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Kiwi Experience, Magic Bus or Stray Travel??

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Kiwi Experience, Magic Bus or Stray Travel??

1. Posted by AJH82 (Budding Member, 12 posts) 4 Apr '11 09:19

Hi all,

I will be travelling alone in early December around the South Island of NZ for 2 weeks and then heading over to Aus.

Starting and finishing in Christchurch i cannot decide which tour i should go on. I have seen a few old reviews of the Kiwi Experience, Magic Bus or Stray Travel and still cannot decide which would be best for me.

I'm 29 years old and I do enjoy having nights drinking but don't really fancy spending the whole time partying and being hungover.

I would really appreciate it if anyone had any recommendations regarding which tour to take.

Thanks,

Alex

2. Posted by Laurenh1983 (Budding Member, 19 posts) 4 Apr '11 09:25

hi

i travelled in nz through dec and jan with magic. really enjoyed it, well organised and no probs. i'm 27 and thought there was a good mix of people - kiwi is a lot younger and is known as the party bus so i'd suggest staying away if thats not what you want.

i think stray and magic are pretty similar - magic is slightly more established though

hope this helps

3. Posted by Sander (Moderator, 4384 posts) 4 Apr '11 11:28

Don't do a tour at all, but just travel from place to place with Intercity busses (or regional alternatives). It's cheaper (especially if you buy supersaver tickets in advance), you'll meet plenty of people in hostels along the way, have much more freedom to determine your own itinerary, and the busses go effectively anywhere you'd ever want to go, even stopping for the odd photo opportunity along the way.

4. Posted by hotdogfox (Budding Member, 37 posts) 4 Apr '11 11:49

Stray all the way!!

Stray take you to some awesome hostels, get you discounts on attractions and its even easier to make friends than through hostels :D Its a really good mix of people on the bus too, you will still have one or two nights out but its deffo aimed towards people who want to see NZ for what it is :D

5. Posted by AJH82 (Budding Member, 12 posts) 5 Apr '11 03:25

Thanks all for the advice. I think its either going to be Magic or Stray that i go with.

6. Posted by Emmett70 (Travel Guru, 534 posts) 5 Apr '11 03:31

One criticism I would make of Kiwi is that most of their drivers are just after as much commission as they can get so they really push the expensive activities and don't tell you about some cool stuff you can do which they don't get any commission for. For example I had a flying lesson in Kaikoura which was amazing but the Kiwi bus didn't mention that cos the flying school don't pay them commissions. A couple of their drivers are sound, but a lot of them are more bothered about making money for themselves than they are about ensuring their customers have a good holiday.

The Intercity buses are cheaper but the one negative about getting coaches is that you meet people in hostels and then the next day everyone heads off in different places. Whereas if you're on a tour bus then it's a set route so you all hang out together for a few days. In Australia virtually everywhere of interest is on the Coast so everyone you meet is usually going either clockwise or anti-clockwise so getting the coach works okay, but in NZ there's not a set route so if you travel by coach you might have to be flexible about your plans if you want to travel in a group when you meet people.

Also, I met people on the Stray bus when I was in NZ and they said they never had a problem getting booked on a bus, but with Kiwi they're pretty rubbish in that respect. I went to the East Coast loop as part of my Kiwi ticket and at one of the stops there were two dudes who had been stuck in one place for five days cos they couldn't get a space on the Kiwi bus. So in the end Kiwi just paid for them to get the normal coach, which was a total con seeing as how these two dudes had paid extra to go on the Kiwi bus. Overall, I'd say Kiwi aren't that professional a company.

7. Posted by AJH82 (Budding Member, 12 posts) 5 Apr '11 09:20

Thanks Emmett70!! I do think i wont be going with Kiwi experience so now will have to decide either Stray or Magic.

I dont want to be hanging around for days trying to get a bus :)

8. Posted by hotdogfox (Budding Member, 37 posts) 5 Apr '11 09:31

Its true about the 'unprofessionalism' of Kiwi, and what Emmett says about the drivers... After all, Stray was formed by one of the original people of Kiwi because of the direction Kiwi went! Obviously I'm biased towards Stray as I went with them, but have also heard only good things about Magic too... so your on a win-win :) Have fun !!!

9. Posted by AJH82 (Budding Member, 12 posts) 5 Apr '11 10:38

Thanks Fella (Hotdogfox) i just cant wait to get out there!! Buzzin!!!

10. Posted by remcorj (First Time Poster, 1 posts) 11 Mar '13 01:41

Stray travel is amazing.
I spent 2 months in NZ with stray, and this 2 months were the best from 8 months of traveling (australia, Nz and Thailand)

I know this post is old but if people read this, the can use this code on the website and they get 5% extra discount.
The discount code: -snip-

[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]