Catching the bus and ferry with the Bee Card is simple and cheap!

What's the Bee Card?

A Bee Card is the prepay travel smartcard for Otago and other regions of New Zealand.

While you can use it on the Orbus bus networks in Dunedin and Queenstown (including on the ferries), you can use your Bee Card for local public transport in Northland, Waikato, Gisborne, Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay, Taranaki, Manawatū-Whanganui, Nelson, Otago and Invercargill.

You can use the just one Bee Card in all participating regions. Your balance will be automatically applied and you'll just need to tag on and off as normal.

Where you can get a Bee Card and top up your Bee Card

You can buy a Bee Card and top up credit (minimum $5 top up) from the places listed below.

Remember to register your Bee Card online.

Note: When buying a Bee Card from a retailer or on the bus, please note it can take up to 12 hours before you can register the card and add concessions, such as Youth, SuperGold and Community Connect. We recommend waiting until the next day to register your Bee Card.

Dunedin Bee Card retailer locations

Queenstown Bee Card retailer locations

Otago Regional Council Queenstown office

Level 1, Alta House, Terrace Junction, 1092 Frankton Road
Monday to Friday: 8am to 1pm; 2pm to 4pm (Closed on public holidays)
(EFTPOS only)

Queenstown Bee Card retailers

On the bus

You can buy a Bee Card and top up your Bee Card with credit (minimum $5 top up - this is on top of the Bee Card purchase cost). Note: You can only buy a Bee Card or top up on the bus using cash only.


You can order your Bee Card online at (you will need to add at least a $5 top up).

Register your Bee Card

Registering your Bee Card helps keep your card and balance safe, and makes it easier to manage.

To register your Bee Card, go to the official Bee Card website and create a Bee Card account.

You don't have to register your Bee Card, but there are many benefits if you do.

Benefits of a registered Bee Card

  • Cheaper fares on Orbus buses
  • A simple tag-on and tag-off system
  • Able to manage your card online:
    • Check your card's balance
    • Top up online, including setting up an auto top-up
    • Adding concessions (such as for youth and SuperGold card holders)
    • Manage multiple Bee Cards in just one account
  • Free transfers within a 45-minute window (conditions apply)
  • Easy replacement of lost or stolen Bee Cards.

How to use your Bee Card for the first time

The first "tag" will take a few seconds longer than usual – just put your card across the scanner near the front door and wait for the beep. That is how you know it has worked.

Tag on using the onboard card system
Tag on with your Bee Card using the onboard scanner located near the front and back doors of the bus

Bee Cards activate when they are tagged, so if you've topped up online but it says 'pending balance' don't worry, it'll pull through the funds when you tag on

Note that online top ups can take up to 12 hours to come through, so don't top up 5 minutes before your journey.

You can top up your Bee Card on the bus (with cash only) and the balance will be updated immediately.

If your card balance says you were charged a higher fare (such as a cash fare) but you're sure you tagged on and off, it may just be the system processing the information. Check later!

Do not forget to tag off!

When you're about to step off the bus, make sure to 'tag off' by putting your card across the scanner again near the exit door and wait for the beep.

If you forget to tag off, you get charged a default fare, which is the flat cash fare.

When a Bee Card user swipes their card as they enter – tagging on – the system recognises where they are travelling from.

When they tag off, it closes the loop and charges a passenger for their travel. 

Tagging off also ensures you won't be charged if you have changed buses within the free transfer window of 45 minutes from the last tag off (free transfer conditions apply).

Tagging on and off also gives us important data about where people travel helping us improve the network according to people's travel habits.


Note for concessions (discounted fares)

Concession changes may take 30 minutes to pull through, so don't register a concession on a Bee Card right before the journey or the Bee Card holder will end up being charged a full adult fare.

Checking your balance and where to top up your Bee Card

You can see your balance on the card scanner screen when you tag off the bus at the end of your journey.

The easiest way to check your balance and top up your Bee Card is online on the Bee Card website using your debit or credit card. You can also set up an automatic top up when your balance is down to a certain amount.

You can also top up your Bee Card on the bus, at an Otago Regional Council customer service office or a Bee Card retailer as mentioned above.

Note there is a minimum top up of $5 whether online or at a Bee Card retailer.