At first thought travelling an entire country by bus can almost feel exhausting but New Zealand's compact size & exquisite scenery that greatly differ in between cities & towns make it an ideal form of transportation.
New Zealand's backpacking industry offers a range of different hop-on hop-off bus networks that circulate around the country, these companies offer flexible travel and a first hand account of Kiwi culture, beauty and adventure.
If you have decided that backpacking New Zealand on a hop-on hop-off travel network is for you, your next step will be deciding which particular operator to travel with. As each operator cater to different markets you want to make sure you choose the right one for you so your New Zealand adventures are as enjoyable as possible.
Some of the things to keep in mind when browsing which operator to travel with include:
When it comes to hop-on hop-off travel networks age is an important factor for many travellers as travel goals can vary with age and when travelling in a close-knit environment for a long period of time you want to be with 'like minded' travellers.
Find out the average age group the company in question attract, are they late teens, mid twenties or older?
Locations & Passes
If you have researched where you would like to travel in New Zealand or you have heard of some great places to visit then check to see if your operator visit those areas. There will be crossovers in popular cities and towns between various networks but there will be some amazing locations included in oparators passes that are 'unique' to them. Find out the 'unique' locations operators visit as some of the most amazing places and stunning scenery are not on main travel routes.
If there is a location that an operator does not stay overnight in then find out if they drive through it or near it so you can hop-off the bus and hop-on the next one through.
Departures & Timetables
Some networks have more departures in summer and less in winter but if they run at least three departures a week it means you have more flexibility to be able to hop-off in certain locations without having to wait longer then a couple of days to get back on the next bus through and continue your travels.
New Zealand has amazing adrenalin pumped activities that are located all over the country, you want to make sure that the operator includes and offers a range of not only adrenalin actvites but cultural activies, walks, full access to remote beaches and better access to National Parks.
If you are travelling on a hop-on hop-off bus network then it's likely you enjoy travelling with like minded travellers in a group environment however factors can determine the type of 'trave style' of different opeartors and these include things previously discussed like age, locations visited and activities available to you throughout your travel route.
There are numerous ways to get honest feedback on operators and one of the the best ways to access this information is from previous travellers first hand accounts.
With an abundance of social networking forums, travel blogs, reviews and ranking websites available you can get honest unbiased reviews from people who have travelled New Zealand on a hop-on hop-off bus operator before.
Some operators may have 'comments' and 'questions' sections on their websites, this is a great way to hear their own travellers feedback and to ask any questions you may have.
If an operator run referral programs you will be able to talk directly with their previous travellers and ask any questions you may.
Other great ways of getting information on operators passes and travel options is by visiting their website, reading their brochures or asking your local travel agent or hostel travel desk.