The beautiful city of Auckland is set on New Zealand’s North Island. With water and hilly ranges surrounding the city, it’s a very scenic destination that’s also filled with things to do. There’s the iconic Sky Tower, the Wintergardens, Auckland Domain – a park based around an extinct volcano, a seaside promenade, museums, islands, beaches and more; plenty to keep you occupied for quite some time! While the city of Hamilton is far smaller than Auckland, it too has lots to see and do. A city of parks and gardens, caves, a zoo, and museums, Hamilton gives visitors a taste of life in a smaller New Zealand city, and is well worth a visit.

Options for Travel from Auckland to Hamilton

Options for Travel from Auckland to Hamilton

It’s only about 125 kilometers (78 miles) from Auckland to Hamilton, so it’s not a long way to travel between cities. You could rent a car and drive yourself. This would be especially useful if you’re planning to travel onwards from Hamilton and want to use the car to explore, but if you’re city hopping and going on guided tours so that you make the most of your time in New Zealand, renting a car can be an expensive alternative. The good news is that getting from Auckland to Hamilton by public transport is easy and relatively cheap. There are options to travel by bus or by train, and both have their advantages. Find out below which way to get from Auckland to Hamilton is best for you.

Auckland to Hamilton by Bus

Auckland to Hamilton by Bus
© Zuhairi Ahmad / Shutterstock.com

As is usually the case, you’ll find that traveling by bus from Auckland to Hamilton is the cheapest way to go. Buses will also get you to Hamilton in the shortest time, traveling between cities faster than the train does, so there are two advantages already to traveling by bus!

Another advantage is that there are usually plenty of buses to choose from as there are multiple departures each day, starting as early as 7:30am, while the latest bus departs at 8:45pm. There is one main company offering these services: InterCity Group Coachlines, and they have a variety of different ticket types that you can choose from as well, so you’re not just restricted to one ticket type or price. Most of the departures use a Standard bus which, even though it’s standard, does include air conditioning and Wifi. There are also Standard Double Decker buses which aren’t much different apart from having that extra floor – maybe a good idea if you want to be higher up and get a better view as you’re traveling!

The most expensive bus from Auckland to Hamilton is the Premium Double Decker, and these really are very nice if you like to travel in more luxurious conditions! There are only three seats per row as opposed to the standard four seats, and the seats recline and have foot rests on them, so you can recline and watch the world go by out your window. One final option for buses from Auckland to Hamilton is a Sleeper Double Decker. It is similarly priced to the Premium buses and includes beds for sleeping on, but we’re not sure this is the best value for money because the journey is only short and there are no overnight buses as such, so whether you’d want to sleep on the bus is up to you.

Whichever service you opt for, the bus from Auckland to Hamilton will take somewhere between 1 hour and 50 minutes, to 2 hours and 20 minutes, depending on the time of day you’re traveling. You should also note that you can easily book tickets for the bus through the online travel website, 12Go.asia. Their search results are great, giving you all the different bus options and times on one page, making it very easy to choose and book your bus ticket.

Auckland to Hamilton by Train

Auckland to Hamilton by Train
KiwiRail train © Piu_Piu / Shutterstock.com

While the buses are a great option and offer good flexibility in terms of ticket prices and selection of departure times, sometimes it’s nice to travel by train instead. New Zealand is a beautiful country after all, and trains tend to travel routes that can be more scenic than buses!

The train from Auckland to Hamilton is operated by KiwiRail. Trains depart from Auckland Strand and arrive into Hamilton Station about 2.5 hours later, so they are slower than the buses, but not much slower.

The biggest drawback with traveling by train from Auckland to Hamilton is that there is only one train departure per day and it’s in the early morning, at 7:45am. This means it’s not such a flexible option as the buses are, so it may not fit in with any existing schedule that you have, or you may feel that catching a train at 7:45am is too early when you’re on vacation!

Another drawback is the cost – traveling by train is certainly more expensive than going by bus, but you get more for your money. The seats are First Class seats for a start, and there are lots of services and facilities on board, including air conditioning, washrooms, food and snacks available, and stewards to assist you, so there is extra value in the price of the ticket.

If you don’t travel by train very often it can be a more fun and interesting way to get from Auckland to Hamilton, compared to the bus, but it’s your choice! Trains are more expensive and there is only one departure per day, but this does get you into Hamilton at 10:15 am so it gives you the entire day to explore. Buses offer greater flexibility and are cheaper, so they’re a good choice if you’re trying to fit your travel around other plans. Both buses and trains from Auckland to Hamilton can be booked online through 12Go, so booking either of them is very easy and can be done in advance so you have your schedule all sorted out before leaving home.