New Zealand by Plane, Train, Bus & Car

We travelled around New Zealand mainly by bus on two Intercity passes, one for the North Island and another for the South. We clocked roughly 40 hours on the bus in total and our itinerary looked like this over a 2 week visit: Auckland, Matamata, Rotorua, Wellington, (flight to) Christchurch, Mt. Cook, Queenstown, Milford Sound, Queenstown, Makarora, Franz Joseph, Greymouth, (Trans Alpine train to) Christchurch. At first the jostling of the bus was really hard on my sore back, but I settled in and got used to sitting for generally about four hour stretches. Demographically we were an odd couple out, and I’d say that for the most part the buses were filled with young people (teens-early twenties) and retirees. Next time around we’ll definitely rent a car to have the freedom to go at our own pace and see what we feel like seeing, but the bus and train were really excellent for just gazing out the windows at the scenery (which we both wanted to do). It was nice to get a bit of local perspective from the different bus drivers too, who sometimes pointed out interesting things on the journey.

Tongariro National Park through the bus window.
Tongariro National Park through the bus window.
Tongariro National Park .
Tongariro National Park .
Pulling into Wellington in the evening.
Pulling into Wellington in the evening.
Nathan took us on a little tour of the Christchurch area.
Nathan took us on a little tour of the Christchurch area.
Nathan's back seat.
Nathan’s back seat.
On the bus to Mt. Cook.
On the bus to Mt. Cook.
On the bus towards Milford Sound.
On the bus towards Milford Sound.
Milford Sound bus rooftop windows.
Milford Sound bus rooftop windows.

A snack on the boat round Milford Sound.
A snack on the boat around Milford Sound.
View from the boat in Milford Sound.
View from the boat in Milford Sound.
Milford Sound.
Milford Sound.
Sleepy seals in Milford Sound.
Sleepy seals in Milford Sound.
Biblical moment on the bus between Milford Sound and Queenstown.
Biblical moment on the bus between Milford Sound and Queenstown.
Somewhere between Makarora and Franz Joseph.
Somewhere between Makarora and Franz Joseph.
Scenic pull-over.
Scenic pull-over.
View of the Tasman Sea.
View of the Tasman Sea.
Waiting at the bus stop in Franz Joseph.
Waiting at the bus stop in Franz Joseph.
Trans Alpine Train.
Trans Alpine Train.
View from the window at our seats on the Trans Alpine.
View from the window at our seats on the Trans Alpine.
A quick stop between Greymouth and Christchurch.
A quick stop between Greymouth and Christchurch.
Trans Alpine train roof window.
Trans Alpine train roof window.
View from the back car on the Trans Alpine train.
View from the back car on the Trans Alpine train.
Christian also did a bit of snowmobiling at the  Canterbury Museum in Christchurch.
Christian also did a bit of snowmobiling at the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch.