Tauranga – Auckland travel options

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When travelling between places, people have different priorities.

Tauranga is located about 200 km from Auckland’s downtown. To get between Tauranga and Auckland there are several transportation options. This post tries to rank options, considering the frequency, time and cost of each, to choose the best transportation option, as summarised below.

Ranking Mode Frequency Time Cost Score
(lower is better)
1 Bus 12 per day (2) 3 h 25 min (3) $10-$20 (1) 2+3+1= 6
2 Air 7 per day (3) 1 h 55 min (1) $66-$270 (3) 3+1+3= 7
2 Car On demand (1) 2 h 45 min (2) $114-$253 (4) 1+2+4= 7
3 Cycle Once per day (4) 12 h (5) $23-$33 (2) 4+5+2= 11
4 Rail Very rare (5) 5 h 30 min (4) $115 (5) 5+4+5= 14


1. By Bus

Note travel time is over an hour more than that by private car. I do not find it is easy to understand why this is, when the bus is using the same infrastructure, even stops don’t account for this.

Frequency – Intercity offers 3 direct buses (via Waihi or Thames) and 4 that require transfer in Hamilton, while Naked Bus offers 3 direct and 2 that need transfers in Hamilton. This gives a total of 6 direct buses and 6 requiring transfers.

Time – 3h 25 min – 3h 55min – 4 h 15 min – 4 hour 12 minutes to 4 hour 30 minutes – 6 h 45 min .

Here are links to Intercity and Naked Bus, the timings are unclear.

The Cost is low – $10 to $35.

2. Air travel or drive-fly-bus (a mix of modes).

Frequency – Air New Zealand provides up to 7 flights per day.

Time – Arrive 30 minutes before flight, plus 35 minutes flying time, plus 50 minutes Bus to CBD equals 1 hour 55 minutes.

Note:  Auckland airbus  transfers take approximately 40-60 min. Times can vary depending on traffic conditions. Please allow 1 hour travel time.

Cost – $50 to $254 for flight plus $16 airport bus to Auckland downtown, equals $96 to $270. (not included is $10 Tauranga airport car parking).

3. By Car

Frequency – Can be troublesome during rush hour and parking can be difficult and expensive.

Time – Plan on about 2 hours 45 minute of travel time, though stops and traffic will add to overall time. The most direct route takes you through Waihi on SH2 to SH1 over Bombay hills.

Cost – The distance is about 205 km, The AA puts the cost between $0.53 to $1.08 per km  making the drive cost between $108 to $221, plus parking which can cost between $6 to $32, equals $114 at cheapest and up to $253.

4. By Bicycle

Frequency – Once per day.

Time – 12 hours.

Cost –  $0.11 to $0.16 per km x 205 km = $23 to $33.

5. By Train

A low-stress option. Can take as long as five and a half hours, costs $115, very low Frequency – last train was in 2010.

3 comments on “Tauranga – Auckland travel options

  1. If you are traveling to Auckland, my suggestion to you us to hire a car. The public transport, or lack thereof, cannot be relied on and is, to put it simply, rubbish!

  2. Yes you are right a rental car option will give a lot more freedom and time saving to travel around the wider Auckland area, especially if travel with others.
    But if you plan to go just to a city centre as a single person a rental car at $22-$25 per + parking $6-$32 + petrol $20 equals $48 to $77, Close to double the cost of $28 return airport-bus option.

  3. While that may be the case Peter, in my experience with public transport there I would rather just pay the extra and know that I’m going to get back on time. The timetables for the buses mean next to nothing!

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