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Monday, September 08, 2014

TRAVEL: Kiwi Experience Review

I recently went on the Kiwi Experience bus to travel around New Zealand and I loved every second of it! I had heard that the bus had a slight reputation of 'partying' and 'sleeping around' etc but it wasn't like that at all it was the complete opposite of that (although there was partying).  If you don't know anything about Kiwi Experience, its basically a hop on/hop off bus that travels around New Zealand with allocated stops and activities etc.  There are many passes (routes) that go around New Zealand depending on where you want to go and your time limit in New Zealand, I chose the Super Funky pass which goes around both islands, includes Bay of Islands, Milford Sound and takes a minimum of 27 days.  This was the best pass for me as I had given myself 6 weeks to travel around so the pass took 27 days and I had an extra 2 weeks to spare so I could stay longer in certain places instead of just rushing around.  I really loved the Kiwi Experience so thought I would do a pros and cons list for anyone who is wondering about the best way to travel New Zealand.  Please bear in mind that these are my own opinions.


Pros

- Very sociable: You spend a lot of time with the same people and depending on the time of year that you go depends on how big your bus is but the group is very sociable.  You meet a lot of like-minded people who are interested in the same things as you ie. exploring the country!

- Trip is planned out for you: There is a set route that the bus takes so you don't have to worry about where to go or where to stop etc.  If you do want to change your route then the Kiwi Experience bus drivers or the office staff are very happy to help.

- Guaranteed accommodation: That's right, on the Kiwi Experience bus, your first nights accommodation is guaranteed so you don't have to pre-book (I would pre-book if you were staying a couple of nights though just to make sure) as you will always have a bed.

- Discounted activities: The Kiwi Experience bus gives discounts to it's passengers, these discounts are only if you book the activities through them (which is what you would do anyway) and even though they are only slight they do make a huge difference when you're on a budget.

Free stop offs: The bus journeys are long so they break them up with stop offs along the way, these are all free and include bush walks, lakes and waterfalls to name a few.

Can hop on and off: Even though the route is planned out for you, you do have the option to jump off and stay longer in a specific place if you want to and then hop back on when you're ready.  It just gives you the freedom to make the trip your own.

Cons

- Spend a lot of time on the bus: Although the country is small, it does take a while to get around it so be prepared for long bus journeys.

- Don't know when you will arrive at a stop: The drivers do give you an estimated time of arrival but sometimes you arrive late evening at a destination and then leave early the next morning so you don't get a lot of time to explore the town.

- Not all drivers give it their all: Whilst on the bus, the drivers are your first point of call, they help you with your route, give information out and anything else you want.  But not all bus drivers are as energetic with their commentary or play games with the bus and some don't even stop off at the free stop offs which is a shame.



Would I Recommend It?

YES without a doubt I would recommend it to anyone who wanted to travel around New Zealand.  It was a very easy and organised way to see this beautiful country and especially see some sights off the beaten track.

HINT: Buy your Kiwi Experience bus pass on one of their sales (which are quite often).  I got mine when it was 40% off so was a bargain! Your pass is open dated for a year after purchase so you can use it whenever.



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