The lure of the Big Green Bus is calling and you’re ready to discover one of the most beautiful countries around. But first, you want to figure out exactly how Kiwi Experience works and what is included with your bus pass?
So what is Kiwi Experience?
Founded in 1989, we are New Zealand’s original hop on hop off bus, providing flexibility, freedom and super fun times! Our Kiwi Experience driver guides take you around New Zealand to some pretty epic spots, helping you book in the best activities and accommodation along the way. We can help plan your trip to suit your needs while ensuring you get the best out of our beautiful country!
Booking - which pass should I book?
We’ve got a solid lineup of bus passes, each with their own quirky names and subtle differences. Now’s the time for a little research to figure out your game plan, NZ must-do’s and pick out the right pass. Ask yourself these three main questions:
- How much time do I have to travel?
- What’s on my New Zealand bucket list?
- Where am I flying in and out of?
Some handy tips:
- If you don’t have any flights booked yet, the most commonplace to start and finish your trip is in Auckland
- Most of our passes are made up of either our Funky Chicken route or Sheepdog route. The differences are the addons- the Milford Explorer day trip, Bay&Cape or Deep South.
- Make sure to check out our special deals to score yourself a bargain!
- We suggest a minimum number of days needed to complete each pass. It’s always a good idea to have a few extra days on top of this, for arriving and departing New Zealand.
Unsure? Our friendly reservations team are experts at planning trips and saving you some $$. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org, or give us a call on +64 09 336 4286!
Reserving your seat
Once you’ve purchased your pass and figured out your travel dates, let us know what date you want to get on the bus so we can reserve your seat.
Even if last-minute is your middle name, it’s a good idea to book all your buses in advance - especially in high season (December - March). The buses fill up quickly in summer, making advance booking the best way to secure your travel dates. In the summertime, we usually advise 2-3 weeks notice.
Hop-on, Hop-Off - What’s the bus timetable?
All about the freedom of the road and a bit of spontaneity? We hear ya. That’s why Kiwi Experience is hop-on, hop-off, making your trip around New Zealand a lot more flexible than a fixed tour. If you’re feeling like one or two nights isn’t going to be enough for some overnight stops you’re free to stay longer. Just make sure to tell our team and they can switch around your dates. In the summer months, most stops have buses arriving and leaving every day. In winter we run slightly fewer buses meaning that most stops will have 2-3 departures per week. We’ve always got bus timetables available a few months in advance, so you can figure out what’s going to work for you.
We guarantee your first night’s accommodation in all of our overnight stops, for the minimum stay. Adventure charged days are even better with Kiwi Experience; you can rest easy (literally) knowing we’ll sort you a bed each night on the route. We’ll even drop you off at the doorstep.
You’ll be looking at around $30-$35 per night for a bed in a dorm room. If you want to be super prepared- we have accommodation packages which you can add on to your bus pass, to prepay for all of your accommodation! It’s as easy as signing up with the driver guide as you travel, and showing your voucher when you check-in!
Where will you be staying
We partner with great hostels around the country that provide comfy, clean and reasonably priced digs. Their dorm rooms are the most social and economic way to go. If you’ve got a buddy then double rooms are an option where available. Base and Nomads hostels pop up around the country, plus for certain stops we offer unique accommodation options.
Keen to book your own?
If you want to sort out your own accommodation that’s completely fine with us. Your driver will usually stop at a few key spots in each overnight stop so you’re not lugging your bags too far. Make sure you let us know as well, so we can change your pick up location.
In an ideal world, this is where you’d allocate 100% of your budget. In the real world it’s probably going to be anywhere from 40 - 80% of your budget, depending on how many adrenaline-fuelled, jaw-dropping moments you squeeze in. Your driver guide will help you book in any activities that you want to do- there’s no need to pre-book them yourself! We have strong relationships with the top activity providers around the country, which means we have reserved spaces for you, plus we can get you some sweet deals!
Make sure to check out our Activity Packages to get a discount on some of our most popular activities!
In my ideal world, 100% of my budget would go towards food. I love eating out and discovering new food, but as a backpacker, unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of going out for brunch every day. You can still get a taste of New Zealand on a budget, a classic fish and chips meal will cost you around $10 NZD.
- Allow about $20 a day for food. Slightly less if you’re feeling thrifty, or up that budget if a daily flat white is on the menu.
- For the budget-conscious self-catering is definitely the name of the game.
- We stop off at supermarkets along the way so you can keep fuelled for cheaper. Pak n Save will quickly become a fave, Kiwi’s low-cost supermarket.
Kiwi Experience is so much more than a bus tour, you’ll quickly figure out what makes us legendary. Secret spots and amazing photo-ops only locals know about, combined with great vibes and the very best driver guides,we pack a whole lot in with your bus pass. So if you haven’t already, contact our reservations team or choose your pass here, and we can get you booked onto the trip of a lifetime!