Hi, am planning to go to NZ from mid Aug to the end of Sept and trying to work out the best mode of transport. Has anyone driven around NZ in a van? Will we be freezing in that time of year. What are the pro's and cons?
Also has anyone taken a bus around like Magic and what did you think of it? Also does anyone have an idea of how much money we will need?
If I were you I'd hire a motorhome if your budget will stretch. It's by far the best way to see everything. It's not too cheap, but remember it includes your accommodation and your transport! Also, you are going in the deep 'off-peak' time, so you might get a good deal.
Maui and Britz are the big boys, but try Pacific Horizon - they are about 20% cheaper and were very good for us. There are several other operators who do Transit-sized vans, including http://www.nzmotorhomes.co.nz/home.html who do some nice little 2-berths.
It will not be warm in the winter, but if you stay away from the alpine area in the south, you won't freeze, although remember the climate is similar to the UK, so take some waterproofs!
Can't comment on the bus services, but we saw a lot of the Kiwi Experience ones about.
there were threads before that said that the kiwi experience wasent that good, theres alot of pressure to go out drinking every stop over so most of the trip is spent hungover, also you could get stuck somewhere when theres no available places on the next buses. the magic bus is supposed to be better, they say that if you give them 24 hours notice they will have a seat for you even if they have to put on a bus just for you.
i say im going to go with the magic bus when i get out there.