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, but it’s also 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 number 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.
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.
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 number of vehicles on the road, therefore, reducing carbon emissions and air pollution. Check out more ways to be an 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 a 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 of finding carpools, 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:
- Facebook Groups – There are Facebook Groups for most towns in New Zealand, which is a good place to post your rideshare for commutes or short trips. For longer trips, try the Backpacking New Zealand Facebook Groups.
- Ask people – Crazy isn’t it? But ask your workmates, 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.
- 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.