Cyclists, thanks to Independent Cycle Tours
For the concerned environmentalist or the person serious about environmental sustainability, travel is itself a problem. The use of fossil fuels, the high carbon emissions and the pollution associated with personal travel are significant.

All of the environmental issues that organic travellers are aware of – such as food miles – are equally appropriate when applied to personal travel. The essential unsustainability of international air travel has to be noted, and for a small and geographically isolated country like New Zealand, which prides itself on its clean, green image, this is indeed a problem.

Tourism forms a large part of the New Zealand economy, employs a very significant proportion of the population and brings much needed revenue. We are therefore caught in the cleft of a dilemma. Do we, as concerned environmentalists, discourage and condemn all international tourism travel to New Zealand or take a more pragmatic view.

We recognise that until the cost of international travel becomes prohibitive, people will still want to come here. We have therefore taken the position of accepting that, but of trying to mediate the environmental impact of travel by recommending more sustainable modes of travel to more environmentally sustainable outlets and businesses. What does this mean in practical terms?

Car share

Jayride  is a very cool idea. It is a website that helps you find or share a ride in New Zealand to reduce the carbon footprint of your travel. Free to join and use, and fueled by a community of over 3,000 passionately green kiwis, backpackers and everyday commuters. At Jayride you can find a ride by carpool, rideshare, vanshare (or anything else) to anywhere in NZ!


Matakabs: Hybrid-Only Taxi Company
Operating in the Matakana region (1 hr north of Auckland)
A hybrid-only taxi company has arrived, emitting only a feel good vibe into the environment. People don’t have to pay any more to ride in a Matakab because the owners firmly believe that being green shouldn’t be about deprivation and inconvenience.
“We’re not trying to preach a message. Our service is easy and fun, which is why we call ourselves the ‘feel good fare’!”, says Niki.
To order a Matakab phone 0800 KAB RIDE. For more on Matakabs, see

Available in Auckland  and Wellington, fleet of Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles
You can contact the Greencabs Team by using one of the options below:

Phone: 0508 4-GREEN (0508 447-336)

First Direct “Eco-Cabs”
Christchurch's original fleet of hybrid petrol-electric cars and vans. The rapidly growing Eco-Cab Fleet has the most environmentally friendly taxis in the city to help reduce your carbon footprint. Ask the operator for a hybrid Eco-Cab (booking recommended).
Phone: 03 377 5555

Rental cars and campers

Kea Campervan Rentals

green_globe_logo.gifGreen Globe benchmarked in New Zealand, Kea have the youngest fleet in the industry, and high maintenance standards. KEA also has environmentally-friendly vehicles with solar paneling, renewable materials, advanced emission control standards, best-practice waste management systems and the low fuel consumption rates. Their vehicles are certified self-contained through the New Zealand Motorhome and Caravan Association (NZMCA).
Click here to view listing

green_globe_logo.gifThe United Campervan Company has a Green Globe Certification. Their vehicles are all self-contained, but recognising that by their very nature they have a negative impact on the environment with their carbon emissions, the company minimises this effect through efficient servicing and purchasing new vehicles from responsible manufacturers. As a company they try to minimise the impact they have in all other areas and have achieved best practice status in almost all areas. They also sponsor the planting of 30,000 trees annually on Motuora Island in the Hauraki Gulf to offset vehicle emissions.

Jucy is a NZ owned and operated car and camper rental company and is a member of Green Fleet which is a practical program developed by the Sustainable Business Network to reduce the impacts of vehicle fleets on our environment.
Free phone: NZ: 0800 399 736


New Zealand does not yet have vehicle emission standards, although these have been proposed recently. Nor does it have a readily available supply of biofuels at the pumps, although the Government has indicated a decision to introduce the compulsory availability of biofuels from 2008, and to reach a level of availability of 3.4% by 2012. There is considerable interest in New Zealand in the development of turning tallow into biofuels, since it is a major product of the meat and dairy industries which form a large component of the national economy. There is serious research and development under way in New Zealand to produce efficient and sustainable fuels, and Aquaflow Bionomic, a Marlborough-based company produced the first samples of what it maintains are sustainable quantities of biodiesel from sewage algae in 2006. Already, many individual farmers are making their own biodiesel for farm use, and as research and development increases we can expect the manufacture and use of biofuels to become a significant component of the vehicle fuel system. In the meantime, well maintained and tuned diesel vehicles represent the least objectionable option.

Public Transport

Public transport in and around the main centres is generally good, quick, efficient and economical. Buses are the main mode of transport, although in Wellington there is a very efficient train service to the suburbs. Access between all of the main centres is excellent throughout the country, with small towns and villages on these routes well served. Bus travel is very affordable but can also be frustratingly slow.

Why InterCity Group are going carboNZero

InterCity Group is the first tourism and national transport company in New Zealand to commit to making all of its operations carbon neutral. They have signed up to Landcare Research's carboNZero programme. Their corporate operations have been certified carboNZero and they are on track to have the rest of their national tourism and transport operation certified within three years.

When you choose to travel with InterCity Group, you are taking a positive step to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

InterCity Group is a 100 per cent Kiwi-owned and operated company. One in three of our 1.5 million passengers a year are international visitors to New Zealand.

( Serve links between Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Their subsidiary, Newmans Coach Lines ( operate a sightseeing arm. Together, they cover all of New Zealand.

Smaller, regional operators include:

North Island

Alpine Scenic Tours ( between Turangi and National Park for people tramping in the Tongariro region.

Bay Xpress, ( connecting Wellington with Hawkes Bay

Dalroy Express ( between Auckland and Taranaki

Go Kiwi Shuttles ( serves Auckland, Rotorua, Hamilton and the Coromandel.

Kiwi Traveller ( Links Wellington and Rotorua via National Park and Taupo.

Northliner ( links Auckland and Paihia in the Bay of Islands. (09-307-5873)

Waitomo Wanderer ( Connects Waitomo and Rotorua (0508-926-333)

White star City to City. Connects Wellington to Taranaki via Palmerston North.

South Island

Abel Tasman Coachlines ( Connects Nelson, Golden Bay and the Abel Tasman and Kahurangi National Parks.

Atomic Shuttles ( has services throughout the South Island centres.

Cook Connection ( Connects Mt Cook with Lake Tekapo, Twizel and Oamaru.

East West Coach ( Connects Christchurch with Westport via Hanmer Springs.

Hanmer Connection ( Connects Hanmer Springs with Christchurch and (3 times weekly) Kaikoura)

KBus ( Services throughout the top of the South Island to major centres.

Knight Rider ( Operates a night time service between Christchurch and Invercargill via Dunedin.

Scenic Shuttle ( Connects Te Anau, Invercargill and Manapouri.

South Island Connections ( Operates shuttles between Dunedin, Christchurch and Picton.
(0800 700 797)

Southern Link Lazerline Coaches heads from Christchurch to nelson via Lewis pass (with connections to Westport); also runs from Christchurch to Queenstown and Wanaka, and from Queenstown and Wanaka to Dunedin.
(03 358 8355)

Topline Tours ( Connects Te Anau and Queenstown.
(03 249 8059)


Every year, thousands of travellers bicycle their way around New Zealand. It is a popular thing to do because the roads are relatively uncrowded, inexpensive camping accommodation is available en-route and fresh water is easily accessible. There are a lot of hills, making for hard going at times but also plenty of flats to make up for the hard work.

Bikes and cycling gear to rent or buy are readily available in the main centres as are bicycle repair services.

Have a look at our bicycle tour operators:

Pedal Tours based in Auckland in the North Island email: or Independent Cycle Tours email
based in Christchurch in the South Island for more information about cycling holidays in New Zealand.

Zip zap

Plan your travel to visit 1 or 2 regional areas rather than travelling all over the country from top to bottom staying a night or 2 in each location.
To really get a sense of place – and be more environmentally friendly, - spend less Kms and more time experiencing everything there is to offer in a narrower geographical area.

Youtube Video - Towards a sustainable transport system in NZ

Transport planner and scholar
Julie Anne Genter discusses a number of key sustainability issues facing transport development in New Zealand.

Content roughly follows her chapter in the book Carbon Neutral by 2020 (Craig Potton Publishing, 2007).