68 people found this article useful

Carpooling: The Super Fun (and Cheap) Way to Get Around New Zealand


A quick guide to carpooling in New Zealand.

New Zealand is a country you will want to get around… A lot! There are epic activities and mind-blowing landscapes spread far and wide, so figuring out a way to get around is an essential part of the New Zealand experience. However, when you start totalling up the cost of fuel, bus tickets and bus tours, for example, you’ll see that travelling around New Zealand isn’t exactly cheap. But have you considered carpooling? It’s not only a cheap way to get around New Zealand, it’s pretty darn fun.

While the concept of carpooling has been around for years, it’s really gaining some traction in New Zealand. Maybe it’s to reduce the amount of cars on the road, as New Zealand cities like Auckland and Wellington were ranked the 22nd and 24th most congested cities in the world by TomTom? Or maybe it’s because more and more people are looking for more ways to reduce their carbon footprint and keep New Zealand looking beautiful? Whatever the reason, we’ll dive deeper into what carpooling is all about in this guide.

What is carpooling?

Carpooling, otherwise known as ride sharing, lift sharing or car sharing, is sharing car journeys so that more than one person is in a car. Instead of several people using multiple vehicles to get to the same destination, they “pool” together in the same car.

There are carpooling opportunities in New Zealand for both people with a vehicle looking for passengers and passengers looking for “rides”. Commonly, the passengers contribute a small fee to the driver to cover fuel costs for the journey.

Carpooling is also gaining more traction in New Zealand for short commuter trips, as well as longer journeys between cities making it a great option for seeing the country.

Working Holiday Insurance


The Fun way to get around New Zealand

So let’s get to it, why exactly is carpooling the “fun way to get around New Zealand”?

Carpooling is a super social experience! It’s a great way to enhance the human aspect of your travels, giving you an opportunity to meet locals and fellow travellers alike. For drivers who have bought their own car or camper to explore New Zealand, we all know it’s the least social way to travel compared to taking buses or tours. However, with carpooling it doesn’t have to be that way! Invite others to join you on the road and, who knows, you might just find your next travel buddy.

For passengers, you have the opportunity to meet a whole range of interesting people yet like-minded enough to use this fun and cheap way to get around New Zealand. Families, small groups of friends, couples, solo travellers, locals from all over New Zealand,  travellers from all over the world… they all use carpooling. On top of that, it frees you up time from driving yourself! Start planning the next leg of your trip, for instance!

For more ways to meet people on your travels, take a look at 8 Ways to Meet People When Travelling Alone in New Zealand.


The Cheap Way to get around New Zealand

How you save money with carpooling doesn’t take much explaining. Everyone in the vehicle benefits from lower fuel costs and splitting the cost of toll roads, ferry crossing and parking if it applies to your journey. Plus, it almost always works out much cheaper than taking public transport.

In the long-run, by reducing the amount of traffic on the roads carpooling reduces costs toward new roads and road maintenance. For people with a vehicle opting for carpooling options, this means your using your own vehicle less therefore reducing the likelihood of car repairs from everyday wear and tear or accidental damage.


More reasons to try carpooling

There are many other reasons to consider carpooling as a way of getting around New Zealand.

Eco-friendly travel

If there was ever a country to inspire us to be more eco-friendly, it has to be New Zealand. Carpooling is definitely a way to help preserve the environment by reducing the amount of vehicles on the road therefore reducing carbon emissions and air pollution. Check out more ways to be a eco-friendly traveller in our Be Green When Backpacking in New Zealand.

Easy to plan

With carpooling websites and Facebook groups cropping up, it’s getting easier and easier to plan your travel through carpooling. Unlike other forms of ride sharing, like hitchhiking, you can actually make a plan with drivers and passengers where you know where you’re starting and finishing your journey and how long it will take.

Get to more places

As you may know, public transport in New Zealand is limited in comparison to other developed countries. Carpooling can take you to so many places, not just the few on the standard bus route.


Is carpooling safe?

Letting a stranger into your car or getting into a car with a stranger is bound to make some people uneasy. However, there are more and more ways to reduce the “risk” involved with carpooling websites that have features like a driver and passenger rating system, “ladies-only” rides, mobile and email verification.

If you’re using other methods to carpool, such as through Facebook Groups or notice boards, try to organise with carpooling with multiple people, rather than just one passenger. It’s safer to travel in groups.


How to start carpooling in New Zealand

Ok, carpooling sounds great but how do you get started?! Well, there are a few ways to start carpooling in New Zealand:

  • Easy As Carpooling – [UPDATE: this website is no longer available]. It’s a website we’ve mentioned already, but this is THE place for carpooling in New Zealand. The website allows you to “Offer a Ride” or “Find a Ride” by browsing listed ride shares. There are both commutes and long journeys listed.
  • Facebook Groups – There are Facebook Groups for most towns in New Zealand, which is a good place to post your ride share for commutes or short trips. For longer trips, try the Backpacking New Zealand Facebook Groups.
  • Ask people – Crazy isn’t it? But ask your work mates, friends at the gym, your housemates, or any place where you meet people regularly to carpool together!
  • Supermarket notice boards – It’s pretty old-school but supermarket noticeboards are widely used in New Zealand. It’s a free way to post your carpooling opportunity. Don’t forget to leave your contact details.

If you liked this article, then you might like…

Viator Best Price Guaranteed
Was this article useful? Useful Useless
Help other travellers, share this article now:
New Zealand's Biggest Gap Year on YouTube
Kaiteri Lodge
South Island Hostels

6 Best Backpacker Hostels in Abel Tasman National Park

Where to stay in abel Tasman National Park? Pristine golden sand beaches [...]

Camping Tips & Information

Camping in New Zealand

The best way to experience the wilderness! Camping is the best way [...]

Working Holiday Insurance
Hot on Backpacker Guide

11 Ways to Convince Your Parents to Let You Take a Gap Year in New Zealand

Time to leave your mum’s house. Are your folks finding it hard […]

Work For Accommodation

Working For Accommodation and Food in New Zealand: What Are Your Rights?

Is your work for food and accommodation in New Zealand a fair […]

New Zealand Month-by-Month
Tourism NZ

New Zealand in October

What is it like to travel New Zealand in October? Spring is […]

We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. This includes personalizing content and advertising. To learn more, click here. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies, revised Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
I accept