What is it Really Like to Travel With Wild Kiwi?
Review of Wild Kiwi New Zealand Bus tours.
Travelling by road is the best way to travel New Zealand, hands down. But what if you can’t drive, don’t want to travel alone or just hate taking the bus? Well, we think we’ve found the right bus tour for you. In fact, we’d go as far as to say that Wild Kiwi is the bus tour for people who hate bus tours. With luxury vehicles with ultra-modern features, small groups of 18-35-year-olds and a great balance of socialising and exploring, Wild Kiwi is certainly an alternative way of experiencing this breathtaking country. But why this bus tour so different from all the other bus tours that also claim to be “different”? We’ll go through the main points in this review of what it is really like to travel with Wild Kiwi.
When & Where to Book a Wild Kiwi Tour
Wild Kiwi run tours around New Zealand with frequent departure dates, making it easy to book a tour that’s suitable for when you wish to travel.
How Far in Advance Should You Book?
Tour departures are every Saturday of the year. It’s possible to book your tour about one year and six months before departure – ideal for your forward-planners! Last-minute bookings are usually doable in the low season, between June and September. It’s likely that you will need to book at least a month ahead of departure during the shoulder season, between April and May, November and October.
For those wishing to travel in the busy season, between December and March, we recommend booking as soon as possible, especially as these popular tours with a maximum of only 18 seats available get booked up quickly. What’s more, you only need to pay a deposit when booking and the full amount eight weeks before departure.
Where to Book
It’s best to book your Wild Kiwi tour before arriving in New Zealand via the Wild Kiwi website. Once your booking is complete, you can manage the booking through the website and the team will keep in touch on the lead up to the trip.
Who goes on the Wild Kiwi Tours?
Travelling on a bus tour around New Zealand is an extremely social experience, so you’re going to want to know who you are travelling with. Wild Kiwi is a bus tour exclusively for 18 to 35-year-olds, but beyond that, it’s hard to define an exact “type” of traveller. Passengers come from all over the world and from different backgrounds.
With small groups of up to just 18 people on one tour, the dynamic often involves the entire group, rather than splitting off into cliques like on some of the larger bus tours in New Zealand – that’s why it’s one of our top recommendations for solo travel in New Zeland. The trips have a good balance of exploring, doing activities and socialising, so you never feel like you get sick of doing one thing. An important thing to note that Wild Kiwi isn’t a 24/7 booze up. Sure, there are a few beers shared, but Wild Kiwi passengers tend to be like-minded in the fact that they want to remain fresh for making the most of the experience, rather than fumbling through New Zealand with a hangover.
Is it really a bus tour?
The easiest way to describe Wild Kiwi is that it’s a “bus tour”, but it’s probably not the best way to describe it. “Bus tours” conjure up images of large coaches with rigid seats and “are we there yet” thoughts. That’s definitely not what Wild Kiwi is about. Their luxury Mercedes Sprinters are the most badass buses touring New Zealand, featuring cosy leather seats, USB ports, unlimited WiFi and large windows to soak in the scenery (blacked out so you kind of feel like a movie star).
Bus tours in New Zealand aimed at 18-30-year-olds usually stay in hostel accommodation, but with Wild Kiwi, it’s the creme-de-la-creme of backpacker accommodation around New Zealand – more like “flashpackers”. Although the accommodation you stay in with Wild Kiwi is never somewhere you stay for too long, it’s usually the best-rated of each town, located in the secluded wilderness when it matters, or on the waterfront conveniently in the centre of town when it matters.
What are the Guides like?
Guides make or break a trip, especially considering you have the same guide for the entire duration of the tour. However, we’ve only ever had positive experiences with the Wild Kiwi guides – friendly and knowledgable people who are actually from New Zealand!
They work hard to cater to what the group wants while surprising with short detours off the itinerary to take you to off-the-beaten-track places. They really know their backyard well. Often it’s the places that we didn’t know about that become the most memorable aspects of the trip!
Where does Wild Kiwi go?
With Wild Kiwi, you can tour the North Island, the South Island or both. Tours last for 7, 14 and 21 days. Here’s a quick overview of the locations Wild Kiwi visit.
Wild Kiwi Destinations on the North Island
Raglan – a bohemian town famous for its surfing.
Waitomo – home to New Zealand’s most spectacular glowworm caves.
Taupo – New Zealand’s largest lake with an amazing sailing cruise to enjoy with your new travel mates.
Rotorua – a geothermal and Maori cultural hotspot.
Coromandel – home to some of New Zealand’s most stunning beaches.
Wild Kiwi Destinations on the South Island
Hanmer Springs – a picturesque alpine hot springs town.
Kaikoura – a mecca for marine wildlife, including seals, whales and dolphins.
Abel Tasman National Park – golden sand beaches, azure waters and lush forest!
Punakaiki – a tiny town on the edge of the wild West Coast and home to the Pancake Rocks.
Hokitika – greenstone capital of New Zealand where you’ll get to see the vibrant blue waters of Hokitika Gorge.
Christchurch – the largest city in the South Island with awesome eateries and nightlife.
Franz Josef – famous for its glacier heli-hiking tours
Queenstown – also known as the “Adventure Capital”. Get ready to bungy jump, skydive, jet boat, raft and more!
Milford Sound – cruise through glacier-carved valleys in some of the most dramatic scenery of the country.
Aoraki Mt Cook – see New Zealand’s highest mountains and longest glacier.
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