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How to Catch a City Bus in New Zealand


What you need to know about New Zealand city buses.

For budget-conscious or environment-conscious travellers making their way around New Zealand, making use of New Zealand’s bus routes are a great way to get around. After reading our Travel by Bus in New Zealand: The Ultimate Guide and seeing the ways of getting around New Zealand by bus, you’ll want to know how to get around New Zealand’s cities by bus. New Zealand’s cities and largest towns have bus services to help you get around the city centre and suburbs. So find out how to catch a city bus in New Zealand, as well as how to pay for a city bus, in this guide!

How to get a city bus in New Zealand

Getting a city bus in New Zealand is easy. Just remember these three things:

  • Stand at a designated bus stop, easily identifiable from “Bus Stop” signs
  • Wave at the bus driver as you see the bus approaching
  • As you get on the bus, pay by cash or by using the appropriate prepay bus card.
New Zealand City Bus Stops

Bus stops in New Zealand almost always have an up-to-date timetable on display showing the bus numbers that stop at the bus stop, their route and arrival time. Some bus stops may have just a “Bus Stop” sign with no timetable, which is best used if you know which bus you are meant to be taking and at what time it arrives. Bus timetables are available on the city councils’ websites.

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Simon_sees on Wikipedia

Public Buses in Auckland

Auckland has a vast public bus network operating from within the city centre all the way to the far reaches of the outer suburbs. Cash fares start from NZ$1 and you pay per sections (zones) you travel through.

Buses can also be paid with an ATHop Card, which makes the fare a percentage of the price.

Other transport in Auckland includes trains, ferries and flights.

Find out more in our Public Transport in Auckland or on the Auckland Transport website.

Pseudopanax at English Wikipedia

Public buses in Wellington

Wellington has a vast bus network operated by various companies connecting the city centre to the outer suburbs. Cash fares start from around NZ$2 and increase per zone you travel through.

Prepay cards are also available, with different options depending on which company you use, for instance, Snapper Cards, Mana Coach Services Smartcards, Newlands Coach Services Smartcards and more.

Other transport in Wellington includes trains, ferries and the Wellington Cable Car.

Find out more in our Public Transport in Wellington or on the Wellington City Council website.

purdryns on Flickr

Public Buses in Christchurch

Buses operate in Christchurch to connect the city centre with the outer suburbs, even as far as Rangiora, Burnham and Waikuku Beach. Cash fares start from around NZ$1.80 and increase per zone travelled.

Bus fares can also be paid with a Metrocard which makes fares a fraction of the cash fare price.

Other transport includes ferries and airport shuttles.

Find out more in our Public Transport in Christchurch or on the Christchurch Council website.

Nankai on Wikipedia

Public Buses in Dunedin

Public buses are readily available in Dunedin city and its surrounding suburbs. Cash bus fares start from around NZ$2.20 and increase per distance travelled.

Bus fares can also be paid with a GoCard, making fares cheaper than cash fares.

Other transport in Dunedin includes airport shuttles.

Find out more in our Public Transport in Dunedin or on the Otago Regional Council website.


Other New Zealand cities with a bus service

As you can see, the public bus system in New Zealand cities all work in a very similar way. As an overseas visitor moving from city to city, you may find it makes more financial sense to pay cash fares, rather than preloading a local bus card with credit that you’re not likely to spend the entirety of. So when looking to travel using public buses in New Zealand, these are some of the cities that have a bus service:

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