As with every country we’ve visited, we had to do some research to find the most economical and practical way to get around. In Canada we had a fortnight of public transport, and a fortnight of car hire; in the States it was only practical to hire a car for the month; Fiji was travelled by catamaran and in Oz it was a combination of camper van and hire car (the campervan was economical because the £25 a day covered transport and accommodation!).
Last time we were in New Zealand we hitched everywhere, and had a fantastic time because of all of the Kiwi’s that we met that way. But this time, that isn’t a practical option (Have you ever stopped to picked up a family of four hitching?). So it came down to choosing between bus and car – and with four of us it worked out cheaper to hire a car if we could get a good deal – especially as many of the shuttle buses charge full far for children. In the end we found a car hire company that would cost us NZ$29 (£11 a day), which is a brilliant deal considering that it is high season. And the car is a four door Japanese import. Japanese imports are the most common cars on the road here in New Zealand. They are cars which have been used in Japan, and then sold on the second-hand market for export to New Zealand. The Kiwi’s get access to cheap cars, and the Japanese get some money for a car they don’t want (the Japanese love new cars and hate second-hand ones, so they sell for peanuts).
So we’ve now got transport, and we don’t have to lug our rucksacks onto buses and across town every day. A bonus for everybody, but it’s the last country it will happen in – once we get to Asia public transport will be the cheapest way to get around.