Travel (by ferry or plane) between the North and South Island is not included. **
** From 01OCT23, ferry between North and Island will be included.
Your accommodation is not included in the price, however, finding somewhere great to stay is never a problem with us and neither is booking it. After 18+ years in the game we reckon we know where all the great New Zealand backpackers and hostels are. Travel with Kiwi Experience and you’ll get to stay in some awesome places that you wouldn’t find by yourself. Here are a few examples of the kinds of places you’ll only see with us:
Hot Water Beach Holiday Park - next door to a beach that is famous for, you guessed it, hot water!
River Valley Adventure Lodge - so far off the beaten track the bus can’t even get there
Mahinapua West Coast Pub - with New Zealand’s oldest publican, Les.
In addition to the unique accommodation above, Kiwi Experience also stops at more popular (and populated) towns and cities. Here we recommend some of the best New Zealand backpackers and hostels the country has to offer. With the entire bus getting along great, all the passengers usually decide to stay together at the same place. However, you’re always more than welcome to stay somewhere else and our Driver Guides can help you with this.
Kiwi Experience has guaranteed accommodation in every overnight stop every time we go there. This means that even when the rest of the world seems to be travelling through New Zealand, we can still guarantee every backpacker and traveller who travels with us a bed. That’s pretty important since you’ll need to be well rested for tomorrow, where there’ll be heaps of great experiences ahead. When you travel with Kiwi Experience you can book accommodation yourself or sit back and relax as your Driver Guide rings ahead and does it for you.
A modern bus service is a lot like a modern mobile. When everything’s running smoothly you take for granted what it does for you, but as soon as something goes wrong it can ruin your whole experience! We realized this about buses a long time ago (before mobiles were even invented) so we made sure we used the best vehicles right from day one.
It’s also a very green New Zealand bus service. Our bright green buses are New Zealand tourism icons and turn heads wherever they go (which helps when you need to find it in a hurry). We have chosen to lease our buses from a company that is endorsed with an Enviro Silver Qualmark rating. Because they’re well maintained, they're greener for the environment.
Our Driver Guides are experts at showing off New Zealand, but their first priority is the safety of their bus and their passengers. This is why we only use European designed and engineered buses with a long history and strong reputation for quality. Before they’re put behind the wheel each and every Kiwi Experience Driver Guide must also be put through a rigorous licensing and training programme to ensure the upmost safety of our passengers. We pride ourselves on using a safe and responsible New Zealand bus service.
European coaches also means travelling in unrivalled comfort. Big windows, high viewing seats, arm rests, new fittings, modern sound systems, TV’s, DVD players, air conditioning, and plenty of secure storage space for your bags are all included. Smooth suspension, comfy seats, leg room and a quiet engine are also a favourite with passengers after a hard days adventuring. You’ve got to spend a few hours sitting on the bus so we figure it should add to the experience, not ruin it. It’s cool to be on a comfy green bus and the flash exterior will also look great in those travel snaps of the legendary green machine.
How do I begin my travel?
When you buy your New Zealand bus pass you’re given the option of selecting a start date, or leaving the pass open dated. If you have an open date pass then you’ll need to contact us once you know what day you want to start your Kiwi Experience. The more notice you can give us the better so that we can confirm there’s a seat for you when you want it. Some passes have fixed starting points whereas others allow you to start from anywhere along the route. See the passes page for these full details and to compare pass options.
How long can I travel for?
Once you’ve purchased your New Zealand bus pass you have 12 months to begin your travel, and then once you start you have 12 months to complete it. If you’ve got the time you should definitely take it. Each section of a pass can only be travelled once although there are 2 exceptions to the rule 1) the Kea and Top Dog passes travel Christchurch to Kaikoura twice and 2) our four New Zealand - start anywhere passes now offer Unlimited Travel which means you can travel sectors more than once! See our terms and conditions for more information on Unlimited Travel.
What does minimum travel time mean?
We’ve come up with these travel times to help you plan your trip around New Zealand. If you are a little short on time, or who just want to be sure they can make their flight out at the other end, this is a good guideline to work to. Our recommended travel times include spending an extra night (so 2 nights total) in Taupo, Franz Josef and Queenstown because they’re such amazing places with lots to do. If you’re on a deadline then you can easily skip these extra nights as timetables allow. Whether you are travelling in summer or winter can make a difference too so check out our bus timetable for more information, and get in touch with our Reservations team if you have any questions - we are here to help and make your trip amazing no matter how much time you have!
What if I’m travelling on my own?
Most people who start Kiwi Experience are doing it on their own, but you wouldn’t know it by the end of the trip. You’ll meet all sorts of people from all over the world and quite a few locals too. We’ve had people start off as strangers and become lifelong friends forever. The great people you meet is one of the best things about Kiwi Experience.
How do I get between the North and South Islands?
If you haven’t yet noticed, New Zealand’s two main islands are split by a mass of water known as the Cook Strait. To get between each island you can either take the Interisland Ferry or a short flight. Again, like accommodation and activities, your Driver Guide can book all this for you and even hook you up with a discount.