Arriving in Auckland we spent three days exploring the city and then a weekend on Waiheke island. To continue our journey through New Zealand we considered many transportation options, we have chosen the Kiwi Experience bus service to help us get around and see all of the amazing things this beautiful country has to offer!
Bus Pass: Super Funky
The Route: Super Funky + Bay of Islands + Cape Reinga +Milford Explorer
Kiwi Experience Summary
This hop on hop off bus service will transport us from our starting point in Auckland all the way around both the North and South Islands stopping off at Hot Water Beach, Waitomo, Rotorua, Taupo, River Valley, Wellington, Abel Tasman, Westport, Lake Mahinapua, Franz Josef, Wanaka, Te Anau, Milford Sound, Queenstown, Lake Tekapo, Christchurch, Nelson and then the Bay of Islands; Paihia and Cape Reinga.
This pass also qualifies for unlimited travel – once you have completed the trip in full, you can travel the route again as many times as you like for up to 12 months.
There are plenty of Activities on offer from Kiwi Experience along the route, and many are offered at a discounted rate – however if you see it advertised elsewhere cheaper, they do price match. You are also free to participate in activities that they do not organise, just schedule it yourself. Not to mention the stunning scenery and various hikes that are free along the way, and if you are like us – there’s plenty of lakes, rivers and even the sea to jump in and enjoy.
Hopping on and off the Kiwi Experience bus
This route has a minimum travel time of 28 days, however this is for those with time limits – if you have longer it is encouraged to hop off your big green bus and explore the destinations for longer where possible. Some places require more time than others, and I will be documenting all of our itinerary and also offering advice on this! If you want to hop off you just schedule more days between your buses. In peak seasons such as in Summer – the buses can become very busy and it is advisable to pre-book a rough itinerary and amend it as required, this will mean fewer changes for you.
Accommodation whilst travelling with Kiwi Experience
Whilst travelling with the Kiwi Experience, you are guaranteed accommodation at the allocated kiwi experience hostels for the designated stop over time; you are able to choose your type of room when booking your hostel on the bus with your driver. There is usually a range of accommodation, including the usual dorm rooms or private rooms. If you were travelling the minimum travel time of 28 days you are completely covered if you wish to stay in all of the allocated accommodation.
Once you hop off the bus, you will need to arrange your own accommodation for the extra nights. This is fine, and you can either stay in a hostel of your choice for the duration of your stay, move hostels after using the guaranteed accommodation on the first night or extend the guaranteed accommodation where possible. If you are travelling in the quieter months in winter, it is unlikely that you will have any problems regarding accommodation. Outside of this – be aware that Christmas, New Years and Easter can be incredibly busy and it is advisable to book in advance.
North to South or South to North
We will be beginning our journey in Auckland as that is where the cheapest flight from Argentina was scheduled. This is convenient for us, however if you would prefer you can start on the South Island in Christchurch.
We will be completing the Bay of Islands section last to enjoy some warmer weather in December, so it is fairly flexible.
Booking the Bus and what happens if the Bus is full?
When you want to start your bus pass, let kiwi experience know by giving them a call or email with details of when and where you want to catch your first bus and start your bus pass. They will book the bus for you, and you can either book the first bus and have the standard 28 day route assigned to you – if you wanted to hop off the bus you would need to change your schedule accordingly each time. If you have a flexible itinerary and some spare time, this is fine. If you need to be more organised, you are able to book your buses to your own schedule and then essentially amend less buses.
If the bus is full, you are placed on Stand By. As soon as a seat is made available you are assigned it. Lots of people change their itinerary as they go because they like a place, need a rest day, or want to remain with friends so often seats do become available.
Each 28 day bus route is assigned 1 driver. So if you hop off the bus, the next time you hop on the bus you will meet a new driver, and a new bus of people.
The Kiwi Experience Drivers
If you have questions, if you want to know about activities, if you want expert advise on your schedule and itinerary ask your driver. They really know the route, the activities and how to make the most of your trip.
Your drivers also book all of your accommodation and activities with you, on the bus! Multiple clip boards are handed around the bus for this purpose daily.
If you are interested in booking a kiwi experience bus pass – there is a fantastic faq section on there website that you can find here.
I will be documenting our full itinerary, accommodation guide, activity reviews and destination posts.
We are super excited to explore New Zealand with Kiwi Experience, See you on the road!
Love B x