hey everyone just wanted some advice form you guys. I have travelled before around oz, and next time want to do NZ. I have thought of doing the kiwi experiance and just wondered if anybody else has done this. I just wanted to know what it was like, how easy it is, etc. I also wanted to know if it is easy to make buddies on it, and do you tend to stick together on it. Thanks very much for your time guys on this matter
Kiwi Experience has a reputation for being filled with horny 18-year olds more interested in being drunk and getting laid than for seeing anything of the country. It's locally known as the party bus, the fuck-truck, the big green slut machine and other such colorful descriptions.
There's also plenty of people who travel with the kiwi experience who have the time of their life on it, use it and its ready network of people to hang out with to its fullest effect while not letting themselves be dragged down, and recommend it highly to anyone and everyone.
A lot depends on the particular crowd you end up with (although it's relatively easy to switch crowds just by remaining behind in any given destination for a day longer) and most of all on your own personality.
I traveled with kiwi experience for three days to try them out and see what they were like. Basically, they were not for me. The party-party-party atmosphere didn't affect me at all as I simply stayed in a different hostel, but I got quite thoroughly fed up with the driver constantly trying to sell various activities at the next destination (for which they, naturally enough, get commission). Getting everyone to stay at the same hostel is also part of this. Most of all however I came to the conclusion that for me the Kiwi Experience didn't add anything of value to my experience. The driver told all the things that I'd already read about in my Lonely Planet, and took me to all the destination that I was already going to see anyway. It really is a tour. Probably quite useful if you're arriving totally unprepared and only have a short time to see the country (although in that case I'd probably recommend the Magic Bus over the Kiwi Experience). Seen purely as transport it's a lot more expensive than taking the local buses (which go to even more destinations even more often), and for me it didn't offer anything worthwhile back for that money.
Making buddies is meanwhile pretty trivial at any hostel, so I'd say you don't need the kiwi experience for that. And if you want to travel together with anyone else for a longer time, there's always a ton of people looking for the same on any local hostel's notice board.
If you type "Kiwi Experience" into the search bar you'll get about 100 answers to this question - but Sander basically sums them all up - if you like partying and want a bit of a tour then go for it, otherwise do something else.
Other options include Stray Bus (I did this for a few weeks and it was quite good, less party-oriented and more outdoorsy than Kiwi Experience), Magic Bus (similar), or buying a national bus pass and taking scheduled services - it's worth doing a bit of research.
My friend and I went with the Magic bus earlier this year and loved, loved, LOVED it!!! The drivers were knowledgeable without being boring, the activities were amazing witout being too expensive and the other people on the bus were great fun without being vomitting teenagers!
Magic over Kiwi any day!!!
However, it's New Zealand! You'll have a blast even if you ride around it on a pushbike!
Jax - what time of year did you go to NZ and what pass did you do? Im contemplating either doing Kiwi Experience or Magicbus and seeing as you loved it I would like to know more...thanks!
my danish mate just got married to her irish boyfriend that she met on a kiwi experience bus 5 years ago so its not all bad.
for all the flexibility you want ie. if you dont like the other passengers take the stray bus, its hop on-hop off plus you can spend longer in the places you like.they organise more stuff to do with the locals than any other company and go to more out of the way places as well as the main ones. the drivers rock and what more can i say?