There are quite a few similarities between overland travel in Australia and New Zealand. Renting a car, or even better, a camper van, is definitely the best way to get the most out of traveling in both countries. Unfortunately that can be costly, so both places have other overland options for the more budget minded traveler. Hop on hop off tourist buses are extremely popular for the younger folk, while this type of transportation turns traveling around OZ and New Zealand into one giant party on wheels. For those not into drinking themselves silly every night, there are regular old buses and trains that are affordable options of getting around.
Overland Travel In Australia
The main difference of traveling overland in Australia vs. New Zealand is the massive size difference. Most first time visitors to OZ are surprised not only at how big it truly is, but how vast it is as well. The open expanse of the country is truly remarkable, and it’s a major highlight of a visit here.
Unfortunately because of this, it makes getting around challenging at times. There are certain areas where buses and trains don’t go, so driving yourself is the only option. While renting a car or camper van may not be as expensive as in a country like the US, it can still put a hurting on a budget traveler.
Traveling OZ by Camper Van or Rental Car
Camper vans are a good option, even for budget minded travelers, because they offer the freedom of having a car and going where you want plus they double as accommodations and kitchens, saving on hostels and restaurants. There are basic, free camp sites throughout the country, but they offer very little, if any, amenities. If you’re driving a small camper van like a Space Ship, then staying in a site like this could prove to be problematic as the vans don’t have toilets and the cooking amenities are limited. If traveling with a partner or group, getting a larger camper van could be a good, economical option.
Renting a car should be cheaper than a camper van, but unless you have camping gear, you’ll end up spending the difference (or more) on accommodations. It is possible to rent camping gear since you probably won’t be bringing yours on a RTW trip.
Bus Travel in Australia
Traveling by bus is the way to go if you can’t afford a camper can or car. The buses tend to very nice, with bathrooms, a/c, movies, and food service. The backpacker buses offer the same amenities, plus hop on, hop off privileges. These are basically packaged tours for the college-aged people, and most seem to turn into quite the party, which can be a blast for those of you in that demographic. There are loads of companies offering these services, led by The Oz Experience.
Train Travel In Australia
Train travel is available and might be a good idea for a leg or two of your trip to Oz, but be aware that they are typically going to be more expensive and take longer.
Overland Transport In New Zealand
Much of the same can be said about overland travel in New Zealand as in Australia. The citizens of both countries usually hate being lumped together, but in this case, the similarities are too strong to ignore. From the popularity of camper vans (they even have the same companies, like Space Ship) to the backpacker buses to the prices, the options for traveling overland around New Zealand doesn’t differ much from traveling around Oz.
Don’t forget to check out the FAQ’s on the same subject, which asks all the right questions and offers tons of great information for getting around the world on the ground (or in some cases, over water).
For specific information on overland travel in each region of the world, be sure to check out the following guides, with resources and sample pricing for various overland journeys:
Overland Travel In The Americas
Overland Travel In Africa And The Middle East
Overland Travel In Europe
Overland Travel In Russia And Central Asia
Overland Travel In India
Overland Travel In China And Southeast Asia
Next up in the RTW Planning Guide, we discuss various accommodation options. Be sure to keep reading along, as we cover all there is to know about planning a RTW trip.Next: Accommodations »