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New Zealand / National

18 Day Auckland Return Flexible Bus Pass Funky Chicken - Kiwi Experience

5.0 (1 review)

Details

Highlights:

  • This flexible transportation pass mean that the choice is yours; there's so much to see and do and you have the freedom to experience it exactly how and when you want to.
  • You'll travel with like-minded people as well as meet a host of local characters.
  • It's up to you to choose- you have the freedom and control to travel the way you want to.

Included:

  • Tickets include transport only.
  • Flexible bus pass.
  • Minimum of 21 days and maximum of 12 months.
  • Awesome driver.
  • Heaps of free activities.

Itinerary

Day 1 : Auckland - Hot Water Beach

Spend the afternoon walking or kayaking to Cathedral Cove, and then soak in the natural springs at Hot Water Beach! After visiting the Kiwi Experience office we head towards the Coromandel Peninsula and spend the afternoon at Cathedral Cove; accessible only on foot or by kayak. This beautiful coastal spot is great for swimming, sea kayaking, and spotting dolphins if you’re lucky. We then carry on to Hot Water Beach (rated one of the top ten beaches in the world by Lonely Planet) where you can head out with your shovel at low tide to dig your own hot pool in the sand.

Meal(s) included: None

Day 2 : Hot Water Beach - Waitomo

Check out New Zealand’s gold mining history before travelling on to experience the glowworms, underwater caves and forest walks of Waitomo. After an early start our first stop is the Karangahake Scenic Reserve to explore a native bush-clad gorge, swing bridges and a bit of New Zealand’s gold mining history. Next it’s onto Waitomo ('wai' meaning water, 'tomo' meaning hole) where you will get the chance to visit world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves. If you're feeling adventurous, here is your chance to go underground and experience one of our top rated NZ activities with The Legendary Black Water Rafting Co.

Meal(s) included: None

Day 3 : Waitomo - Rotorua

Last chance to explore Waitomo on the Ruakuri bush walk before heading to Rotorua, the Maori culture capital of New Zealand. We start the day with a walk through the Ruakuri Reserve and a breakfast stop at the Long Black Café before heading off toward Rotorua. Along the way we will stop at The Shires Rest where you can jump off and take a tour through the enchanting Hobbiton Movie Set. Tonight don’t miss the chance to stay overnight at Tamaki Marae, where you can experience a traditional Maori hangi (feast) and concert with Tamaki Maori Village – a night not to be missed!

Meal(s) included: None

Day 4 : Rotorua - Taupo

A popular backpacker destination, with New Zealand’s biggest lake and plenty to keep you occupied! The first activity of the day is exploring the geothermal reserve of Te Puia, with New Zealand’s largest geyser and a chance to see a real live Kiwi bird. The afternoon journey includes a stop off at Taupo’s famous Huka Falls. Taupo is rightly known as the adventure capital of the North Island with optional activities on offer such as skydiving, bungy jumping, jet boating, sailing and the spectacular Tongariro Crossing!

Meal(s) included: None

Day 5 : Taupo (Extra Day)

We recommend staying an extra night in Taupo because there’s so much to do! If you’re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner. Enjoy a sleep-in (for those not doing the Tongariro Crossing) and experience one of the many activities on offer. A walk down to Spa Park to relax in the natural hot springs by the river is a great way to spend the day (or night).

Meal(s) included: None

Day 6 : Taupo - Wellington

We head south around the “great lake” towards the Tongariro National Park for a picnic lunch and a two-hour walk through native bush and waterfalls. In the afternoon we travel through to Wellington City. This city is the undisputed capital of culture, the arts, restaurants, fashion and nightlife. Here you can experience Mount Victoria (included) and then passengers have the opportunity to experience the national museum, Te Papa and get amongst the thriving craft beer scene.

Meal(s) included: None

Day 7 : Wellington - Abel Tasman

We take the Interislander ferry across to the South Island through the magnificent Marlborough Sounds. Travel through vineyards to Nelson, New Zealand’s sunniest city, then on to Kaiteriteri at the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park. Kaiteriteri is a great spot to begin an adventure (on foot, by kayak or by water taxi) into Abel Tasman National Park, or see it all from above by jumping out of a plane!

Meal(s) included: None

Day 8 : Abel Tasman - Westport

Spend the morning kayaking out to Split Apple Rock and along the golden bays near Kaiteriteri, looking out for the local marine wildlife; or catch a water taxi to one of the bays in the Abel Tasman National Park to go for a morning stroll in the native New Zealand forest. This afternoon we stop at the iconic Nelson Lakes, so you can get your legendary wharf jumping shot before hitting surf town Westport.

Meal(s) included: None

Day 9 : Westport - Franz Josef

Today we start our journey down spectacular State Highway 6, that stretches 435 kilometres along the rugged Tasman shoreline. The road winds through a diverse series of landscapes which never cease to amaze. Highlights today include the Cape Foulwind seal colony walk, rugged beaches, and the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. We then hit the road on our way to Franz Josef. Franz Josef is the northern gateway to Te Wahipounamu, the Southwest New Zealand World Heritage area. The region includes Aoraki/Mount Cook, Westland Tai Poutini, Mount Aspiring, the Fiordland National Parks, and surrounding conservation lands. We factor in a free day in Franz Josef so that you can get out there and experience what Franz Josef has to offer. It’s a wicked spot and whatever you get out and do, you will be blown away by the views of the glacier and Alps.

Meal(s) included: None

Day 10 : Franz Josef (Extra Day)

Today we have a free day in Franz Josef where you have the opportunity to experience a Heli-Hike to New Zealand’s most famous Franz Josef Glacier or you can explore this lush corner of New Zealand (for free) on foot; hitting up the many walking trails in the area.

Meal(s) included: None

Day 11 : Franz Josef - Queenstown

We start out early in order to catch the perfect mirror reflection of Mt Cook and the Southern Alps on Lake Matheson. We then cruise down the last stretch of Highway 6, stopping at popular scenic spots along the way. Then it’s into Mount Aspiring National Park, arriving in the awe-inspiring destination of Wanaka. After a stroll round Lake Wanaka and some lunch, we head to the world’s first commercial bungy site - the Kawarau Bridge. Only the brave will sign themselves up for this iconic New Zealand activity. On arrival in Queenstown, we will head down to the spectacular waterfront before it’s out on the town exploring Queenstown’s infamous nightlife with all the crew!

Meal(s) included: None

Day 12 : Queenstown (Extra Day)

Queenstown is one of the most amazing places on Earth. No matter what time of the year it is rated as one of our passenger’s favourite spots. Take the time to spend a few days here as it is one of the most picturesque places in the world. Make the most of the beautiful lake and surrounding walks, or get into a whole range of adrenalin pumping activities. If there was one activity that you couldn’t miss it would be the day trip to Milford Sound, commonly referred to as The Eighth Wonder of the World.

Meal(s) included: None

Day 13 : Queenstown to Lake Tekapo

We head out of Queenstown, through the Lindis Pass, so get your cameras ready because this is ‘Lord of the Rings’ territory. After stopping to admire Mt Cook at Lake Pukaki, we travel to Lake Tekapo with its amazing location by snow-capped alps and clear starry skies. Lake Tekapo has something for everyone - relaxing at the lakeside and taking in the untouched view, soaking in the hot springs, discovering one of the many scenic walkways or checking out the mind-boggling stars in what is the world’s largest dark sky reserve.

Meal(s) included: None

Day 14 : Lake Tekapo to Christchurch

We have a straight run into Christchurch, our largest city in the South Island and the 3rd largest in New Zealand. Witness a city rebuilding and flourishing in the wake of the 2011 earthquakes, and explore the street art, see the blooming botanical gardens and learn about the history of a city that’s experienced so much in recent times.

Meal(s) included: None

Day 15 : Christchurch to Kaikoura

Departing Christchurch *, we arrive in Kaikoura in time for you to check out what it's most famous for – whale watching or swimming with the dolphins. Spend the evening chilling on the beach or sampling some of the best seafood New Zealand offers for your dinner. The name Kaikoura means to eat crayfish (“kai” means to eat, “koura” means crayfish). *Christchurch departure times may vary, impacting some tour options.

Meal(s) included: None

Day 16 : Kaikoura to Wellington

We head north and take in the last of the dramatic Kaikoura coastline. It’s a spectacular drive and we stop for a close look at the seals that lay about on the rocks. We make our way to the Picton ferry terminal in time to catch the afternoon sailing to the North Island. Say farewell to the South Island (Te Wai Pounamu) and we’re on our way! The ferry ride takes a few hours so chill out and enjoy the view of the amazing Marlborough Sounds!

Meal(s) included: None

Day 17 : Wellington to Taupo

With an early start from windy Wellington, we head north through Taihape, the gumboot capital of New Zealand and the Central Plateau, home of the Tongariro National Park. Then it’s through to Taupo*, driving alongside New Zealand's biggest lake. If the weather suits, it’s time to skydive. *This bus is an express service to Auckland, via Rotorua you can jump off the bus in Taupo.

Meal(s) included: None

Day 18 : Taupo to Auckland (Via Rotorua)

Today will see you travel over the Lewis Pass - the northernmost of the three main passes across the Southern Alps. It is higher than the Haast Pass, and slightly lower than Arthur's Pass. State Highway 7 traverses the pass on its route between north Canterbury and the West Coast; it passes through extensive unmodified beech forest. The pass is the saddle between the valleys of the Maruia River to the northwest and the Lewis River to the southeast. The saddle is located close to the small spa of Maruia Springs. The Lewis Pass is named after Henry Lewis who, together with Christopher Maling, was the first European to discover the pass, in April 1860 while working as a surveyor of the Nelson Provincial Survey Department. Before this time the pass was used by the Ngāi Tahu Māori of Canterbury to transport Pounamu (greenstone) from the west coast. The area around Lewis Pass is protected as a national reserve.

Meal(s) included : None


Pickups / Departures

Start Anywhere finish where you started.
Minimum travel time 21 days
Maximum travel time 12 months from the first day of travel


Extras

What to Bring:

Comfortable walking shoes.


Reviews

5.0 (1 review)
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Emma B. 14 Oct 2023
I did the 18 day North and South tour and loved it! Tina, our driver was amazing and really made the tour so special. Her knowledge of the country was fascinating and she had such a wonderful energy every single day! I didn’t realise the group would change; the 18 day tour combines the 7 day north island and the 11 day South Island tour, but both groups were great and it’s such an easy way to make friends as a solo traveller. One thing that almost put me off booking was reading the reviews on here, many saying that you had to buy the extras and there was no alternative available. That’s another reason Tina was amazing, if there was an ‘extra’ we didn’t want to do she would always find a free alternative so I never felt like a limited budget made the experience less worthwhile!

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18 Day Auckland Return Flexible Bus Pass Funky Chicken - Kiwi Experience

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