Taking a Backpacker Bus in New Zealand
If you have sầu done any sort of research inlớn travelling around New Zeal&, you will probably have heard about “hop-on hop-off”. Hop-on hop-off is a type of backpacker bus network in New Zealand, which, simply put, is a flexible bus tour for adventurous travellers!
Unlike the national coach buses, the hop-on hop-off bus is a guided route with an emphasis on activities & social experiences with like-minded travellers. Get the full comparison in What is the Difference Between Hop-on Hop-off & National Coach.
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With a phối of free & optional pay-as-go activities, the bus trip around New Zealand is action-packed. What’s more, the “hop-on hop-off” aspect of the bus trip means you can opt to get off the bus và enjoy some independent travelling at most points during the route, making hop-on hop-off a popular means of transport for backpackers.
Kiwi Experience, Stray và Flying Kiwi
The hop-on hop-off bus companies operating in New Zeal& are Kiwi Experience, Stray và Flying Kiwi. Kiwi Experience và Stray work in very similar ways in terms of how they operate và what’s included, offering you a method of transport around the country with your first night of hostel accommodation guaranteed & the option to book activities with them. Flying Kiwi works slightly differently with camping accommodation & at least one meal per day included in the bus pass. Of course, there are other differences, and we’ll get lớn that later.
The rest of this article will explain mostly how Stray và Kiwi Experience work in more general terms. However, should you want khổng lồ compare the bus companies take a look at What is the Difference Between Stray and Kiwi Experience? For more information on Flying Kiwi, take a look at That New Zealand Hop-On Hop-Off Bus You’ve Never Heard Of…
How lớn Use the Hop-on Hop-off Buses as Transport
The hop-on hop-off bus companies offer a variety of bus passes, from their entire bus route to lớn just one islvà to any smaller section in between. You cannot, however, buy a bus pass for a one-day trip. You need to lớn be committed to a route! Find out how khổng lồ find good giao dịch on bus passes in 5 Tips lớn Get a Better Deal on a Backpacker Bus Pass in New Zeal&.
Once you have your bus pass, you can complete the route within 12 months (or 24 months in Flying Kiwi’s case), allowing you full flexibility! Book your route with the bus company’s reservation team & hop on the bus to lớn begin your adventure. You can either follow the same bus around the route in the minimum amount of days or hop off the bus at any time or location along the route. Then, when it comes to lớn hopping bachồng on the bus, book with the reservations team again & get baông xã on the bus on your next chosen departure date (or when the next bus is available, as buses can be fully booked in summer). cảnh báo that Flying Kiwi’s minimum time lớn hop off the bus is 9 days, as they have less frequent departures than Stray và Kiwi Experience.
Find out more about how lớn use the hop-on hop-off for transportation in How Does the Hop-on Hop-off Bus Network in New Zealvà Work?
Activities and Accommodation with the Hop-on Hop-off Bus
Not just a means of transportation, the hop-on hop-off bus in New Zealand is lượt thích a flexible tour, meaning your days travelling with the bus will be action-packed. Expect both miễn phí and optional paid activities, as well as being booked inlớn the bus company’s recommended hostel (or campsite if with Flying Kiwi) if you choose to lớn stay in the same accommodation.Activities on the Hop-on Hop-off Bus
Along the route, there will be a wealth of short hikes, lakes, waterfalls, hot pools and more lớn take advantage of. The bus will stop at these noteworthy locations khổng lồ take part in some không tính phí activities. With each day that you travel on the bus, there are also a selection of optional activities lớn take part in, which are added extras lớn pay for once you arrive at the activity provider. You can usually sign up to lớn one or two activities per day or as little activities as you want. The bus driver books these activities for you so it’s hassle-miễn phí.Accommodation with the Hop-on Hop-off Bus
If you stay with the bus company’s recommended hostel/lodge/overnight accommodation, then the bus driver books this for you, then you pay for the night once you arrive sầu at the accommodation.
The first night at each location is guaranteed. More nights can be booked but this is subject lớn availability. You don’t have khổng lồ stay in the recommended accommodation. In this case, the bus driver can usually transport you as close to lớn your chosen accommodation as possible, but you will need lớn book your own accommodation yourself.
In the case of Flying Kiwi, they travel with tents so accommodation is included in your bus pass. They stay at campsites around the country where you can choose lớn tăng cấp to lớn a solo tent or a cabin in some locations.
Get the ins & outs of what sort of activities you can expect with the hop-on hop-off bus in A Day in the Life of a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Passenger, as well as a detailed tài khoản on what it’s like lớn travel a day with Kiwi Experience, Stray or Flying Kiwi.
What is the Price of Hop-on Hop-off Travel with Kiwi Experience & Stray?
With Stray and Kiwi Experience there are a number of costs you need lớn consider when taking the bus because these are not all-inclusive sầu tours.Price of the Hop-on Hop-off Bus Pass
The prices of bus passes fluctuate with sales. Plus, prices really depover on which bus pass you buy. For a full national pass, the price can be anywhere between NZ$1000-$2000. Keep an eye on those sales and read our 5 Tips khổng lồ Get a Better Deal for a Backpacker Bus Pass.Price of Activities & Accommodation
Although the bus driver can book accommodation & activities for you, you pay for these as you go. You can expect to pay around NZ$20-30 per night for accommodation (with a couple of exceptions, which you can read more about in our How to lớn Budget for a Hop-on Hop-off Trip Around New Zealand). For activities, the prices can range from NZ$10 to NZ$400+, so making your own personal activities budget is essential. We’ve sầu made a danh mục of typical activity prices in The Cost of Backpacking in New Zealvà.Price of Food
You will need to provide your own food & drink on the trip. By either stopping in a destination with a supermarket or making a supermarket stop during the day, the bus will give sầu you regular access lớn a supermarket khổng lồ buy your own food to cook at the hostel, which is the best way lớn keep food costs low. Having group meals with your fellow bus passengers is another way lớn reduce food expenses.
For more money-saving tips & how much you can expect to lớn pay on the Kiwi Experience or Stray bus, kiểm tra out How to lớn Budget for Hop-on Hop-off Trip Around New Zeal&.Budgeting with Flying Kiwi
As mentioned, Flying Kiwi works a little differently. You don’t need lớn worry about an accommodation budget, as accommodation is included in the trip. Although Flying Kiwi does offer at least one meal a day (some days it’s three times a day, sometimes it’s two), there are going khổng lồ be some occasions where you are going khổng lồ need lớn buy your own meals. This is usually when there is no access lớn a kitchen so you’ll be buying food from cafes, take-aways and restaurants, so budgeting for some meals is a must. Take a look at typical takeaway prices in What is the Cost of Backpacking in New Zealand?
Other Ways to Travel Around New Zealand
How you want khổng lồ travel around New Zealand is a personal và important decision to give sầu yourself the best gap year or backpacking experience possible. That’s why we have ‘heaps’ of articles on backpacker transport, so you can make a well-informed decision! Take a look at these beauties: