Auckland to Christchurch: What are my travel options?

Getting between Auckland and Christchurch is relatively easy. You can fly, bus, train or drive and the distance to drive between these locations is around 1050kms. However each option has its good and bad points and varies in cost.

Before you decide which option you want to take, you should consider what your travel plans and budget are and weigh up the pros and cons of each alternative.

I’ve done a little research and come up with the following information. Remember that the cost of travel changes during the year so just keep this as an average calculation benchmark.

Transfercar: Relocation vehicles are a great way to travel for any budget conscious vacationer and are easy to find between Auckland and Christchurch. You can often request any number of vehicle types such as 2 – 6 berth motorhomes and campervans, vans, trucks, sedans, station wagons and little hatchbacks. The upside to this option is that you can see the sights on the way and share any petrol costs with other passengers. You can also travel the route that suits best (as long as you have enough kms to do so) and stop when and where you like.

If you were to relocate a vehicle, here’s a general breakdown of the costs included based on 5 days travel (which is the Ace sedanaverage time companies will give you for free and on an average sized vehicle):

Daily rental: $0.00

Petrol (91 Octane @ $2.07/litre as of December 2011 and calculations based on a Toyota Camry 2400cc which will use around 10 litres per 100km).  $217.35

Accommodation (if not relocating a campevan and based on average Backpacker accommodation @ $25.00 per night): $125.00

Ferry (vehicle based on van 5.5m and one passenger, peak season): $170.00

Total including accommodation, ferry and petrol: $512.35 + Food and fun

Total excluding ferry and petrol (as they are often included in the relocation package): $125.00 + Food and fun

There are up to 7 ferry departures per day between Wellington and Picton, during the peak season (and only 2 during the off peak season). The journey time is 3 hours. Fares start at NZ$65 for an adult, one way. You can book tickets here.

NOTE: Campervans and motorhomes have kitchenettes and sleeping facilities.

Bus: There are a number of busses you can take which will have a variation of pricing plans. Bussing is great if you want a direct transport option and would still like to see some sights on the way.

The down side to bussing though is not being able to stop wherever you like and having to share your travel with strangers (good or bad depending on what you like :)).

There are three departures each day from Auckland. Fares to Wellington start at NZ$35 (non refundable) for an adult, one way. The travel time is 11 hours.

There are two departures each day from Picton to Christchurch. Fares start at NZ$31 (non refundable) for an adult, one way and the travel time is almost 6 hours. You can book tickets here

These figures are based on an average of what is offered out there for one passenger so keep in mind you can find both cheaper and dearer buses available.

Total (average) bus fare (Auckland to Wellington & Picton to Christchurch): $100.00

Accommodation (based on average Backpacker accommodation @ $25.00 per night): $50.00

Ferry cost: $65.00

Total: $215.00 + Food and fun

Train: Taking the train is a quick and painless way to travel, however you are restricted to the vehicle route and are unable to stop anywhere you like. Some trains will have sleeping capacity while others will not and prices will reflect these variables.

It takes 2 days to travel between the two cities. There are daily departures from Auckland at 7:25 a.m. and you’ll get to Christchurch after 2 days at 7 p.m. The adult fare can cost up to NZ$301. Tickets can be booked here.

Train cost (Auckland to Wellington and Picton to Christchurch): $301.00

Ferry crossing: $65.00

Total: $366.00 + Food and fun

Air: Flying is always the quickest option and seats can be purchased at hugely discounted prices. In saying this, flights can also be quite expensive and will depend on the company, time of year and your flexibility.

Many of the companies will not allow you to take any luggage on cheap flights which also restricts your travel plans if you intend to travel for any length of time.

Air NZ $150.00 – $300.00

JetStar $150.00 – $250.00

GrabASeat $1.00 – $100.00

Depending on your budget and flexibility, any one of these options may suit. Just be sure that you go for the option that works best and take into consideration things like luggage, time, route and expenses.

Have fun!

More articles you may be interested in:

New Zealand Van Relocation | A Budget Adventurer’s Dream

Transfercar’s most frequently asked questions

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