As aforementioned, Kiwi Experience is New Zealand’s original adventure bus travel network for over 26 years, and there’s a reason why. It’s almost like a military operation, as we were there during peak season practically every single day two Kiwi buses leave Auckland headed for the South, which is around 100 people every single day.
If what you look for in a trip is an all inclusive, no planning required, stress free trip, then the Kiwi Experience is definitely worth looking at. From the minute we hopped on, we realised that the whole trip was going to be taken care of for us. The drivers are all energetic, full of knowledge about their country, and eager to pass on their knowledge to everyone on the bus. Having done a month hopping on and off the bus, we have by far seen more of New Zealand than thinkably possible in such a short time, because even between the towns of New Zealand, the drivers stop for 30 minute breaks each time you get to a beautiful lake, waterfall or park, allowing you to disembark to take some snaps. In a month’s time we completed both the north and the south island, and everything in between!
However, we wanted to write a post explaining that the Kiwi Experience was not at all what we expected. If you are more used to a bit of freedom and doing what you fancy on a daily basis, you may want to re-think your decision! The bus had a real ‘school-trip’ feel, and every second of your day seemed to be organised for you. If you are only spending the minimal time or close to like we did, this makes your trip very regimented and does not leave you very much time to explore places you may want to explore further. To elaborate, you may not arrive to a town until 5/6pm due to the amount of stop off’s the drivers will take in the day, and then the bus will be there to collect you again the next morning at 8am, leaving you no time to yourself.
Although the drivers are extremely informative, each one has a microphone and the constant story telling can also all get a bit too much at times. If you like relaxing and looking out the window taking in the beautiful scenery surrounding, the microphone system can be intrusive as there’s no volume button!
So, I guess it’s down to deciding what kind of trip you are looking for. If you are looking for a stress-free, fully pre-planned and informative bus ride then Kiwi is undoubtedly for you. But do bear in mind that if you are more of a traveller who enjoys avoiding the beaten tracks and not feeling like the ultimate tourist abroad, perhaps think of renting a camper van or car and following the same route as the bus, just in your own time.