Check our Magic Travellers Network