8 New Zealand bus tour highlights

Travelling in New Zealand with a hop-on hop-off bus is a great option for every backpacker. Here are my top highlights from travelling on Kiwi Experience.

Travelling in New Zealand on a hop-on hop-off bus is a good option for every backpacker.

Some of you come here with limited time, some with limited money, some of you are on your own and have never planned a big trip on your own before – Kiwi Experience is a great option for all of you.  You’ll be taken to places all over the country - not just to the must-sees, but also to places that only locals know about. It is a very relaxed way to travel because your driver guide will organise your accommodation as well as activities for you. They have done most of the activities themselves so can give their honest opinion about everything as well as great tips on how to plan your travel. Kiwi Experience offers some free activities and all the paid activities are optional.

Based on my experience I can honestly say that you will never be alone! You meet people from all over the world and because of all the activities and time you spend together, you get to know them very well and easily become friends.

It’s not a problem if you don’t have that long in New Zealand, because you can see so many places in a short time. I travelled through the North Island in eight days, saw many different places and experienced so much. However, if you have more time, you can extend your stay in any destination the bus goes to for as long as you want.

Favourite moments from my travels through New Zealand:

1: Skydive Taupo

I am a person who loves nature and enjoys stunning scenery but likes to experience it with a bit of action. This is why I think skydiving was my top highlight.

I did my skydive in Taupo and the weather on the day afforded an amazing view of the lake and town. I was so euphoric when we entered the plane, however, when my tandem master slowly pushed me to the exit and I knew there was no way back, my heart missed a beat! It was worth it though as the free fall from the plane was indescribable, a feeling of absolute freedom. Back on the ground, I couldn’t stop smiling for an hour and wanted to have another go straight away!

2: Dolphin swimming in Kaikoura

Number two of my highlights in New Zealand was swimming with dolphins in Kaikoura. Here I swam amongst a pod of dolphins who darted and frolicked around me from all sides. It was a fantastic feeling when I realised that they are actually wild animals. The tips and tricks that were given to us by our instructors on how to attract the dolphins were really helpful. As soon as I quickly spun around in circles for a few seconds, the dolphins became intrigued and swam towards and around me. It was definitely one of the best things I've ever done!

3: Black Water Rafting in Waitomo

The big caves which are home to thousands of glowworms are unique and definitely a must-see in New Zealand. The Black Abyss Tour at Black Water Rafting offers an amazing experience and an unforgettable adventure! It was a mixture of abseiling, tubing, climbing up waterfalls, riding a flying fox and much more. At the beginning, I was a bit scared of some things, however, I developed a real euphoria during the caving trip and definitely had a lot of fun!

4: Hobbiton Movie Set

This was probably my most awaited destination in New Zealand! We were able to walk right up to the hobbit houses, take pictures in front of them and even go inside in some of them. Nothing was shut off properly, so you felt like you were walking through a real village where it was possible to come across a real hobbit at every corner. I couldn’t believe it when I stood at the places where my favourite movie was filmed, that’s what made this tour one of my top highlights.

5: Tongariro Crossing

Another of my top highlights was the Tongariro Crossing. Some parts of the track were harder than others, so we had to take quite a few breaks. However, little by little one goes far and as we reached the top, there was such a breath-taking view over the mountains, volcanoes and lakes that I forgot about the struggle for a moment!

6: The Nevis Bungy

That was definitely an experience that I’ll never forget! I had never done a bungy jump before, which means that my first one ever was the highest in New Zealand and Australia, and the third highest in the world! I could hardly look down as I had to make my way to the edge, but once I jumped it was all worth it as the feeling of the free fall was incredible. When I got back up to the bungy station, I was so proud I had done it and full of adrenaline. It was definitely one of my highlights!

7: Kayaking in the Abel Tasman National Park

We started our kayaking tour in the morning so the sun had just risen and when it reflected on the calm water, it looked quite idyllic. The kayaking itself was a lot of fun, but the fact that I was getting to do it in a National Park in the South Island of New Zealand, surrounded by an indescribably beautiful nature, was the icing on the cake for me. It was a wonderful mix of adventure, idyllic nature and group bonding!

8: Tamaki cultural evening

Before travelling to New Zealand I knew practically nothing about Maori culture, however, my night at Tamaki Maori Village in Rotorua taught me a lot about their traditions, customs and history, and I was simply carried away by the energy there. We learnt how to braid baskets and to dance the haka. We also learnt about their traditional weapons and tattoos and saw how Maori warriors got ready for battle. It was certainly not typically touristic, in fact, I would say it is a great insider tip for those who are interested in learning more about New Zealand history and culture or just want to have a really enjoyable evening, experiencing something new and different.

For more information on New Zealand backpacker bus passes, visit them online at kiwiexperience.com

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