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Travelling to New Zealand without flying

Posted by Richard Hammond at 09:12 on Friday 14 August 2009

The Guardian's Been There section this week featured a question from a couple who want to know about travelling all the way to New Zealand by flying as little as possible. Fred and Fran Long asked: "We would like to go to New Zealand after retiring by flying as little as possible and visiting interesting places on the way. We have read about OZ-Bus, but it sounds very uncomfortable. Do any readers have experience of non-flight round-the-world trips to share?"

Left: Boat travel: the long way round. Photo: Richard Hammond.

Here's my reply I posted on guardian.co.uk:

If you want to go to New Zealand via Asia, you could take the train from London to Moscow, then the Trans-Siberian railway to the Far East from where you'd catch a freighter boat to New Zealand. Seat61.com (easily the best site on the net for worldwide train travel) has information and links on overlanding to Australia. I've just learnt that RailEurope has now partnered with Russian tour operator All Russian Trains so you can book train tickets and visas from London all the way to Moscow.

See lowcarbontravel.com, for how 'slow traveller' Ed Gillespie did the trip from the UK all the way to New Zealand without taking a single flight. Another option is to go via the US: there's a cargo boat that goes from Long Beach, California to Tauranga, New Zealand which takes 15 days (the round trip goes via Australia, Tahiti and Mexico and takes 55 days).

The 'Hansa Flensburg' has accommodation for up to six passengers – the cabins are air-conditioned and have twin beds, a fridge, sitting room with a sofa, chairs and a desk. More info and contact details at freighterworld.com.

If you're prepared to work for free passage on a yacht, there are several websites where you can find yacht owners and skippers looking for crew, such as findacrew.net.


Above: New Zealand - worth the trip. Photo: Richard Hammond.

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