If you have read my last post you’ll know that I’ve already started my Kiwi Experience trip so with me being on the move everyday or two it’s impossible to keep this updated as I go!
I purchased the Kiwi Experience Super Funky pass for around $800 NZD (I should have purchased it in Oz!) which takes me around the main New Zealand spots, including Bay & Cape and Milford Sound. Due to having to purchase an onward ticket, I am travelling for around 7 weeks on the Super Funky route below:
Auckland-Paihia-Cape Reinga Day Trip- Paihia-Auckland-Hot Water Beach-Waitomo-Rotorua-Taupo-River Valley-Wellington-Abel Tasman-Westport-Mahinapua-Franz Josef-Fox Glacier – Wanaka-Queenstown-Milford Day Trip-Queenstown-Tekapo-Chirstchurch-Nelson-Wellington-Taupo-Auckland.
Unlike Australia where you get taken from A to B, with Kiwi Experience the driver isn’t just your bus driver but also an informative tour guide. You’ll do walks and activities on route to your next destination as well as stopping for food and alcohol…they don’t say Kiwi is a party bus for nothing! Throughout the journey you’ll be given information which allows you to decide which activities you want to sign up for and how many nights accommodation you want the driver to pre-book. With Kiwi you’re guaranteed at least one nights accommodation in each destination and three nights in Queenstown. However, if you’re tight for time I recommend booking your bus itinerary and extra accommodation in advance because during peak season they will fill up rather quickly.
With regards to the driver pre-booking your accommodation, it can be more cost effective to ask where you’ll be staying and book the hostel online yourself (most of the time it’ll be Base or Nomads). Alternatively, you can save money by purchasing a Base Jump Card for $269 NZD which gives you 10 nights accommodation for the price of around $27 NZD per night. The only downside with the pass is that the maximum usage at each hostel is 2 nights so any extra nights you’ll need to pay for yourself.
I purchased my Base Jump Card and some activities in advance with Peterpans Travel which I regret doing just because once they have your money their customer service isn’t so friendly afterwards. I paid $789 for the Base Jump Card, Hobbiton, Kaitiaki White Water Rafting, The Tongariro Alpine Crossing shuttle, Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland (Headfirst Travel), Tamaki Maori Village, Waitomo Glow Worm and Ruakuri Caves.
If you want to save money, don’t make the same mistake which I made of using Peterpans but instead check out www.bookme.co.nz because it is so cheap! I wish I’d discovered this website sooner. However, if you’re feeling lazy you can always book activities on the bus because they offer discounted prices too.
Okay I’ve had my rant, let’s focus on Kiwi again! If you want to stay longer somewhere you can always call the Kiwi Experience toll free number on 0800 364 286 (NZ) and change the date you’d like to leave. The process is very easy because it is a hop-on, hop-off bus, and even if the bus is full on the date you’d like to leave you’ll be put on standby – just make sure you don’t miss your scheduled bus as you’ll have to pay a $50 admin fee.
Last but not least, if you like sleeping you aren’t likely to get any on the bus because not only is the music always blasting but clipboards (activity sign up sheets) are flying around everywhere. However, if you’re looking for a more relaxed adventure (which also doesn’t also involve getting pissed every night) I have heard you should check out the bus company Stray instead.
I hope this post is informative because at first I was a bit confused with how it all works but once you get on the bus you’ll realise it’s not as complicated as it sounds. P.s New Zealand is amazing!!