The Kiwi Experience backpacker bus passes enable you to explore New Zealand at your own pace, with the backup and support of our legendary driver guides. The best reason to do the Kiwi Experience backpacker bus pass is the atmosphere, the social side of it is incredible, matched only by the jaw-dropping stunning locations we will take you to. Plenty of passes on offer depending on your time budget and where you want to go. If you find the same pass cheaper let us know we will beat the price.

 Kiwi Experience Bus Passes. Hop on-hop off

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Why the Kiwi Experience?

Kiwi Expeience (1)

This is the legendary New Zealand travel network, offering you some of the most unforgettable experiences on the planet. Jump on the adventure of a lifetime and get amongst it! Awesome hop-on hop-of bus adventures for travellers, by travellers; Kiwi Experience is New Zealand´s original adventure company. They´ve been around for over a whopping 23 years, so you know you´re in safe, experienced and fun hands. Let the good times roll!

Kiwi Experience Highlights Include.

  • Fully guided fun tours of New Zealand
  • Lots of extra activities and inclusions
  • A great atmosphere on board the Kiwi experience buses
  • Totally flexible way of getting around both islands
  • Totally hassle free travel with assistance from cool driver guides.
  • Multiple passes that suit all timescales budgets
  • If you found a pass cheaper, let us know and we will attempt to beat the price

Kiwi Ex  vs  Stray

So booking a hop on hop off bus pass through New Zealand is a bit of a no-brainer in our opinion. You could say it’s a rite of passage that any backpacker travelling between the two islands. Not only are they convenient they are a lot of fun as well. There are two main options that you have for New Zealand hop on hop off bus pass companies.  Kiwi experience  and  Stray.

Which do we prefer?

The actual answer is we like both of them but for different reasons. If you are wondering which company is right for you your best option is to actually talk to us so we can find out what you are like and give you our top recommendation.

In a nutshell Kiwi experience are bigger, the average age of the traveller is a little bit less than stray and their buses are much bigger. Kiwi experience has double axle coaches which means that a great party atmosphere but they are not going to take you off the beaten track to some of the more exciting and lesser-known places. Stray well, all of their buses are single axle, they are smaller which means you form tighter friendships with people on the bus and you get to see some really exciting places. Kiwi experience may be a little cheaper, but that does not necessarily mean better but it is all horses for courses.

Photos

Kiwi experience passes and itineraries  

There are quite a few different passes depending on what you want to do where you want to start and how long you want to travel for. If you need any advice or help in picking the preferred pass the you please do not hesitate to contact us as we would love to help.

Below you can see an independent review of the Kiwi experience which is quite helpful in explaining how it works and what it is.

Start anywhere passes:

The funky chicken

The Funky Chicken shows you the best that the North and South islands have to offer. You can start anywhere you like and end up where you began, or using our Unlimited Travel offer repeat some sectors again for free! If you love your Funky Chicken and want it to last even longer you can always add on Awesome, Milford or Bottom Bus later on (although it´s always cheaper to buy a New Zealand bus pass at the beginning that includes these sectors).

Detailed itinerary

Hot Water Beach, New Zealand

Auckland to Hot Water Beach
Spend the afternoon walking or kayaking to Cathedral Cove, or take a surfing lesson at Hot Water Beach!
After visiting the Kiwi Experience office we head towards the Coromandel Peninsula and spend the afternoon at Cathedral Cove; accessible only on foot or by kayak. This beautiful coastal spot is great for swimming, sea kayaking, and spotting dolphins if you´re lucky. We then carry on to Hot Water Beach (rated one of the top ten beaches in the world by Lonely Planet) where you can take a surfing lesson and head out with your shovel at low tide to dig your own hot pool in the sand.

Tamaki Tours, Rotorua New Zealand

Hot Water Beach to Waitomo
Check out New Zealand´s gold mining history before travelling on to experience the glow-worms, underwater caves and forest walks of Waitomo.
After an early start our first stop is the Karangahake Scenic Reserve to explore a native bush-clad gorge, swing bridges and a bit of New Zealand´s gold mining history. Next it´s onto Waitomo (wai meaning water, tomo meaning cave) where you will get the chance to see glow-worms, stalactites, cave coral, fossilized oysters and other crazy stuff in the limestone caves formed from 40 million year old dead fish.

Ruakuri Cave, Waitomo New ZealandWaitomo to Rotorua

Last chance to explore Waitomo before heading to Rotorua, the Maori culture capital of New Zealand.
We start the day with a walk through the Ruakuri Reserve and a breakfast stop at the Long Black Café before heading through to Rotorua. In the afternoon you´ll have a chance to go along to a farm show, go Zorbing, luging, and try out a crazy activity or two at Agroventures. In the evening you can experience a traditional Maori hangi (feast) and concert with Tamaki Tours a night not to be missed!

Skydiving Lake Taupo, New Zealand

Rotorua to Taupo
A popular backpacker destination, with New Zealand´s biggest lake and plenty to keep you occupied!
The first activity of the day is exploring the geothermal reserve of Te Puia, with New Zealand´s largest geyser and a chance to see a real live Kiwi bird. The afternoon journey to Taupo includes stop offs to explore the area´s lakes and Taupo´s famous Huka Falls. Taupo is rightly known as the adventure capital of the North Island with optional activities on offer such as skydiving, bungy jumping, jet boating, the Volcanic Centre and the spectacular Tongariro Crossing!

Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

Taupo (extra day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Taupo because there´s so much to do there. If you´re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.
Enjoy a sleep-in (for those not doing the Tongariro Crossing) and experience one of the many activities on offer.   A walk down to Spa Park to relax in the natural hot springs by the river is a great way to spend the day (or night).   Alternatively if you have time head off on our ‘East As’: 4 day, 3 night unique add-on trip around the East Cape, which takes you to places few tourists get to see.

Rafting in River Valley, New Zealand

Taupo to River Valley
Visit Tongariro National Park, take and enjoy some stunning free walks before arriving at River Valley Adventure Lodge
We head south around the “great lake” towards the Tongariro National Park for a picnic lunch and a two hour walk through native bush and waterfalls. In the afternoon we travel through to the ultimate adventure lodge – River Valley, situated amongst towering cliffs and bush-clad hills. The lodge offers grade five rafting on the Rangitikei River, scenic horse riding, and a small golf course. Spend the evening enjoying the delicious roast dinner and relaxing by the open fire.

 

River Valley to Wellington
New Zealand´s capital city is full of culture, cafes and cable cars!
We head away late after a morning white water rafting or horse riding, and head throughthe rolling hills full of deer, cattle and sheep.   We arrive in Wellington late in the afternoon. This city is the undisputed capital of culture, the arts, restaurants, fashion and nightlife.   It´s home to the largest cultural attraction in New Zealand, Te Papa Museum, which is well worth a look (and it´s free).

 

Wellington to Picton to Kaiteriteri
Travel across the stunning Cook Strait to the seaside town of Picton, then on to Kaiteriteri where the beautiful golden sand beach is practically on your doorstep.
You can choose to take the Interislander ferry across to the South Island, through the magnificent Marlborough Sounds; or arrange a flight. Travel via the Pelorous Bridge to Nelson, New Zealand´s sunniest city, then on to Kaiteriteri at the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park. You can simply wile away the evening on the golden sand beach just metres from your accommodation. Kaiteriteri is a great spot to begin an adventure (on foot, by kayak or by water taxi) into Abel Tasman National Park.

 

Kaiteriteri to Westport
Snow-capped mountains and adventure activities on the Buller River
Spend the morning kayaking out to Split Apple Rock and along the golden bays nearby Kaiteriteri, looking out for the local marine wildlife; or catch a water taxi to a one of the bays in the Abel Tasman National Park to go for a morning stroll in the native New Zealand forest. A late departure from Kaiteriteri will take us to Westport, so you can meet the team from Buller Adventure Tours where you can experience the best value for money jet boating, horse trekking and quad biking in New Zealand.

 

Westport to Lake Mahinapua
Continue down the West Coast via the world famous ´Highway 6´ and be treated to some amazing sights.
Today we cruise down the spectacular Highway 6 that stretches along the rugged Tasman shoreline. The road winds along diverse landscapes, which never cease to amaze both locals and visitors alike. Highlights include the Cape Foulwind seal colony, rugged beach walks and the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks.   Tonight your Driver Guide will arrange a group meal for you at the Mahinapua Hotel, known as the legendary “Poo Pub”.   It´s an awesome evening of fancy dress and a good way to get to know your fellow travellers.

 

Lake Mahinapua to Franz Josef
Incredible views of glaciers towering over subtropical rainforests.
Our first stop this morning is the Bushman´s Centre, where you will get an insight into how people make a living on the coast with helicopter deer recovery, old timber-milling techniques and possum trapping.   We then head through to the Franz Josef Glacier Village, nestled in the Westland National Park.

 

Franz Josef (Extra Day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Franz Josef because there´s so much to do there. If you´re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.

Today is your chance to hike on the Franz Josef Glacier, rated as one of the top three activities to do in New Zealand, by Kiwi Experience passengers.   You could also take the option of a heli-hike, and be flown up the glacier, or take a more sedate approach and explore the various walks in the area.

 

Franz Josef to Wanaka
Take the time to chill out by Lake Wanaka.
We start out early in order to catch the perfect mirror reflection of Mt Cook and the Southern Alps on Lake Matheson. We then cruise down the last stretch of Highway 6, stopping at popular scenic spots along the way. Then it´s into Mount Aspiring National Park, arriving in the awe-inspiring destination of Wanaka in the afternoon.

 

Wanaka to Queenstown
Adventure capital of New Zealand:and the world!
It´s only a short drive today through to New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown. Highlights include Puzzling World, the option to do skydiving (not included but totally worth it!) over Lake Wanaka and stopping at the world´s first commercial bungy site – the Kawarau Bridge. On arrival in Queenstown you can book all activities and confirm onward bus travel at Base, as well as get a group photo with all your new West Coast mates.   Then it´s out on the town exploring Queenstown´s infamous nightlife with all the crew!

 

Queenstown (Extra Day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Queenstown because there´s so much to do there. If you´re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.
Queenstown is rated as one of our passenger´s favourite spots to hang out in New Zealand.   Take the time to spend a few days here as it is one of the most picturesque places in the world. Make the most of the beautiful lake and surrounding walks, or get into a whole range of adrenalin pumping activities. If there was one activity that you couldn´t miss it would be the day trip to Milford Sound, commonly referred to as New Zealand´s most beautiful spot!

 

Queenstown to Christchurch
Head to the ´garden city´, with optional drop off points for Mt Cook and rafting in Rangitata
We head out of Queenstown, through the Lindis Pass, so get your cameras ready because this is ´Lord of the Rings´ territory. After dropping people in Twizel for the connection to Mt Cook, we travel through to the amazing aqua blue Lake Pukaki, with a stunning view of Mt Cook.     We stop for lunch beside Lake Tekapo and the picturesque Church of the Good Shepherd. From there we have a straight run into Christchurch arriving late afternoon.

Christchurch to Kaikoura

Kaikoura is known as one of the best coastal wildlife regions in the world – whales, dolphins and seals!
Departing Christchurch bright and early, we arrive at Kaikoura in time for you to check out what Kaikoura is most famous for its whale watching, or swimming with the dolphins or the seals. Spend the evening chilling on the beach or sampling some of the best seafood New Zealand has to offer for your dinner. In fact, the name Kaikoura means to eat Crayfish

 

Kaikoura to Wellington (via Picton)
Check out seal colonies and drive along the amazing Kaikoura coastline
We head north and take in the last of the dramatic Kaikoura coastline. It´s a spectacular drive voted New Zealand´s best and we stop for a close look at the seals that lay about on the rocks all day long. We make our way to the Picton ferry terminal in time to catch the afternoon sailing to the North Island. Say farewell to the South Island (Te Wai Pounamu) and we´re on our way! The ferry ride takes a few hours so chill out and enjoy the view of the amazing Marlborough Sounds!

 

Wellington to Taupo
The Rangitikei region has beautiful rivers and lakes as well as Lord of the Rings landscapes!
We´ve got quite a distance to cover today, so we leave early from Wellington to beat the rush hour traffic.   We pass through Taihape, where we drop off and pick up people for River Valley Adventure lodge. Departing Taihape we head to the Central Plateau, home of the Tongariro National Park, where we can drop you off in the township of Turangi if you wish to access it.   Then it´s through to Taupo and if the weather suits, it´s time to skydive!

 

Taupo to Auckland (via Rotorua)
Hop-off in Rotorua, or head onwards to the ´City of Sails´.
This morning we head north to Rotorua, renowned for its Maori heritage and thermal activity in the area. After dropping off passengers in Rotorua, who are spending a night or two here, we make our way to Matamata (aka Hobbiton).   You can jump off here if you´re a Lord of the Rings nut.   Then it´s onwards through the rolling countryside to Auckland, otherwise known as the ´City of Sails´. We call into the Kiwi Experience office for a chance to purchase merchandise, confirm future bookings or extend your trip even further!

Great for those that wanna get to  the deep south and stuck into the real New Zealand

The whole kit and caboodle

The Whole Kit & Caboodle is a bus pass for those that want to see it all! This pass will take you right up to Cape Reinga and all the way down to Invercargill, including stops at all of the great adventure tourism activities in between; including a free Milford Sound cruise. Like the other NZ start anywhere passes it also includes Unlimited travel so you can just keep on going with no additional cost!

 

Auckland to Paihia (Bay Of Islands)
Take a trip to the winterless north and pack as much as you can into a weekend!
We arrive in the Bay of Islands around midday and check out the sights surrounding Paihia, including the historical location of Waitangi. Northland is rich in history and Maori culture and with its clear water, huge kauri forests, and 144 islands to explore you will soon see why Kiwi Experience heads up north. Swim with the dolphins, experience the Excitor Fast Boat, ride out to the famous hole in the rock, or go kayaking, sailing, fishing, diving, snorkelling, or just relax on the beach!
Paihia to Cape Reinga to Paihia
Don´t miss this awesome day trip to the very top of New Zealand.
Roll yourself out of bed and be prepared for an action packed day up to Cape Reinga. This area is sacred to the Maori people and the day trip to Cape Reinga is a MUST DO. The day is full of walks and free activities. Drive along 90 Mile Beach, see huge kauri trees, body board down the gigantic sand dunes, view the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean clashing, gather shellfish on the beach, and experience one of New Zealand´s best fish ´n´ chip shops!
Paihia to Auckland
Squeeze in those activities you haven´t completed yet before heading back to Auckland
Departing late afternoon, you have the best part of the day to experience one of the many activities on offer in the Bay, or simply chill on the beach with a good book. The drive back to the “big smoke”, which us Kiwis affectionately call Auckland, is relaxed and we have you back in the city in time to find some dinner and hit the town.
Auckland to Hot Water Beach
Spend the afternoon walking or kayaking to Cathedral Cove, or take a surfing lesson at Hot Water Beach!
After visiting the Kiwi Experience office we head towards the Coromandel Peninsula and spend the afternoon at Cathedral Cove; accessible only on foot or by kayak. This beautiful coastal spot is great for swimming, sea kayaking, and spotting dolphins if you´re lucky. We then carry on to Hot Water Beach (rated one of the top ten beaches in the world by Lonely Planet) where you can take a surfing lesson and head out with your shovel at low tide to dig your own hot pool in the sand.
Hot Water Beach to Waitomo
Check out New Zealand´s gold mining history before travelling on to experience the glow-worms, underwater caves and forest walks of Waitomo.
After an early start our first stop is the Karangahake Scenic Reserve to explore a native bush-clad gorge, swing bridges and a bit of New Zealand´s gold mining history. Next it´s onto Waitomo (wai meaning water, tomo meaning cave) where you will get the chance to see glow-worms, stalactites, cave coral, fossilized oysters and other crazy stuff in the limestone caves formed from 40 million year old dead fish.
Waitomo to Rotorua
Last chance to explore Waitomo before heading to Rotorua, the Maori culture capital of New Zealand.
We start the day with a walk through the Ruakuri Reserve and a breakfast stop at the Long Black Café before heading through to Rotorua. In the afternoon you´ll have a chance to go along to a farm show, go Zorbing, luging, and try out a crazy activity or two at Agroventures. In the evening you can experience a traditional Maori hangi (feast) and concert with Tamaki Tours a night not to be missed!
Rotorua to Taupo
A popular backpacker destination, with New Zealand´s biggest lake and plenty to keep you occupied!
The first activity of the day is exploring the geothermal reserve of Te Puia, with New Zealand´s largest geyser and a chance to see a real live Kiwi bird. The afternoon journey to Taupo includes stop offs to explore the area´s lakes and Taupo´s famous Huka Falls. Taupo is rightly known as the adventure capital of the North Island with optional activities on offer such as skydiving, bungy jumping, jet boating, the Volcanic Centre and the spectacular Tongariro Crossing!
Taupo (extra day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Taupo because there´s so much to do there. If you´re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.
Enjoy a sleep-in (for those not doing the Tongariro Crossing) and experience one of the many activities on offer. A walk down to Spa Park to relax in the natural hot springs by the river is a great way to spend the day (or night). Alternatively if you have time head off on our ‘East As’: 4 day, 3 night unique add-on trip around the East Cape, which takes you to places few tourists get to see.
Taupo to River Valley
Visit Tongariro National Park, take and enjoy some stunning free walks before arriving at River Valley Adventure Lodge
We head south around the “great lake” towards the Tongariro National Park for a picnic lunch and a two hour walk through native bush and waterfalls. In the afternoon we travel through to the ultimate adventure lodge – River Valley, situated amongst towering cliffs and bush-clad hills. The lodge offers grade five rafting on the Rangitikei River, scenic horse riding, and a small golf course. Spend the evening enjoying the delicious roast dinner and relaxing by the open fire.
River Valley to Wellington
New Zealand´s capital city is full of culture, cafes and cable cars!
We head away late after a morning white water rafting or horse riding, and head throughthe rolling hills full of deer, cattle and sheep. We arrive in Wellington late in the afternoon. This city is the undisputed capital of culture, the arts, restaurants, fashion and nightlife. It´s home to the largest cultural attraction in New Zealand, Te Papa Museum, which is well worth a look (and it´s free).
Wellington to Picton to Kaiteriteri
Travel across the stunning Cook Strait to the seaside town of Picton, then on to Kaiteriteri where the beautiful golden sand beach is practically on your doorstep.
You can choose to take the Interislander ferry across to the South Island, through the magnificent Marlborough Sounds; or arrange a flight. Travel via the Pelorous Bridge to Nelson, New Zealand´s sunniest city, then on to Kaiteriteri at the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park. You can simply wile away the evening on the golden sand beach just metres from your accommodation. Kaiteriteri is a great spot to begin an adventure (on foot, by kayak or by water taxi) into Abel Tasman National Park.
Kaiteriteri to Westport
Snow-capped mountains and adventure activities on the Buller River
Spend the morning kayaking out to Split Apple Rock and along the golden bays nearby Kaiteriteri, looking out for the local marine wildlife; or catch a water taxi to a one of the bays in the Abel Tasman National Park to go for a morning stroll in the native New Zealand forest. A late departure from Kaiteriteri will take us to Westport, so you can meet the team from Buller Adventure Tours where you can experience the best value for money jet boating, horse trekking and quad biking in New Zealand.
Westport to Lake Mahinapua
Continue down the West Coast via the world famous ´Highway 6´ and be treated to some amazing sights.
Today we cruise down the spectacular Highway 6 that stretches along the rugged Tasman shoreline. The road winds along diverse landscapes, which never cease to amaze both locals and visitors alike. Highlights include the Cape Foulwind seal colony, rugged beach walks and the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. Tonight your Driver Guide will arrange a group meal for you at the Mahinapua Hotel, known as the legendary “Poo Pub”. It´s an awesome evening of fancy dress and a good way to get to know your fellow travellers.
Lake Mahinapua to Franz Josef
Incredible views of glaciers towering over subtropical rainforests.
Our first stop this morning is the Bushman´s Centre, where you will get an insight into how people make a living on the coast with helicopter deer recovery, old timber-milling techniques and possum trapping. We then head through to the Franz Josef Glacier Village, nestled in the Westland National Park.
Franz Josef (Extra Day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Franz Josef because there´s so much to do there. If you´re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.

Today is your chance to hike on the Franz Josef Glacier, rated as one of the top three activities to do in New Zealand, by Kiwi Experience passengers. You could also take the option of a heli-hike, and be flown up the glacier, or take a more sedate approach and explore the various walks in the area.
Franz Josef to Wanaka
Take the time to chill out by Lake Wanaka.
We start out early in order to catch the perfect mirror reflection of Mt Cook and the Southern Alps on Lake Matheson. We then cruise down the last stretch of Highway 6, stopping at popular scenic spots along the way. Then it´s into Mount Aspiring National Park, arriving in the awe-inspiring destination of Wanaka in the afternoon.
Wanaka to Queenstown
Adventure capital of New Zealand:and the world!
It´s only a short drive today through to New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown. Highlights include Puzzling World, skydiving over Lake Wanaka and stopping at the world´s first commercial bungy site – the Kawarau Bridge. On arrival in Queenstown you can book all activities and confirm onward bus travel at Base, as well as get a group photo with all your new West Coast mates. Then it´s out on the town exploring Queenstown´s infamous nightlife with all the crew!
Queenstown (Extra Day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Queenstown because there´s so much to do there. If you´re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.
Queenstown is rated as one of our passenger´s favourite spots to hang out in New Zealand. Take the time to spend a few days here as it is one of the most picturesque places in the world. Make the most of the beautiful lake and surrounding walks, or get into a whole range of adrenalin pumping activities. If there was one activity that you couldn´t miss it would be the day trip to Milford Sound, commonly referred to as New Zealand´s most beautiful spot!
Queenstown to Dunedin (Bottom Bus Day 1)
We head towards the east coast via the massive Clyde Hydro Dam and the Central Otago fruit growing basin. Dunedin is famous for its student activity, being home to 20,000 plus students at Otago University, the city is also well known for its Scottish heritage. On arrival we do a city tour including a visit to Baldwin Street, the world’s steepest street and in the evening there is an option to visit another icon of Dunedin, the Speights Brewery with one of their tours and tastings!
Dunedin to Invercargill (Bottom Bus Day 2)
The Catlins is probably as far south as you may ever go. Travel through awesome native forest, sandy beaches and see rare wildlife. The might of the New Zealand sea-lion (New Zealand´s largest native mammal) is a real highlight as are the many short walks to the Catlins natural attractions, which includes a 180 million year-old fossilised forest (where you are also likely to see Yellow-eyed penguins returning from a hard days fishing). The night is spent in Invercargill, home of the world´s fastest Indian and Henry the tuatara!
Here you have the choice to hop over to Stewart Island it´s definitely worth the visit, an island paradise with a kiwi (bird) population 100 times that of the kiwi (human) one.
Invercargill to Milford Sound to Queenstown (Bottom Bus Day 3)
Travel through to Milford Sound checking out the most amazing scenery in New Zealand along the way. The day includes a two hour boat cruise through the sound exploring soaring peaks, towering waterfalls and New Zealand nature at its best. See the Homer Tunnel, gigantic waterfalls and amazing fiords. See the Homer Tunnel, gigantic waterfalls and amazing fiords. If you have the time jump off in Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park and home to a stunning lake, and/or in Milford Sound to spend a night or two. Provided the weather and bank balance permits you have the option of flying back to Queenstown, otherwise the Kiwi Experience bus will take you back to the adventure capital.
Queenstown to Christchurch
Head to the ´garden city´, with optional drop off points for Mt Cook and rafting in Rangitata
We head out of Queenstown, through the Lindis Pass, so get your cameras ready because this is ´Lord of the Rings´ territory. After dropping people in Twizel for the connection to Mt Cook, we travel through to the amazing aqua blue Lake Pukaki, with a stunning view of Mt Cook. We stop for lunch beside Lake Tekapo and the picturesque Church of the Good Shepherd. From there we have a straight run into Christchurch arriving late afternoon.
Christchurch to Kaikoura
Kaikoura is known as one of the best coastal wildlife regions in the world – whales, dolphins and seals!
Departing Christchurch bright and early, we arrive at Kaikoura in time for you to check out what Kaikoura is most famous for its whale watching, or swimming with the dolphins or the seals. Spend the evening chilling on the beach or sampling some of the best seafood New Zealand has to offer for your dinner. In fact, the name Kaikoura means to eat Crayfish (“kai” meaning to eat, “koura” meaning crayfish).
Kaikoura to Wellington (via Picton)
Check out seal colonies and drive along the amazing Kaikoura coastline
We head north and take in the last of the dramatic Kaikoura coastline. It´s a spectacular drive voted New Zealand´s best and we stop for a close look at the seals that lay about on the rocks all day long. We make our way to the Picton ferry terminal in time to catch the afternoon sailing to the North Island. Say farewell to the South Island (Te Wai Pounamu) and we´re on our way! The ferry ride takes a few hours so chill out and enjoy the view of the amazing Marlborough Sounds!
Wellington to Taupo
The Rangitikei region has beautiful rivers and lakes as well as Lord of the Rings landscapes!
We´ve got quite a distance to cover today, so we leave early from Wellington to beat the rush hour traffic. We pass through Taihape, where we drop off and pick up people for River Valley Adventure lodge. Departing Taihape we head to the Central Plateau, home of the Tongariro National Park, where we can drop you off in the township of Turangi if you wish to access it. Then it´s through to Taupo and if the weather suits, it´s time to skydive!
Taupo to Auckland (via Rotorua)
Hop-off in Rotorua, or head onwards to the ´City of Sails´.
This morning we head north to Rotorua, renowned for its Maori heritage and thermal activity in the area. After dropping off passengers in Rotorua, who are spending a night or two here, we make our way to Matamata (aka Hobbiton). You can jump off here if you´re a Lord of the Rings nut. Then it´s onwards through the rolling countryside to Auckland, otherwise known as the ´City of Sails´. We call into the Kiwi Experience office for a chance to purchase merchandise, confirm future bookings or extend your trip even further!

Detailed itinerary

 

Auckland to Hot Water Beach
Spend the afternoon walking or kayaking to Cathedral Cove, or take a surfing lesson at Hot Water Beach!
After visiting the Kiwi Experience office we head towards the Coromandel Peninsula and spend the afternoon at Cathedral Cove; accessible only on foot or by kayak. This beautiful coastal spot is great for swimming, sea kayaking, and spotting dolphins if you´re lucky. We then carry on to Hot Water Beach (rated one of the top ten beaches in the world by Lonely Planet) where you can take a surfing lesson and head out with your shovel at low tide to dig your own hot pool in the sand.
Hot Water Beach to Waitomo
Check out New Zealand´s gold mining history before travelling on to experience the glow-worms, underwater caves and forest walks of Waitomo.
After an early start our first stop is the Karangahake Scenic Reserve to explore a native bush-clad gorge, swing bridges and a bit of New Zealand´s gold mining history. Next it´s onto Waitomo (wai meaning water, tomo meaning cave) where you will get the chance to see glow-worms, stalactites, cave coral, fossilized oysters and other crazy stuff in the limestone caves formed from 40 million year old dead fish.
Waitomo to Rotorua
Last chance to explore Waitomo before heading to Rotorua, the Maori culture capital of New Zealand.
We start the day with a walk through the Ruakuri Reserve and a breakfast stop at the Long Black Café before heading through to Rotorua. In the afternoon you´ll have a chance to go along to a farm show, go Zorbing, luging, and try out a crazy activity or two at Agroventures. In the evening you can experience a traditional Maori hangi (feast) and concert with Tamaki Tours a night not to be missed!
Rotorua to Taupo
A popular backpacker destination, with New Zealand´s biggest lake and plenty to keep you occupied!
The first activity of the day is exploring the geothermal reserve of Te Puia, with New Zealand´s largest geyser and a chance to see a real live Kiwi bird. The afternoon journey to Taupo includes stop offs to explore the area´s lakes and Taupo´s famous Huka Falls. Taupo is rightly known as the adventure capital of the North Island with optional activities on offer such as skydiving, bungy jumping, jet boating, the Volcanic Centre and the spectacular Tongariro Crossing!
Taupo (extra day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Taupo because there´s so much to do there. If you´re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.
Enjoy a sleep-in (for those not doing the Tongariro Crossing) and experience one of the many activities on offer. A walk down to Spa Park to relax in the natural hot springs by the river is a great way to spend the day (or night). Alternatively if you have time head off on our ‘East As’: 4 day, 3 night unique add-on trip around the East Cape, which takes you to places few tourists get to see.
Taupo to River Valley
Visit Tongariro National Park, take and enjoy some stunning free walks before arriving at River Valley Adventure Lodge
We head south around the “great lake” towards the Tongariro National Park for a picnic lunch and a two hour walk through native bush and waterfalls. In the afternoon we travel through to the ultimate adventure lodge – River Valley, situated amongst towering cliffs and bush-clad hills. The lodge offers grade five rafting on the Rangitikei River, scenic horse riding, and a small golf course. Spend the evening enjoying the delicious roast dinner and relaxing by the open fire.

 
River Valley to Wellington
New Zealand´s capital city is full of culture, cafes and cable cars!
We head away late after a morning white water rafting or horse riding, and head throughthe rolling hills full of deer, cattle and sheep. We arrive in Wellington late in the afternoon. This city is the undisputed capital of culture, the arts, restaurants, fashion and nightlife. It´s home to the largest cultural attraction in New Zealand, Te Papa Museum, which is well worth a look (and it´s free).
Wellington to Picton to Kaiteriteri
Travel across the stunning Cook Strait to the seaside town of Picton, then on to Kaiteriteri where the beautiful golden sand beach is practically on your doorstep.
You can choose to take the Interislander ferry across to the South Island, through the magnificent Marlborough Sounds; or arrange a flight. Travel via the Pelorous Bridge to Nelson, New Zealand´s sunniest city, then on to Kaiteriteri at the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park. You can simply wile away the evening on the golden sand beach just metres from your accommodation. Kaiteriteri is a great spot to begin an adventure (on foot, by kayak or by water taxi) into Abel Tasman National Park.

 
Kaiteriteri to Westport
Snow-capped mountains and adventure activities on the Buller River
Spend the morning kayaking out to Split Apple Rock and along the golden bays nearby Kaiteriteri, looking out for the local marine wildlife; or catch a water taxi to a one of the bays in the Abel Tasman National Park to go for a morning stroll in the native New Zealand forest. A late departure from Kaiteriteri will take us to Westport, so you can meet the team from Buller Adventure Tours where you can experience the best value for money jet boating, horse trekking and quad biking in New Zealand.
Westport to Lake Mahinapua
Continue down the West Coast via the world famous ´Highway 6´ and be treated to some amazing sights.
Today we cruise down the spectacular Highway 6 that stretches along the rugged Tasman shoreline. The road winds along diverse landscapes, which never cease to amaze both locals and visitors alike. Highlights include the Cape Foulwind seal colony, rugged beach walks and the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. Tonight your Driver Guide will arrange a group meal for you at the Mahinapua Hotel, known as the legendary “Poo Pub”. It´s an awesome evening of fancy dress and a good way to get to know your fellow travellers.
Lake Mahinapua to Franz Josef
Incredible views of glaciers towering over subtropical rainforests.
Our first stop this morning is the Bushman´s Centre, where you will get an insight into how people make a living on the coast with helicopter deer recovery, old timber-milling techniques and possum trapping. We then head through to the Franz Josef Glacier Village, nestled in the Westland National Park.
Franz Josef (Extra Day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Franz Josef because there´s so much to do there. If you´re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.

Today is your chance to hike on the Franz Josef Glacier, rated as one of the top three activities to do in New Zealand, by Kiwi Experience passengers. You could also take the option of a heli-hike, and be flown up the glacier, or take a more sedate approach and explore the various walks in the area.
Franz Josef to Wanaka
Take the time to chill out by Lake Wanaka.
We start out early in order to catch the perfect mirror reflection of Mt Cook and the Southern Alps on Lake Matheson. We then cruise down the last stretch of Highway 6, stopping at popular scenic spots along the way. Then it´s into Mount Aspiring National Park, arriving in the awe-inspiring destination of Wanaka in the afternoon.

 
Wanaka to Queenstown
Adventure capital of New Zealand:and the world!
It´s only a short drive today through to New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown. Highlights include Puzzling World, skydiving over Lake Wanaka and stopping at the world´s first commercial bungy site – the Kawarau Bridge. On arrival in Queenstown you can book all activities and confirm onward bus travel at Base, as well as get a group photo with all your new West Coast mates. Then it´s out on the town exploring Queenstown´s infamous nightlife with all the crew!
Queenstown (Extra Day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Queenstown because there´s so much to do there. If you´re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.
Queenstown is rated as one of our passenger´s favourite spots to hang out in New Zealand. Take the time to spend a few days here as it is one of the most picturesque places in the world. Make the most of the beautiful lake and surrounding walks, or get into a whole range of adrenalin pumping activities. If there was one activity that you couldn´t miss it would be the day trip to Milford Sound, commonly referred to as New Zealand´s most beautiful spot!
Queenstown to Christchurch
Head to the ´garden city´, with optional drop off points for Mt Cook and rafting in Rangitata
We head out of Queenstown, through the Lindis Pass, so get your cameras ready because this is ´Lord of the Rings´ territory. After dropping people in Twizel for the connection to Mt Cook, we travel through to the amazing aqua blue Lake Pukaki, with a stunning view of Mt Cook. We stop for lunch beside Lake Tekapo and the picturesque Church of the Good Shepherd. From there we have a straight run into Christchurch arriving late afternoon.
Christchurch to Kaikoura
Kaikoura is known as one of the best coastal wildlife regions in the world – whales, dolphins and seals!
Departing Christchurch bright and early, we arrive at Kaikoura in time for you to check out what Kaikoura is most famous for its whale watching, or swimming with the dolphins or the seals. Spend the evening chilling on the beach or sampling some of the best seafood New Zealand has to offer for your dinner. In fact, the name Kaikoura means to eat Crayfish (“kai” meaning to eat, “koura” meaning crayfish).

 
Kaikoura to Wellington (via Picton)
Check out seal colonies and drive along the amazing Kaikoura coastline
We head north and take in the last of the dramatic Kaikoura coastline. It´s a spectacular drive voted New Zealand´s best and we stop for a close look at the seals that lay about on the rocks all day long. We make our way to the Picton ferry terminal in time to catch the afternoon sailing to the North Island. Say farewell to the South Island (Te Wai Pounamu) and we´re on our way! The ferry ride takes a few hours so chill out and enjoy the view of the amazing Marlborough Sounds!
Wellington to Taupo
The Rangitikei region has beautiful rivers and lakes as well as Lord of the Rings landscapes!
We´ve got quite a distance to cover today, so we leave early from Wellington to beat the rush hour traffic. We pass through Taihape, where we drop off and pick up people for River Valley Adventure lodge. Departing Taihape we head to the Central Plateau, home of the Tongariro National Park, where we can drop you off in the township of Turangi if you wish to access it. Then it´s through to Taupo and if the weather suits, it´s time to skydive!
Taupo to Auckland (via Rotorua)
Hop-off in Rotorua, or head onwards to the ´City of Sails´.
This morning we head north to Rotorua, renowned for its Maori heritage and thermal activity in the area. After dropping off passengers in Rotorua, who are spending a night or two here, we make our way to Matamata (aka Hobbiton). You can jump off here if you´re a Lord of the Rings nut. Then it´s onwards through the rolling countryside to Auckland, otherwise known as the ´City of Sails´. We call into the Kiwi Experience office for a chance to purchase merchandise, confirm future bookings or extend your trip even further!

 
Queenstown to Dunedin (Bottom Bus Day 1)
We head towards the east coast via the massive Clyde Hydro Dam and the Central Otago fruit growing basin. Dunedin is famous for its student activity, being home to 20,000 plus students at Otago University, the city is also well known for its Scottish heritage. On arrival we do a city tour including a visit to Baldwin Street, the world’s steepest street and in the evening there is an option to visit another icon of Dunedin, the Speights Brewery with one of their tours and tastings!
Dunedin to Invercargill (Bottom Bus Day 2)
The Catlins is probably as far south as you may ever go. Travel through awesome native forest, sandy beaches and see rare wildlife. The might of the New Zealand sea-lion (New Zealand´s largest native mammal) is a real highlight as are the many short walks to the Catlins natural attractions, which includes a 180 million year-old fossilised forest (where you are also likely to see Yellow-eyed penguins returning from a hard days fishing). The night is spent in Invercargill, home of the world´s fastest Indian and Henry the tuatara!
Here you have the choice to hop over to Stewart Island it´s definitely worth the visit, an island paradise with a kiwi (bird) population 100 times that of the kiwi (human) one.
Invercargill to Milford Sound to Queenstown (Bottom Bus Day 3)
Travel through to Milford Sound checking out the most amazing scenery in New Zealand along the way. The day includes a two hour boat cruise through the sound exploring soaring peaks, towering waterfalls and New Zealand nature at its best. See the Homer Tunnel, gigantic waterfalls and amazing fiords. See the Homer Tunnel, gigantic waterfalls and amazing fiords. If you have the time jump off in Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park and home to a stunning lake, and/or in Milford Sound to spend a night or two. Provided the weather and bank balance permits you have the option of flying back to Queenstown, otherwise the Kiwi Experience bus will take you back to the adventure capital.

Rangi Pass

The Rangi is the Funky Chicken pass + Awesome bus pass. It takes you around heaps of New Zealand´s big highlights and also up north to the spectacular Bay of Islands. If you start in Auckland you´ll have the choice of doing the Bay of Islands first or adding it on at the end or your trip (most do it first). You can start anywhere you like and end up where you began, or use our Unlimited Travel offer to repeat some sectors again for free!

Detailed itinerary

Auckland to Paihia (Bay Of Islands)
Take a trip to the winterless north and pack as much as you can into a weekend!
We arrive in the Bay of Islands around midday and check out the sights surrounding Paihia, including the historical location of Waitangi. Northland is rich in history and Maori culture and with its clear water, huge kauri forests, and 144 islands to explore you will soon see why Kiwi Experience heads up north. Swim with the dolphins, experience the Excitor Fast Boat, ride out to the famous hole in the rock, or go kayaking, sailing, fishing, diving, snorkelling, or just relax on the beach!
Paihia to Auckland
Squeeze in those activities you haven´t completed yet before heading back to Auckland
Departing late afternoon, you have the best part of the day to experience one of the many activities on offer in the Bay, or simply chill on the beach with a good book. The drive back to the “big smoke”, which us Kiwis affectionately call Auckland, is relaxed and we have you back in the city in time to find some dinner and hit the town.
Auckland to Hot Water Beach
Spend the afternoon walking or kayaking to Cathedral Cove, or take a surfing lesson at Hot Water Beach!
After visiting the Kiwi Experience office we head towards the Coromandel Peninsula and spend the afternoon at Cathedral Cove; accessible only on foot or by kayak. This beautiful coastal spot is great for swimming, sea kayaking, and spotting dolphins if you´re lucky. We then carry on to Hot Water Beach (rated one of the top ten beaches in the world by Lonely Planet) where you can take a surfing lesson and head out with your shovel at low tide to dig your own hot pool in the sand.

 
Hot Water Beach to Waitomo
Check out New Zealand´s gold mining history before travelling on to experience the glow-worms, underwater caves and forest walks of Waitomo.
After an early start our first stop is the Karangahake Scenic Reserve to explore a native bush-clad gorge, swing bridges and a bit of New Zealand´s gold mining history. Next it´s onto Waitomo (wai meaning water, tomo meaning cave) where you will get the chance to see glow-worms, stalactites, cave coral, fossilized oysters and other crazy stuff in the limestone caves formed from 40 million year old dead fish.
Waitomo to Rotorua
Last chance to explore Waitomo before heading to Rotorua, the Maori culture capital of New Zealand.
We start the day with a walk through the Ruakuri Reserve and a breakfast stop at the Long Black Café before heading through to Rotorua. In the afternoon you´ll have a chance to go along to a farm show, go Zorbing, luging, and try out a crazy activity or two at Agroventures. In the evening you can experience a traditional Maori hangi (feast) and concert with Tamaki Tours a night not to be missed!
Rotorua to Taupo
A popular backpacker destination, with New Zealand´s biggest lake and plenty to keep you occupied!
The first activity of the day is exploring the geothermal reserve of Te Puia, with New Zealand´s largest geyser and a chance to see a real live Kiwi bird. The afternoon journey to Taupo includes stop offs to explore the area´s lakes and Taupo´s famous Huka Falls. Taupo is rightly known as the adventure capital of the North Island with optional activities on offer such as skydiving, bungy jumping, jet boating, the Volcanic Centre and the spectacular Tongariro Crossing!

 
Taupo (extra day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Taupo because there´s so much to do there. If you´re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.
Enjoy a sleep-in (for those not doing the Tongariro Crossing) and experience one of the many activities on offer. A walk down to Spa Park to relax in the natural hot springs by the river is a great way to spend the day (or night). Alternatively if you have time head off on our ‘East As’: 4 day, 3 night unique add-on trip around the East Cape, which takes you to places few tourists get to see.
Taupo to River Valley
Visit Tongariro National Park, take and enjoy some stunning free walks before arriving at River Valley Adventure Lodge
We head south around the “great lake” towards the Tongariro National Park for a picnic lunch and a two hour walk through native bush and waterfalls. In the afternoon we travel through to the ultimate adventure lodge – River Valley, situated amongst towering cliffs and bush-clad hills. The lodge offers grade five rafting on the Rangitikei River, scenic horse riding, and a small golf course. Spend the evening enjoying the delicious roast dinner and relaxing by the open fire.

 
River Valley to Wellington
New Zealand´s capital city is full of culture, cafes and cable cars!
We head away late after a morning white water rafting or horse riding, and head throughthe rolling hills full of deer, cattle and sheep. We arrive in Wellington late in the afternoon. This city is the undisputed capital of culture, the arts, restaurants, fashion and nightlife. It´s home to the largest cultural attraction in New Zealand, Te Papa Museum, which is well worth a look (and it´s free).
Wellington to Picton to Kaiteriteri
Travel across the stunning Cook Strait to the seaside town of Picton, then on to Kaiteriteri where the beautiful golden sand beach is practically on your doorstep.
You can choose to take the Interislander ferry across to the South Island, through the magnificent Marlborough Sounds; or arrange a flight. Travel via the Pelorous Bridge to Nelson, New Zealand´s sunniest city, then on to Kaiteriteri at the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park. You can simply wile away the evening on the golden sand beach just metres from your accommodation. Kaiteriteri is a great spot to begin an adventure (on foot, by kayak or by water taxi) into Abel Tasman National Park.

 
Kaiteriteri to Westport
Snow-capped mountains and adventure activities on the Buller River
Spend the morning kayaking out to Split Apple Rock and along the golden bays nearby Kaiteriteri, looking out for the local marine wildlife; or catch a water taxi to a one of the bays in the Abel Tasman National Park to go for a morning stroll in the native New Zealand forest. A late departure from Kaiteriteri will take us to Westport, so you can meet the team from Buller Adventure Tours where you can experience the best value for money jet boating, horse trekking and quad biking in New Zealand.
Westport to Lake Mahinapua
Continue down the West Coast via the world famous ´Highway 6´ and be treated to some amazing sights.
Today we cruise down the spectacular Highway 6 that stretches along the rugged Tasman shoreline. The road winds along diverse landscapes, which never cease to amaze both locals and visitors alike. Highlights include the Cape Foulwind seal colony, rugged beach walks and the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. Tonight your Driver Guide will arrange a group meal for you at the Mahinapua Hotel, known as the legendary “Poo Pub”. It´s an awesome evening of fancy dress and a good way to get to know your fellow travellers.
Lake Mahinapua to Franz Josef
Incredible views of glaciers towering over subtropical rainforests.
Our first stop this morning is the Bushman´s Centre, where you will get an insight into how people make a living on the coast with helicopter deer recovery, old timber-milling techniques and possum trapping. We then head through to the Franz Josef Glacier Village, nestled in the Westland National Park.
Franz Josef (Extra Day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Franz Josef because there´s so much to do there. If you´re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.

Today is your chance to hike on the Franz Josef Glacier, rated as one of the top three activities to do in New Zealand, by Kiwi Experience passengers. You could also take the option of a heli-hike, and be flown up the glacier, or take a more sedate approach and explore the various walks in the area.
Franz Josef to Wanaka
Take the time to chill out by Lake Wanaka.
We start out early in order to catch the perfect mirror reflection of Mt Cook and the Southern Alps on Lake Matheson. We then cruise down the last stretch of Highway 6, stopping at popular scenic spots along the way. Then it´s into Mount Aspiring National Park, arriving in the awe-inspiring destination of Wanaka in the afternoon.
Wanaka to Queenstown
Adventure capital of New Zealand:and the world!
It´s only a short drive today through to New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown. Highlights include Puzzling World, skydiving over Lake Wanaka and stopping at the world´s first commercial bungy site – the Kawarau Bridge. On arrival in Queenstown you can book all activities and confirm onward bus travel at Base, as well as get a group photo with all your new West Coast mates. Then it´s out on the town exploring Queenstown´s infamous nightlife with all the crew!
Queenstown (Extra Day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Queenstown because there´s so much to do there. If you´re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.
Queenstown is rated as one of our passenger´s favourite spots to hang out in New Zealand. Take the time to spend a few days here as it is one of the most picturesque places in the world. Make the most of the beautiful lake and surrounding walks, or get into a whole range of adrenalin pumping activities. If there was one activity that you couldn´t miss it would be the day trip to Milford Sound, commonly referred to as New Zealand´s most beautiful spot!
Queenstown to Christchurch
Head to the ´garden city´, with optional drop off points for Mt Cook and rafting in Rangitata
We head out of Queenstown, through the Lindis Pass, so get your cameras ready because this is ´Lord of the Rings´ territory. After dropping people in Twizel for the connection to Mt Cook, we travel through to the amazing aqua blue Lake Pukaki, with a stunning view of Mt Cook. We stop for lunch beside Lake Tekapo and the picturesque Church of the Good Shepherd. From there we have a straight run into Christchurch arriving late afternoon.
Christchurch to Kaikoura
Kaikoura is known as one of the best coastal wildlife regions in the world – whales, dolphins and seals!
Departing Christchurch bright and early, we arrive at Kaikoura in time for you to check out what Kaikoura is most famous for its whale watching, or swimming with the dolphins or the seals. Spend the evening chilling on the beach or sampling some of the best seafood New Zealand has to offer for your dinner. In fact, the name Kaikoura means to eat Crayfish (“kai” meaning to eat, “koura” meaning crayfish).
Kaikoura to Wellington (via Picton)
Check out seal colonies and drive along the amazing Kaikoura coastline
We head north and take in the last of the dramatic Kaikoura coastline. It´s a spectacular drive voted New Zealand´s best and we stop for a close look at the seals that lay about on the rocks all day long. We make our way to the Picton ferry terminal in time to catch the afternoon sailing to the North Island. Say farewell to the South Island (Te Wai Pounamu) and we´re on our way! The ferry ride takes a few hours so chill out and enjoy the view of the amazing Marlborough Sounds!

Wellington to Taupo
The Rangitikei region has beautiful rivers and lakes as well as Lord of the Rings landscapes!
We´ve got quite a distance to cover today, so we leave early from Wellington to beat the rush hour traffic. We pass through Taihape, where we drop off and pick up people for River Valley Adventure lodge. Departing Taihape we head to the Central Plateau, home of the Tongariro National Park, where we can drop you off in the township of Turangi if you wish to access it. Then it´s through to Taupo and if the weather suits, it´s time to skydive!
Taupo to Auckland (via Rotorua)
Hop-off in Rotorua, or head onwards to the ´City of Sails´.
This morning we head north to Rotorua, renowned for its Maori heritage and thermal activity in the area. After dropping off passengers in Rotorua, who are spending a night or two here, we make our way to Matamata (aka Hobbiton). You can jump off here if you´re a Lord of the Rings nut. Then it´s onwards through the rolling countryside to Auckland, otherwise known as the ´City of Sails´. We call into the Kiwi Experience office for a chance to purchase merchandise, confirm future bookings or extend your trip even further!

Start Auckland

Starting in Auckland the Sheepdog winds its way down the North Island, cruises down the West Coast of the South Island then cuts back up to Christchurch. Being a one-way pass it can be done in just 13 days in the summer which is great if you want to see a lot but don´t have a lot of time. Don´t let that stop you though if you have got more time you can hop-on, hop-off along the way and like all our New Zealand bus passes you´ve got 12 months to complete your trip.

Detailed itinerary

Spend the afternoon walking or kayaking to Cathedral Cove, or take a surfing lesson at Hot Water Beach!
After visiting the Kiwi Experience office we head towards the Coromandel Peninsula and spend the afternoon at Cathedral Cove; accessible only on foot or by kayak. This beautiful coastal spot is great for swimming, sea kayaking, and spotting dolphins if you´re lucky. We then carry on to Hot Water Beach (rated one of the top ten beaches in the world by Lonely Planet) where you can take a surfing lesson and head out with your shovel at low tide to dig your own hot pool in the sand.
Hot Water Beach to Waitomo
Check out New Zealand´s gold mining history before travelling on to experience the glow-worms, underwater caves and forest walks of Waitomo.
After an early start our first stop is the Karangahake Scenic Reserve to explore a native bush-clad gorge, swing bridges and a bit of New Zealand´s gold mining history. Next it´s onto Waitomo (wai meaning water, tomo meaning cave) where you will get the chance to see glow-worms, stalactites, cave coral, fossilized oysters and other crazy stuff in the limestone caves formed from 40 million year old dead fish.
Waitomo to Rotorua
Last chance to explore Waitomo before heading to Rotorua, the Maori culture capital of New Zealand.
We start the day with a walk through the Ruakuri Reserve and a breakfast stop at the Long Black Café before heading through to Rotorua. In the afternoon you´ll have a chance to go along to a farm show, go Zorbing, luging, and try out a crazy activity or two at Agroventures. In the evening you can experience a traditional Maori hangi (feast) and concert with Tamaki Tours a night not to be missed!
Rotorua to Taupo
A popular backpacker destination, with New Zealand´s biggest lake and plenty to keep you occupied!
The first activity of the day is exploring the geothermal reserve of Te Puia, with New Zealand´s largest geyser and a chance to see a real live Kiwi bird. The afternoon journey to Taupo includes stop offs to explore the area´s lakes and Taupo´s famous Huka Falls. Taupo is rightly known as the adventure capital of the North Island with optional activities on offer such as skydiving, bungy jumping, jet boating, the Volcanic Centre and the spectacular Tongariro Crossing!
Taupo (extra day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Taupo because there´s so much to do there. If you´re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.
Enjoy a sleep-in (for those not doing the Tongariro Crossing) and experience one of the many activities on offer. A walk down to Spa Park to relax in the natural hot springs by the river is a great way to spend the day (or night). Alternatively if you have time head off on our ‘East As’: 4 day, 3 night unique add-on trip around the East Cape, which takes you to places few tourists get to see.
Taupo to River Valley
Visit Tongariro National Park, take and enjoy some stunning free walks before arriving at River Valley Adventure Lodge
We head south around the “great lake” towards the Tongariro National Park for a picnic lunch and a two hour walk through native bush and waterfalls. In the afternoon we travel through to the ultimate adventure lodge – River Valley, situated amongst towering cliffs and bush-clad hills. The lodge offers grade five rafting on the Rangitikei River, scenic horse riding, and a small golf course. Spend the evening enjoying the delicious roast dinner and relaxing by the open fire.
River Valley to Wellington
New Zealand´s capital city is full of culture, cafes and cable cars!
We head away late after a morning white water rafting or horse riding, and head throughthe rolling hills full of deer, cattle and sheep. We arrive in Wellington late in the afternoon. This city is the undisputed capital of culture, the arts, restaurants, fashion and nightlife. It´s home to the largest cultural attraction in New Zealand, Te Papa Museum, which is well worth a look (and it´s free).
Wellington to Picton to Kaiteriteri
Travel across the stunning Cook Strait to the seaside town of Picton, then on to Kaiteriteri where the beautiful golden sand beach is practically on your doorstep.
You can choose to take the Interislander ferry across to the South Island, through the magnificent Marlborough Sounds; or arrange a flight. Travel via the Pelorous Bridge to Nelson, New Zealand´s sunniest city, then on to Kaiteriteri at the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park. You can simply wile away the evening on the golden sand beach just metres from your accommodation. Kaiteriteri is a great spot to begin an adventure (on foot, by kayak or by water taxi) into Abel Tasman National Park.
Kaiteriteri to Westport
Snow-capped mountains and adventure activities on the Buller River
Spend the morning kayaking out to Split Apple Rock and along the golden bays nearby Kaiteriteri, looking out for the local marine wildlife; or catch a water taxi to a one of the bays in the Abel Tasman National Park to go for a morning stroll in the native New Zealand forest. A late departure from Kaiteriteri will take us to Westport, so you can meet the team from Buller Adventure Tours where you can experience the best value for money jet boating, horse trekking and quad biking in New Zealand.
Westport to Lake Mahinapua
Continue down the West Coast via the world famous ´Highway 6´ and be treated to some amazing sights.
Today we cruise down the spectacular Highway 6 that stretches along the rugged Tasman shoreline. The road winds along diverse landscapes, which never cease to amaze both locals and visitors alike. Highlights include the Cape Foulwind seal colony, rugged beach walks and the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. Tonight your Driver Guide will arrange a group meal for you at the Mahinapua Hotel, known as the legendary “Poo Pub”. It´s an awesome evening of fancy dress and a good way to get to know your fellow travellers.
Lake Mahinapua to Franz Josef
Incredible views of glaciers towering over subtropical rainforests.
Our first stop this morning is the Bushman´s Centre, where you will get an insight into how people make a living on the coast with helicopter deer recovery, old timber-milling techniques and possum trapping. We then head through to the Franz Josef Glacier Village, nestled in the Westland National Park.
Franz Josef (Extra Day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Franz Josef because there´s so much to do there. If you´re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.

Today is your chance to hike on the Franz Josef Glacier, rated as one of the top three activities to do in New Zealand, by Kiwi Experience passengers. You could also take the option of a heli-hike, and be flown up the glacier, or take a more sedate approach and explore the various walks in the area.
Franz Josef to Wanaka
Take the time to chill out by Lake Wanaka.
We start out early in order to catch the perfect mirror reflection of Mt Cook and the Southern Alps on Lake Matheson. We then cruise down the last stretch of Highway 6, stopping at popular scenic spots along the way. Then it´s into Mount Aspiring National Park, arriving in the awe-inspiring destination of Wanaka in the afternoon.
Wanaka to Queenstown
Adventure capital of New Zealand:and the world!
It´s only a short drive today through to New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown. Highlights include Puzzling World, skydiving over Lake Wanaka and stopping at the world´s first commercial bungy site – the Kawarau Bridge. On arrival in Queenstown you can book all activities and confirm onward bus travel at Base, as well as get a group photo with all your new West Coast mates. Then it´s out on the town exploring Queenstown´s infamous nightlife with all the crew!
Queenstown (Extra Day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Queenstown because there´s so much to do there. If you´re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.
Queenstown is rated as one of our passenger´s favourite spots to hang out in New Zealand. Take the time to spend a few days here as it is one of the most picturesque places in the world. Make the most of the beautiful lake and surrounding walks, or get into a whole range of adrenalin pumping activities. If there was one activity that you couldn´t miss it would be the day trip to Milford Sound, commonly referred to as New Zealand´s most beautiful spot!
Queenstown to Christchurch
Head to the ´garden city´, with optional drop off points for Mt Cook and rafting in Rangitata
We head out of Queenstown, through the Lindis Pass, so get your cameras ready because this is ´Lord of the Rings´ territory. After dropping people in Twizel for the connection to Mt Cook, we travel through to the amazing aqua blue Lake Pukaki, with a stunning view of Mt Cook. We stop for lunch beside Lake Tekapo and the picturesque Church of the Good Shepherd. From there we have a straight run into Christchurch arriving late afternoon.

 

Zephyr (pronounced “zeff-ah”, a popular Ford car in New Zealand´s 1950´s and 60´s) is the Sheep Dog pass + Awesome pass. It takes you around heaps of New Zealand´s big highlights and also up north to the stunning Bay of Islands. Cruising in the Zephyr ensures that you get to see all of the iconic spots in New Zealand and so much more.

Detailed itinerary

Auckland to Paihia (Bay Of Islands)
Take a trip to the winterless north and pack as much as you can into a weekend!
We arrive in the Bay of Islands around midday and check out the sights surrounding Paihia, including the historical location of Waitangi. Northland is rich in history and Maori culture and with its clear water, huge kauri forests, and 144 islands to explore you will soon see why Kiwi Experience heads up north. Swim with the dolphins, experience the Excitor Fast Boat, ride out to the famous hole in the rock, or go kayaking, sailing, fishing, diving, snorkelling, or just relax on the beach!
Paihia to Auckland
Squeeze in those activities you haven´t completed yet before heading back to Auckland
Departing late afternoon, you have the best part of the day to experience one of the many activities on offer in the Bay, or simply chill on the beach with a good book. The drive back to the “big smoke”, which us Kiwis affectionately call Auckland, is relaxed and we have you back in the city in time to find some dinner and hit the town.
Auckland to Hot Water Beach
Spend the afternoon walking or kayaking to Cathedral Cove, or take a surfing lesson at Hot Water Beach!
After visiting the Kiwi Experience office we head towards the Coromandel Peninsula and spend the afternoon at Cathedral Cove; accessible only on foot or by kayak. This beautiful coastal spot is great for swimming, sea kayaking, and spotting dolphins if you´re lucky. We then carry on to Hot Water Beach (rated one of the top ten beaches in the world by Lonely Planet) where you can take a surfing lesson and head out with your shovel at low tide to dig your own hot pool in the sand.
Hot Water Beach to Waitomo
Check out New Zealand´s gold mining history before travelling on to experience the glow-worms, underwater caves and forest walks of Waitomo.
After an early start our first stop is the Karangahake Scenic Reserve to explore a native bush-clad gorge, swing bridges and a bit of New Zealand´s gold mining history. Next it´s onto Waitomo (wai meaning water, tomo meaning cave) where you will get the chance to see glow-worms, stalactites, cave coral, fossilized oysters and other crazy stuff in the limestone caves formed from 40 million year old dead fish.
Waitomo to Rotorua
Last chance to explore Waitomo before heading to Rotorua, the Maori culture capital of New Zealand.
We start the day with a walk through the Ruakuri Reserve and a breakfast stop at the Long Black Café before heading through to Rotorua. In the afternoon you´ll have a chance to go along to a farm show, go Zorbing, luging, and try out a crazy activity or two at Agroventures. In the evening you can experience a traditional Maori hangi (feast) and concert with Tamaki Tours a night not to be missed!
Rotorua to Taupo
A popular backpacker destination, with New Zealand´s biggest lake and plenty to keep you occupied!
The first activity of the day is exploring the geothermal reserve of Te Puia, with New Zealand´s largest geyser and a chance to see a real live Kiwi bird. The afternoon journey to Taupo includes stop offs to explore the area´s lakes and Taupo´s famous Huka Falls. Taupo is rightly known as the adventure capital of the North Island with optional activities on offer such as skydiving, bungy jumping, jet boating, the Volcanic Centre and the spectacular Tongariro Crossing!
Taupo (extra day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Taupo because there´s so much to do there. If you´re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.
Enjoy a sleep-in (for those not doing the Tongariro Crossing) and experience one of the many activities on offer. A walk down to Spa Park to relax in the natural hot springs by the river is a great way to spend the day (or night). Alternatively if you have time head off on our ‘East As’: 4 day, 3 night unique add-on trip around the East Cape, which takes you to places few tourists get to see.
Taupo to River Valley
Visit Tongariro National Park, take and enjoy some stunning free walks before arriving at River Valley Adventure Lodge
We head south around the “great lake” towards the Tongariro National Park for a picnic lunch and a two hour walk through native bush and waterfalls. In the afternoon we travel through to the ultimate adventure lodge – River Valley, situated amongst towering cliffs and bush-clad hills. The lodge offers grade five rafting on the Rangitikei River, scenic horse riding, and a small golf course. Spend the evening enjoying the delicious roast dinner and relaxing by the open fire.
River Valley to Wellington
New Zealand´s capital city is full of culture, cafes and cable cars!
We head away late after a morning white water rafting or horse riding, and head throughthe rolling hills full of deer, cattle and sheep. We arrive in Wellington late in the afternoon. This city is the undisputed capital of culture, the arts, restaurants, fashion and nightlife. It´s home to the largest cultural attraction in New Zealand, Te Papa Museum, which is well worth a look (and it´s free).
Wellington to Picton to Kaiteriteri
Travel across the stunning Cook Strait to the seaside town of Picton, then on to Kaiteriteri where the beautiful golden sand beach is practically on your doorstep.
You can choose to take the Interislander ferry across to the South Island, through the magnificent Marlborough Sounds; or arrange a flight. Travel via the Pelorous Bridge to Nelson, New Zealand´s sunniest city, then on to Kaiteriteri at the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park. You can simply wile away the evening on the golden sand beach just metres from your accommodation. Kaiteriteri is a great spot to begin an adventure (on foot, by kayak or by water taxi) into Abel Tasman National Park.
Kaiteriteri to Westport
Snow-capped mountains and adventure activities on the Buller River
Spend the morning kayaking out to Split Apple Rock and along the golden bays nearby Kaiteriteri, looking out for the local marine wildlife; or catch a water taxi to a one of the bays in the Abel Tasman National Park to go for a morning stroll in the native New Zealand forest. A late departure from Kaiteriteri will take us to Westport, so you can meet the team from Buller Adventure Tours where you can experience the best value for money jet boating, horse trekking and quad biking in New Zealand.
Westport to Lake Mahinapua
Continue down the West Coast via the world famous ´Highway 6´ and be treated to some amazing sights.
Today we cruise down the spectacular Highway 6 that stretches along the rugged Tasman shoreline. The road winds along diverse landscapes, which never cease to amaze both locals and visitors alike. Highlights include the Cape Foulwind seal colony, rugged beach walks and the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. Tonight your Driver Guide will arrange a group meal for you at the Mahinapua Hotel, known as the legendary “Poo Pub”. It´s an awesome evening of fancy dress and a good way to get to know your fellow travellers.
Lake Mahinapua to Franz Josef
Incredible views of glaciers towering over subtropical rainforests.
Our first stop this morning is the Bushman´s Centre, where you will get an insight into how people make a living on the coast with helicopter deer recovery, old timber-milling techniques and possum trapping. We then head through to the Franz Josef Glacier Village, nestled in the Westland National Park.
Franz Josef (Extra Day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Franz Josef because there´s so much to do there. If you´re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.

Today is your chance to hike on the Franz Josef Glacier, rated as one of the top three activities to do in New Zealand, by Kiwi Experience passengers. You could also take the option of a heli-hike, and be flown up the glacier, or take a more sedate approach and explore the various walks in the area.
Franz Josef to Wanaka
Take the time to chill out by Lake Wanaka.
We start out early in order to catch the perfect mirror reflection of Mt Cook and the Southern Alps on Lake Matheson. We then cruise down the last stretch of Highway 6, stopping at popular scenic spots along the way. Then it´s into Mount Aspiring National Park, arriving in the awe-inspiring destination of Wanaka in the afternoon.
Wanaka to Queenstown
Adventure capital of New Zealand:and the world!
It´s only a short drive today through to New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown. Highlights include Puzzling World, skydiving over Lake Wanaka and stopping at the world´s first commercial bungy site – the Kawarau Bridge. On arrival in Queenstown you can book all activities and confirm onward bus travel at Base, as well as get a group photo with all your new West Coast mates. Then it´s out on the town exploring Queenstown´s infamous nightlife with all the crew!
Queenstown (Extra Day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Queenstown because there´s so much to do there. If you´re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.
Queenstown is rated as one of our passenger´s favourite spots to hang out in New Zealand. Take the time to spend a few days here as it is one of the most picturesque places in the world. Make the most of the beautiful lake and surrounding walks, or get into a whole range of adrenalin pumping activities. If there was one activity that you couldn´t miss it would be the day trip to Milford Sound, commonly referred to as New Zealand´s most beautiful spot!
Queenstown to Christchurch
Head to the ´garden city´, with optional drop off points for Mt Cook and rafting in Rangitata
We head out of Queenstown, through the Lindis Pass, so get your cameras ready because this is ´Lord of the Rings´ territory. After dropping people in Twizel for the connection to Mt Cook, we travel through to the amazing aqua blue Lake Pukaki, with a stunning view of Mt Cook. We stop for lunch beside Lake Tekapo and the picturesque Church of the Good Shepherd. From there we have a straight run into Christchurch arriving late afternoon.

Kitchen sink pass

This is pass for when you start in Auckland, finish in Christchurch and still want it all (hence the name). You´ll begin by heading to the spectacular Bay of Islands and far north before returning back to Auckland. From there you´ll head through the North Islands best known spots, down the rugged West Coast, into adrenalin pumping Queenstown, and onto the amazing Milford Sound! From there you´ll venture into the deep south and have the chance to visit Stewart Island – New Zealand´s 3rd largest island. After all that excitement you´re still not done as there´ll be plenty more to see and do on the way up to Christchurch.

 

Auckland to Paihia (Bay Of Islands)
Take a trip to the winterless north and pack as much as you can into a weekend!
We arrive in the Bay of Islands around midday and check out the sights surrounding Paihia, including the historical location of Waitangi. Northland is rich in history and Maori culture and with its clear water, huge kauri forests, and 144 islands to explore you will soon see why Kiwi Experience heads up north. Swim with the dolphins, experience the Excitor Fast Boat, ride out to the famous hole in the rock, or go kayaking, sailing, fishing, diving, snorkelling, or just relax on the beach!

Paihia to Cape Reinga to Paihia
Don´t miss this awesome day trip to the very top of New Zealand.
Roll yourself out of bed and be prepared for an action packed day up to Cape Reinga. This area is sacred to the Maori people and the day trip to Cape Reinga is a MUST DO. The day is full of walks and free activities. Drive along 90 Mile Beach, see huge kauri trees, body board down the gigantic sand dunes, view the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean clashing, gather shellfish on the beach, and experience one of New Zealand´s best fish ´n´ chip shops!
Paihia to Auckland
Squeeze in those activities you haven´t completed yet before heading back to Auckland
Departing late afternoon, you have the best part of the day to experience one of the many activities on offer in the Bay, or simply chill on the beach with a good book. The drive back to the “big smoke”, which us Kiwis affectionately call Auckland, is relaxed and we have you back in the city in time to find some dinner and hit the town.
Auckland to Hot Water Beach
Spend the afternoon walking or kayaking to Cathedral Cove, or take a surfing lesson at Hot Water Beach!
After visiting the Kiwi Experience office we head towards the Coromandel Peninsula and spend the afternoon at Cathedral Cove; accessible only on foot or by kayak. This beautiful coastal spot is great for swimming, sea kayaking, and spotting dolphins if you´re lucky. We then carry on to Hot Water Beach (rated one of the top ten beaches in the world by Lonely Planet) where you can take a surfing lesson and head out with your shovel at low tide to dig your own hot pool in the sand.
Hot Water Beach to Waitomo
Check out New Zealand´s gold mining history before travelling on to experience the glow-worms, underwater caves and forest walks of Waitomo.
After an early start our first stop is the Karangahake Scenic Reserve to explore a native bush-clad gorge, swing bridges and a bit of New Zealand´s gold mining history. Next it´s onto Waitomo (wai meaning water, tomo meaning cave) where you will get the chance to see glow-worms, stalactites, cave coral, fossilized oysters and other crazy stuff in the limestone caves formed from 40 million year old dead fish.
Waitomo to Rotorua
Last chance to explore Waitomo before heading to Rotorua, the Maori culture capital of New Zealand.
We start the day with a walk through the Ruakuri Reserve and a breakfast stop at the Long Black Café before heading through to Rotorua. In the afternoon you´ll have a chance to go along to a farm show, go Zorbing, luging, and try out a crazy activity or two at Agroventures. In the evening you can experience a traditional Maori hangi (feast) and concert with Tamaki Tours a night not to be missed!
Rotorua to Taupo
A popular backpacker destination, with New Zealand´s biggest lake and plenty to keep you occupied!
The first activity of the day is exploring the geothermal reserve of Te Puia, with New Zealand´s largest geyser and a chance to see a real live Kiwi bird. The afternoon journey to Taupo includes stop offs to explore the area´s lakes and Taupo´s famous Huka Falls. Taupo is rightly known as the adventure capital of the North Island with optional activities on offer such as skydiving, bungy jumping, jet boating, the Volcanic Centre and the spectacular Tongariro Crossing!
Taupo (extra day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Taupo because there´s so much to do there. If you´re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.
Enjoy a sleep-in (for those not doing the Tongariro Crossing) and experience one of the many activities on offer. A walk down to Spa Park to relax in the natural hot springs by the river is a great way to spend the day (or night). Alternatively if you have time head off on our ‘East As’: 4 day, 3 night unique add-on trip around the East Cape, which takes you to places few tourists get to see.
Taupo to River Valley
Visit Tongariro National Park, take and enjoy some stunning free walks before arriving at River Valley Adventure Lodge
We head south around the “great lake” towards the Tongariro National Park for a picnic lunch and a two hour walk through native bush and waterfalls. In the afternoon we travel through to the ultimate adventure lodge – River Valley, situated amongst towering cliffs and bush-clad hills. The lodge offers grade five rafting on the Rangitikei River, scenic horse riding, and a small golf course. Spend the evening enjoying the delicious roast dinner and relaxing by the open fire.
River Valley to Wellington
New Zealand´s capital city is full of culture, cafes and cable cars!
We head away late after a morning white water rafting or horse riding, and head throughthe rolling hills full of deer, cattle and sheep. We arrive in Wellington late in the afternoon. This city is the undisputed capital of culture, the arts, restaurants, fashion and nightlife. It´s home to the largest cultural attraction in New Zealand, Te Papa Museum, which is well worth a look (and it´s free).
Wellington to Picton to Kaiteriteri
Travel across the stunning Cook Strait to the seaside town of Picton, then on to Kaiteriteri where the beautiful golden sand beach is practically on your doorstep.
You can choose to take the Interislander ferry across to the South Island, through the magnificent Marlborough Sounds; or arrange a flight. Travel via the Pelorous Bridge to Nelson, New Zealand´s sunniest city, then on to Kaiteriteri at the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park. You can simply wile away the evening on the golden sand beach just metres from your accommodation. Kaiteriteri is a great spot to begin an adventure (on foot, by kayak or by water taxi) into Abel Tasman National Park.
Kaiteriteri to Westport
Snow-capped mountains and adventure activities on the Buller River
Spend the morning kayaking out to Split Apple Rock and along the golden bays nearby Kaiteriteri, looking out for the local marine wildlife; or catch a water taxi to a one of the bays in the Abel Tasman National Park to go for a morning stroll in the native New Zealand forest. A late departure from Kaiteriteri will take us to Westport, so you can meet the team from Buller Adventure Tours where you can experience the best value for money jet boating, horse trekking and quad biking in New Zealand.
Westport to Lake Mahinapua
Continue down the West Coast via the world famous ´Highway 6´ and be treated to some amazing sights.
Today we cruise down the spectacular Highway 6 that stretches along the rugged Tasman shoreline. The road winds along diverse landscapes, which never cease to amaze both locals and visitors alike. Highlights include the Cape Foulwind seal colony, rugged beach walks and the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. Tonight your Driver Guide will arrange a group meal for you at the Mahinapua Hotel, known as the legendary “Poo Pub”. It´s an awesome evening of fancy dress and a good way to get to know your fellow travellers.
Lake Mahinapua to Franz Josef
Incredible views of glaciers towering over subtropical rainforests.
Our first stop this morning is the Bushman´s Centre, where you will get an insight into how people make a living on the coast with helicopter deer recovery, old timber-milling techniques and possum trapping. We then head through to the Franz Josef Glacier Village, nestled in the Westland National Park.
Franz Josef (Extra Day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Franz Josef because there´s so much to do there. If you´re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.

Today is your chance to hike on the Franz Josef Glacier, rated as one of the top three activities to do in New Zealand, by Kiwi Experience passengers. You could also take the option of a heli-hike, and be flown up the glacier, or take a more sedate approach and explore the various walks in the area.
Franz Josef to Wanaka
Take the time to chill out by Lake Wanaka.
We start out early in order to catch the perfect mirror reflection of Mt Cook and the Southern Alps on Lake Matheson. We then cruise down the last stretch of Highway 6, stopping at popular scenic spots along the way. Then it´s into Mount Aspiring National Park, arriving in the awe-inspiring destination of Wanaka in the afternoon.
Wanaka to Queenstown
Adventure capital of New Zealand:and the world!
It´s only a short drive today through to New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown. Highlights include Puzzling World, skydiving over Lake Wanaka and stopping at the world´s first commercial bungy site – the Kawarau Bridge. On arrival in Queenstown you can book all activities and confirm onward bus travel at Base, as well as get a group photo with all your new West Coast mates. Then it´s out on the town exploring Queenstown´s infamous nightlife with all the crew!
Queenstown (Extra Day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Queenstown because there´s so much to do there. If you´re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.
Queenstown is rated as one of our passenger´s favourite spots to hang out in New Zealand. Take the time to spend a few days here as it is one of the most picturesque places in the world. Make the most of the beautiful lake and surrounding walks, or get into a whole range of adrenalin pumping activities. If there was one activity that you couldn´t miss it would be the day trip to Milford Sound, commonly referred to as New Zealand´s most beautiful spot!
Queenstown to Dunedin (Bottom Bus Day 1)
We head towards the east coast via the massive Clyde Hydro Dam and the Central Otago fruit growing basin. Dunedin is famous for its student activity, being home to 20,000 plus students at Otago University, the city is also well known for its Scottish heritage. On arrival we do a city tour including a visit to Baldwin Street, the world’s steepest street and in the evening there is an option to visit another icon of Dunedin, the Speights Brewery with one of their tours and tastings!
Dunedin to Invercargill (Bottom Bus Day 2)
The Catlins is probably as far south as you may ever go. Travel through awesome native forest, sandy beaches and see rare wildlife. The might of the New Zealand sea-lion (New Zealand´s largest native mammal) is a real highlight as are the many short walks to the Catlins natural attractions, which includes a 180 million year-old fossilised forest (where you are also likely to see Yellow-eyed penguins returning from a hard days fishing). The night is spent in Invercargill, home of the world´s fastest Indian and Henry the tuatara!
Here you have the choice to hop over to Stewart Island it´s definitely worth the visit, an island paradise with a kiwi (bird) population 100 times that of the kiwi (human) one.
Invercargill to Milford Sound to Queenstown (Bottom Bus Day 3)
Travel through to Milford Sound checking out the most amazing scenery in New Zealand along the way. The day includes a two hour boat cruise through the sound exploring soaring peaks, towering waterfalls and New Zealand nature at its best. See the Homer Tunnel, gigantic waterfalls and amazing fiords. See the Homer Tunnel, gigantic waterfalls and amazing fiords. If you have the time jump off in Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park and home to a stunning lake, and/or in Milford Sound to spend a night or two. Provided the weather and bank balance permits you have the option of flying back to Queenstown, otherwise the Kiwi Experience bus will take you back to the adventure capital.
Queenstown to Christchurch
Head to the ´garden city´, with optional drop off points for Mt Cook and rafting in Rangitata
We head out of Queenstown, through the Lindis Pass, so get your cameras ready because this is ´Lord of the Rings´ territory. After dropping people in Twizel for the connection to Mt Cook, we travel through to the amazing aqua blue Lake Pukaki, with a stunning view of Mt Cook. We stop for lunch beside Lake Tekapo and the picturesque Church of the Good Shepherd. From there we have a straight run into Christchurch arriving late afternoon

 

Start Christchurch

Unlike the passes before it, the Kea heads up the coastline from Christchurch instead of cutting straight over to the West Coast. This way you get to see Nelson, the Abel Tasman National Park and its famous golden beaches. This New Zealand travel pass also gives you the chance to travel Christchurch to Picton twice which is pretty lucky really because Kaikoura is one of our Driver Guides favourite spots and there´s plenty to do there. After catching a ferry or flight across the Cook Straight you´ll then get to take in North Islands best highlights before finishing in Auckland.

 

 

 

Christchurch to Kaikoura
Kaikoura is known as one of the best coastal wildlife regions in the world – whales, dolphins and seals!
Departing Christchurch bright and early, we arrive at Kaikoura in time for you to check out what Kaikoura is most famous for its whale watching, or swimming with the dolphins or the seals. Spend the evening chilling on the beach or sampling some of the best seafood New Zealand has to offer for your dinner. In fact, the name Kaikoura means to eat Crayfish (“kai” meaning to eat, “koura” meaning crayfish).

Kaikoura to Picton & Nelson
Travel though New Zealand´s most renowned winery region.
We head north and take in the last of the dramatic Kaikoura coastline. It´s a spectacular drive, and we may take the opportunity to stop for a close look at the seals that lay about on the rocks all day long. We make our way to Picton and then to Kaiteriteri at the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park. You can simply wile away the evening on the golden sand beach just metres from your accommodation. Kaiteriteri is a great spot to begin an adventure (on foot, by kayak or by water taxi) into Abel Tasman National Park.
Kaiteriteri to Westport
Snow-capped mountains and adventure activities on the Buller River
Spend the morning kayaking out to Split Apple Rock and along the golden bays nearby Kaiteriteri, looking out for the local marine wildlife; or catch a water taxi to a one of the bays in the Abel Tasman National Park to go for a morning stroll in the native New Zealand forest. A late departure from Kaiteriteri will take us to Westport, so you can meet the team from Buller Adventure Tours where you can experience the best value for money jet boating, horse trekking and quad biking in New Zealand.
Westport to Lake Mahinapua
Continue down the West Coast via the world famous ´Highway 6´ and be treated to some amazing sights.
Today we cruise down the spectacular Highway 6 that stretches along the rugged Tasman shoreline. The road winds along diverse landscapes, which never cease to amaze both locals and visitors alike. Highlights include the Cape Foulwind seal colony, rugged beach walks and the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. Tonight your Driver Guide will arrange a group meal for you at the Mahinapua Hotel, known as the legendary “Poo Pub”. It´s an awesome evening of fancy dress and a good way to get to know your fellow travellers.
Lake Mahinapua to Franz Josef
Incredible views of glaciers towering over subtropical rainforests.
Our first stop this morning is the Bushman´s Centre, where you will get an insight into how people make a living on the coast with helicopter deer recovery, old timber-milling techniques and possum trapping. We then head through to the Franz Josef Glacier Village, nestled in the Westland National Park.
Franz Josef (Extra Day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Franz Josef because there´s so much to do there. If you´re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.

Today is your chance to hike on the Franz Josef Glacier, rated as one of the top three activities to do in New Zealand, by Kiwi Experience passengers. You could also take the option of a heli-hike, and be flown up the glacier, or take a more sedate approach and explore the various walks in the area.
Franz Josef to Wanaka
Take the time to chill out by Lake Wanaka.
We start out early in order to catch the perfect mirror reflection of Mt Cook and the Southern Alps on Lake Matheson. We then cruise down the last stretch of Highway 6, stopping at popular scenic spots along the way. Then it´s into Mount Aspiring National Park, arriving in the awe-inspiring destination of Wanaka in the afternoon.
Wanaka to Queenstown
Adventure capital of New Zealand:and the world!
It´s only a short drive today through to New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown. Highlights include Puzzling World, skydiving over Lake Wanaka and stopping at the world´s first commercial bungy site – the Kawarau Bridge. On arrival in Queenstown you can book all activities and confirm onward bus travel at Base, as well as get a group photo with all your new West Coast mates. Then it´s out on the town exploring Queenstown´s infamous nightlife with all the crew!
Queenstown (Extra Day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Queenstown because there´s so much to do there. If you´re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.
Queenstown is rated as one of our passenger´s favourite spots to hang out in New Zealand. Take the time to spend a few days here as it is one of the most picturesque places in the world. Make the most of the beautiful lake and surrounding walks, or get into a whole range of adrenalin pumping activities. If there was one activity that you couldn´t miss it would be the day trip to Milford Sound, commonly referred to as New Zealand´s most beautiful spot!
Queenstown to Christchurch
Head to the ´garden city´, with optional drop off points for Mt Cook and rafting in Rangitata
We head out of Queenstown, through the Lindis Pass, so get your cameras ready because this is ´Lord of the Rings´ territory. After dropping people in Twizel for the connection to Mt Cook, we travel through to the amazing aqua blue Lake Pukaki, with a stunning view of Mt Cook. We stop for lunch beside Lake Tekapo and the picturesque Church of the Good Shepherd. From there we have a straight run into Christchurch arriving late afternoon.
Christchurch to Kaikoura again!
Get up close and personal with some of New Zealand´s most unique wildlife
We start early today and head north from Christchurch across the northern Canterbury Plains. After a quick breakfast break in Cheviot, we continue into Kaikoura (kai to eat, koura crayfish). Talk to your driver about some of the amazing experiences you can do in this spectacular harbour including whale watching, fishing, or swim with the dolphins or seals. Alternatively, walk down to the local seal colony and get up close and personal with some fury locals.
Kaikoura to Wellington (via Picton)
Check out seal colonies and drive along the amazing Kaikoura coastline
We head north and take in the last of the dramatic Kaikoura coastline. It´s a spectacular drive voted New Zealand´s best and we stop for a close look at the seals that lay about on the rocks all day long. We make our way to the Picton ferry terminal in time to catch the afternoon sailing to the North Island. Say farewell to the South Island (Te Wai Pounamu) and we´re on our way! The ferry ride takes a few hours so chill out and enjoy the view of the amazing Marlborough Sounds!
Wellington to Taupo
The Rangitikei region has beautiful rivers and lakes as well as Lord of the Rings landscapes!
We´ve got quite a distance to cover today, so we leave early from Wellington to beat the rush hour traffic. We pass through Taihape, where we drop off and pick up people for River Valley Adventure lodge. Departing Taihape we head to the Central Plateau, home of the Tongariro National Park, where we can drop you off in the township of Turangi if you wish to access it. Then it´s through to Taupo and if the weather suits, it´s time to skydive!
Taupo to Auckland (via Rotorua)
Hop-off in Rotorua, or head onwards to the ´City of Sails´.
This morning we head north to Rotorua, renowned for its Maori heritage and thermal activity in the area. After dropping off passengers in Rotorua, who are spending a night or two here, we make our way to Matamata (aka Hobbiton). You can jump off here if you´re a Lord of the Rings nut. Then it´s onwards through the rolling countryside to Auckland, otherwise known as the ´City of Sails´. We call into the Kiwi Experience office for a chance to purchase merchandise, confirm future bookings or extend your trip even further!

The Top Dog is Kiwi Experiences most comprehensive Christchurch to Auckland trip. You´ll loop around the South Island and like the Kea pass get to do Christchurch to Picton twice. If you´re really keen on dolphin swimming and whale watching in Kaikoura this will give you a chance to pick the best day or to do it again if you loved it so much. If you don´t want your Top Dog to end you can always add on the Milford Explorer, Bottom Bus and Waitomo Day Trip later.

Christchurch to Kaikoura
Kaikoura is known as one of the best coastal wildlife regions in the world – whales, dolphins and seals!
Departing Christchurch bright and early, we arrive at Kaikoura in time for you to check out what Kaikoura is most famous for its whale watching, or swimming with the dolphins or the seals. Spend the evening chilling on the beach or sampling some of the best seafood New Zealand has to offer for your dinner. In fact, the name Kaikoura means to eat Crayfish (“kai” meaning to eat, “koura” meaning crayfish).
Kaikoura to Picton & Nelson
Travel though New Zealand´s most renowned winery region.
We head north and take in the last of the dramatic Kaikoura coastline. It´s a spectacular drive, and we may take the opportunity to stop for a close look at the seals that lay about on the rocks all day long. We make our way to Picton and then to Kaiteriteri at the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park. You can simply wile away the evening on the golden sand beach just metres from your accommodation. Kaiteriteri is a great spot to begin an adventure (on foot, by kayak or by water taxi) into Abel Tasman National Park.
Kaiteriteri to Westport
Snow-capped mountains and adventure activities on the Buller River
Spend the morning kayaking out to Split Apple Rock and along the golden bays nearby Kaiteriteri, looking out for the local marine wildlife; or catch a water taxi to a one of the bays in the Abel Tasman National Park to go for a morning stroll in the native New Zealand forest. A late departure from Kaiteriteri will take us to Westport, so you can meet the team from Buller Adventure Tours where you can experience the best value for money jet boating, horse trekking and quad biking in New Zealand.
Westport to Lake Mahinapua
Continue down the West Coast via the world famous ´Highway 6´ and be treated to some amazing sights.
Today we cruise down the spectacular Highway 6 that stretches along the rugged Tasman shoreline. The road winds along diverse landscapes, which never cease to amaze both locals and visitors alike. Highlights include the Cape Foulwind seal colony, rugged beach walks and the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. Tonight your Driver Guide will arrange a group meal for you at the Mahinapua Hotel, known as the legendary “Poo Pub”. It´s an awesome evening of fancy dress and a good way to get to know your fellow travellers.
Lake Mahinapua to Franz Josef
Incredible views of glaciers towering over subtropical rainforests.
Our first stop this morning is the Bushman´s Centre, where you will get an insight into how people make a living on the coast with helicopter deer recovery, old timber-milling techniques and possum trapping. We then head through to the Franz Josef Glacier Village, nestled in the Westland National Park.
Franz Josef (Extra Day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Franz Josef because there´s so much to do there. If you´re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.

Today is your chance to hike on the Franz Josef Glacier, rated as one of the top three activities to do in New Zealand, by Kiwi Experience passengers. You could also take the option of a heli-hike, and be flown up the glacier, or take a more sedate approach and explore the various walks in the area.
Franz Josef to Wanaka
Take the time to chill out by Lake Wanaka.
We start out early in order to catch the perfect mirror reflection of Mt Cook and the Southern Alps on Lake Matheson. We then cruise down the last stretch of Highway 6, stopping at popular scenic spots along the way. Then it´s into Mount Aspiring National Park, arriving in the awe-inspiring destination of Wanaka in the afternoon.
Wanaka to Queenstown
Adventure capital of New Zealand:and the world!
It´s only a short drive today through to New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown. Highlights include Puzzling World, skydiving over Lake Wanaka and stopping at the world´s first commercial bungy site – the Kawarau Bridge. On arrival in Queenstown you can book all activities and confirm onward bus travel at Base, as well as get a group photo with all your new West Coast mates. Then it´s out on the town exploring Queenstown´s infamous nightlife with all the crew!
Queenstown (Extra Day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Queenstown because there´s so much to do there. If you´re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.
Queenstown is rated as one of our passenger´s favourite spots to hang out in New Zealand. Take the time to spend a few days here as it is one of the most picturesque places in the world. Make the most of the beautiful lake and surrounding walks, or get into a whole range of adrenalin pumping activities. If there was one activity that you couldn´t miss it would be the day trip to Milford Sound, commonly referred to as New Zealand´s most beautiful spot!
Queenstown to Christchurch
Head to the ´garden city´, with optional drop off points for Mt Cook and rafting in Rangitata
We head out of Queenstown, through the Lindis Pass, so get your cameras ready because this is ´Lord of the Rings´ territory. After dropping people in Twizel for the connection to Mt Cook, we travel through to the amazing aqua blue Lake Pukaki, with a stunning view of Mt Cook. We stop for lunch beside Lake Tekapo and the picturesque Church of the Good Shepherd. From there we have a straight run into Christchurch arriving late afternoon.
Christchurch to Kaikoura again!
Get up close and personal with some of New Zealand´s most unique wildlife
We start early today and head north from Christchurch across the northern Canterbury Plains. After a quick breakfast break in Cheviot, we continue into Kaikoura (kai to eat, koura crayfish). Talk to your driver about some of the amazing experiences you can do in this spectacular harbour including whale watching, fishing, or swim with the dolphins or seals. Alternatively, walk down to the local seal colony and get up close and personal with some fury locals.
Kaikoura to Wellington (via Picton)
Check out seal colonies and drive along the amazing Kaikoura coastline
We head north and take in the last of the dramatic Kaikoura coastline. It´s a spectacular drive voted New Zealand´s best and we stop for a close look at the seals that lay about on the rocks all day long. We make our way to the Picton ferry terminal in time to catch the afternoon sailing to the North Island. Say farewell to the South Island (Te Wai Pounamu) and we´re on our way! The ferry ride takes a few hours so chill out and enjoy the view of the amazing Marlborough Sounds!
Wellington to Taupo
The Rangitikei region has beautiful rivers and lakes as well as Lord of the Rings landscapes!
We´ve got quite a distance to cover today, so we leave early from Wellington to beat the rush hour traffic. We pass through Taihape, where we drop off and pick up people for River Valley Adventure lodge. Departing Taihape we head to the Central Plateau, home of the Tongariro National Park, where we can drop you off in the township of Turangi if you wish to access it. Then it´s through to Taupo and if the weather suits, it´s time to skydive!
Taupo to Waitomo
An early start from Taupo this morning then a short trip to Waitomo Caves (Wai meaning water, tomo meaning caves). The local caves, hiding under the green Waitomo countryside, are made out of limestone, which is basically very old dead fish (in this case about 40 million years old). We spend the afternoon checking out Marokopa Falls (3rd largest falls in NZ), the ‘Natural Bridge’ and Ruakuri reserve. Apart from glow-worms in caves you may see stalactites, stalagmites, cave coral, rock sculptures, fossil oysters and fossil whalebones.
Waitomo to Rotorua or Taupo
We leave at late today so that you have time to experience the legendary Black Water Rafting in the morning with either the Labyrinth or Abyss trips! Alternatively, check out the brand new Ruakuri cave which is an engineering masterpiece.
Heading to Rotorua? No worries. We get you there in time to take part in Tamaki Tours world class Maori concert and hangi (traditional Maori cooked food) experiences. Or, if you´d rather, soak up the atmosphere in one of the many hot springs in the area!!!
Heading to Taupo? No worries. Apart from the natural geothermal features of the surrounding area, Taupo is fast becoming known as the action adventure capital of the north. Activities include skydiving, bungy jumping, jet boating, walking the Tongariro Crossing (one of the best one day walks in the world!), trout fishing and more:
Rotorua to Auckland
Head to the ´City of Sails´
A short stop in Matamata to check out Hobbiton, taking in the rolling countryside along the way before heading to the ´City of Sails´. We drop off passengers who are spending a few days in Rotorua to have a good look around then we make our way to Auckland.
Auckland to Paihia (Bay Of Islands
Take a trip to the winterless north and pack as much as you can into a weekend!
We arrive in the Bay of Islands around midday and check out the sights surrounding Paihia, including the historical location of Waitangi. Northland is rich in history and Maori culture and with its clear water, huge kauri forests, and 144 islands to explore you will soon see why Kiwi Experience heads up north. Swim with the dolphins, experience the Excitor Fast Boat, ride out to the famous hole in the rock, or go kayaking, sailing, fishing, diving, snorkelling, or just relax on the beach!
Paihia to Auckland
Squeeze in those activities you haven´t completed yet before heading back to Auckland
Departing late afternoon, you have the best part of the day to experience one of the many activities on offer in the Bay, or simply chill on the beach with a good book. The drive back to the “big smoke”, which us Kiwis affectionately call Auckland, is relaxed and we have you back in the city in time to find some dinner and hit the town.

You´ll go by train over the magnificent Southern Alps. The world renowned Tranzalpine train journey takes you through some of the most breath taking places you could possibly see on a New Zealand travel pass. Upon arriving in Greymouth you´ll be picked up again by the bus and taken on through to the infamous Poo Pub. If you´re short on time the TranzAlpine Dog Leg can also be a good option to catch up a day.

 

Christchurch to Greymouth
Treat yourself to the infamous Tranz Alpine train trip as part of your Kiwi Experience!
Catch the Tranz Alpine train across the spectacular Southern Alps, before meeting the Kiwi Experience bus in Greymouth. Tonight your driver will arrange a group meal for you at the Mahinapua Hotel, known as the legendary “Poo Pub”. It´s an awesome evening of fancy dress and a good way to get to know your fellow travellers.

Glacier Hike, Franz Josef New Zealand
Lake Mahinapua to Franz Josef
Incredible views of glaciers towering over subtropical rainforests.
Our first stop this morning is the Bushman´s Centre, where you will get an insight into how people make a living on the coast with helicopter deer recovery, old timber-milling techniques and possum trapping. We then head through to the Franz Josef Glacier Village, nestled in the Westland National Park.

Kayaking in Franz Josef, New Zealand
Franz Josef (Extra Day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Franz Josef because there´s so much to do there. If you´re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.

Today is your chance to hike on the Franz Josef Glacier, rated as one of the top three activities to do in New Zealand, by Kiwi Experience passengers. You could also take the option of a heli-hike, and be flown up the glacier, or take a more sedate approach and explore the various walks in the area.

Mt Cook, New Zealand
Franz Josef to Wanaka
Take the time to chill out by Lake Wanaka.
We start out early in order to catch the perfect mirror reflection of Mt Cook and the Southern Alps on Lake Matheson. We then cruise down the last stretch of Highway 6, stopping at popular scenic spots along the way. Then it´s into Mount Aspiring National Park, arriving in the awe-inspiring destination of Wanaka in the afternoon.

The Ledge Bungy Jump, Queenstown New Zealand
Wanaka to Queenstown
Adventure capital of New Zealand:and the world!
It´s only a short drive today through to New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown. Highlights include Puzzling World, skydiving over Lake Wanaka and stopping at the world´s first commercial bungy site – the Kawarau Bridge. On arrival in Queenstown you can book all activities and confirm onward bus travel at Base, as well as get a group photo with all your new West Coast mates. Then it´s out on the town exploring Queenstown´s infamous nightlife with all the crew!

The Canyon Swing, Queenstown New Zealand
Queenstown (Extra Day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Queenstown because there´s so much to do there. If you´re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.
Queenstown is rated as one of our passenger´s favourite spots to hang out in New Zealand. Take the time to spend a few days here as it is one of the most picturesque places in the world. Make the most of the beautiful lake and surrounding walks, or get into a whole range of adrenalin pumping activities. If there was one activity that you couldn´t miss it would be the day trip to Milford Sound, commonly referred to as New Zealand´s most beautiful spot!

Lake Pukaki, South Island New Zealand
Queenstown to Christchurch
Head to the ´garden city´, with optional drop off points for Mt Cook and rafting in Rangitata
We head out of Queenstown, through the Lindis Pass, so get your cameras ready because this is ´Lord of the Rings´ territory. After dropping people in Twizel for the connection to Mt Cook, we travel through to the amazing aqua blue Lake Pukaki, with a stunning view of Mt Cook. We stop for lunch beside Lake Tekapo and the picturesque Church of the Good Shepherd. From there we have a straight run into Christchurch arriving late afternoon.

Kaikoura Beach, Kaikoura New Zealand
Christchurch to Kaikoura
Kaikoura is known as one of the best coastal wildlife regions in the world – whales, dolphins and seals!
Departing Christchurch bright and early, we arrive at Kaikoura in time for you to check out what Kaikoura is most famous for its whale watching, or swimming with the dolphins or the seals. Spend the evening chilling on the beach or sampling some of the best seafood New Zealand has to offer for your dinner. In fact, the name Kaikoura means to eat Crayfish (“kai” meaning to eat, “koura” meaning crayfish).

Seal colony, near Picton New Zealand
Kaikoura to Wellington (via Picton)
Check out seal colonies and drive along the amazing Kaikoura coastline
We head north and take in the last of the dramatic Kaikoura coastline. It´s a spectacular drive voted New Zealand´s best and we stop for a close look at the seals that lay about on the rocks all day long. We make our way to the Picton ferry terminal in time to catch the afternoon sailing to the North Island. Say farewell to the South Island (Te Wai Pounamu) and we´re on our way! The ferry ride takes a few hours so chill out and enjoy the view of the amazing Marlborough Sounds!

Wellington to Taupo
Wellington to Taupo
The Rangitikei region has beautiful rivers and lakes as well as Lord of the Rings landscapes!
We´ve got quite a distance to cover today, so we leave early from Wellington to beat the rush hour traffic. We pass through Taihape, where we drop off and pick up people for River Valley Adventure lodge. Departing Taihape we head to the Central Plateau, home of the Tongariro National Park, where we can drop you off in the township of Turangi if you wish to access it. Then it´s through to Taupo and if the weather suits, it´s time to skydive!

Auckland, New Zealand
Taupo to Auckland (via Rotorua)
Hop-off in Rotorua, or head onwards to the ´City of Sails´.
This morning we head north to Rotorua, renowned for its Maori heritage and thermal activity in the area. After dropping off passengers in Rotorua, who are spending a night or two here, we make our way to Matamata (aka Hobbiton). You can jump off here if you´re a Lord of the Rings nut. Then it´s onwards through the rolling countryside to Auckland, otherwise known as the ´City of Sails´. We call into the Kiwi Experience office for a chance to purchase merchandise, confirm future bookings or extend your trip even further!

 

Trip Frequently Asked Questions

We usually stay in backpacker hostels in the main overnight stops, but we also stay in an old west coast pub, on an outback farm and at an adventure lodge in the middle of nowhere! Most rooms are quad share and most places have the option of a twin or double room for a bit of extra privacy. Your driver guide can book this for you as you drive into each destination. As a Kiwi Experience passenger, if you choose to stay in our recommended overnight accommodation then you´ll be guaranteed a bed on your first nights stay. Your New Zealand bus pass doesn´t include accommodation but in many places there´ll be accommodation discounts or a cheap meal deal. Most passengers want to stay together but if you wish to stay somewhere else our driver can help you with this too. Remember accommodation is not included in the cost of the pass

We stop at all the overnight stops shown by a green circle on the maps, and it´s for the night. You pick a bed and you fight for it tooth and nail: Seriously though, each green circle shows you where the bus with you and all your mates will stop for the night. You can´t skip ahead, so if you are short on time, contact us about how to get the most out of your time here. At every overnight stop, we have guaranteed accommodation for you, so there´s no fighting about who has to sleep on the floor, and you don´t need to worry about booking ahead, we can do that for you.
Some of our stops are so awesome we suggest two nights here that´s Taupo, Franz Josef, and Queenstown.

You can book loads of optional activities en route, but also don’t forget to book the Queenstown adrenaline overload with your pass if you want some amazing experiences in Queenstown!

As part of your bus pass price we´ll take you directly to New Zealand´s top tourism and adventure activities i.e. Skydiving, bungy jumping, kayaking, great walks. Like accommodation this can all be booked through your driver guide and your bus pass entitles you to some fantastic activity discounts along the way. Due to our size we´re also looked after by heaps of great activity providers, who make sure there are always spots for Kiwi Experience passengers, even when it´s busy. For these reasons it´s better to book with your Driver Guide on the bus, rather than in advance. It also helps to talk to those on the bus to work out the top activities and where your hard earned money is best spent.

 

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.
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.
Absolutely! If you could give us as much notice as possible that would be great. Just contact us and let us know your plans. Give us 24 hours notice and it should be sweet. In summer, everyone wants to travel with Kiwi Experience, so chat to your Driver Guide about booking your departure dates along the way to make sure you have the trip of a lifetime!
Our hop-on, hop-off system allows you to get off our route wherever you like for as long as you like. We encourage you to jump off the bus and explore New Zealand in more detail. Each overnight top on the map means you need to spend at least one night there, and in some places we recommend two because they´re  that good! Each route can be used once. Follow the arrows and the itinerary to see where you are headed. If you´ve found somewhere you like the look of, or landed a job for a few weeks, make the most of it. If you´re not sure where to get off talk to your Driver Guide, other passengers, and take a look through our helpful Kiwi Exposed guide book. If you´re getting off at a stop that is not a scheduled overnight stop, it´s always a good idea to give us a contact number so we can let you know of any changes.
When you´re ready to get back on, whether it´s the next day or next month, just give us a call and we´ll arrange a seat for you. Try to give us at least 24 hours notice, although again the more notice you can give us the better as everyone wants to travel with Kiwi Experience, especially in summer! Check out our bus timetable to see what dates and times we depart each location.
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.
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!
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.
Many years ago Oz Experience was founded off the back of Kiwi Experiences success. However, due to the travelling distances in Australia it didn´t work in quite the same way so was sold in 2005. Kiwi Experience is uniquely New Zealand. We don´t have any affiliations with any similar operators in Australia.

Duration Option Price  
7 (Days)Tranz Alpine Back PaddockUSD 685Book Now
18 (Days)TikiUSD 1113Book Now
24 (Days)Hokey PokeyUSD 1258Book Now
6 (Month)Southern Round-UpUSD 720Book Now
6 (Month)KeaUSD 855Book Now
6 (Month)Sheep DogUSD 1069Book Now
6 (Month)ZephyrUSD 1179Book Now
6 (Month)Funky ChickenUSD 1209Book Now
6 (Month)RangiUSD 1259Book Now
6 (Month)Kitchen SinkUSD 1409Book Now
6 (Month)Super FunkyUSD 1619Book Now
6 (Month)The Whole Kit & CaboodleUSD 1649Book Now
6 (Month)Northern Round-UpUSD 589Book Now

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Included

  • All your transport around New Zealand
  • Included activities as per pass
  • Services of a driver guide
  • Guide book information to New Zealand
  • Discounted activities en route

Excluded

  • Food
  • Drinks and spending money
  • Accommodation
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance

Dates

We have multiple departures per month. Please contact us for specific dates & availability.

 

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