I'm hoping to travel Australias east coast and then onto NZ in around late Jan / Feb.
I was looking into these hop on hop off bus tours, that allow you to go round both islands for however long you want. i was wondering if anyone has done these tours? specifiaclly those with "kiwi experience"?
If so, can you recommend would you recommend them?
i was looking at the full monty one, covering everything but if i could cut it down to one of the other ones that may be more of an option.
People are generally pretty divided on these busses. Some love them, having a really good time hanging out with other travellers and rushing through the country in a short time while still seeing loads (without needing to do a ton of research beforehand), some hate them. The kiwi experience (as opposed to the magic bus and stray) has a reputation (not completely undeserved, though it varies from bus to bus and group to group, and there's always some exceptions) for attracting a younger crowd which is more interested in partying than in most other things.
Personally I went on a 2 day kiwi experience trip way back when in 2003 just to sample them, and found that they totally weren't for me. I hated the insistent promotion for activities (which they get a kickback on if you book them through them), and thought the added value of the stops and commentary on the road was close to zero (there was little I couldn't have found in my lonely planet), and so since then have preferred to make my own way through the country by rental car or regular public transport bus. (InterCity busses (as well as more regional alternatives) go everywhere you'd want to go, and work out significantly cheaper, especially if you take a pass with them, or are flexible enough to mostly travel on their supersaver tickets. (There's also naked bus, but I haven't used them personally.))
I have travelled in NZ with both Magic Bus and Stray and would recommend both. They don't try and promote activities in the way that it sounds like Kiwi experience to, but they can book activities for you if you like. There is no pressure to go out partying or drinking, but they are sociable enough so that you could find someone to go out with if you wanted to. I never liked the sound of Kiwi experience and I heard of several travellers who didn't enjoy their trip with them.
The main bus tours in NZ are stray and kiwi experience. I never did the bus tours, but I have friends that did and they really enjoyed them. I prefer travelling at my own pace more, and NZ is a really easy country to hitch hike around. My boyfriend and I hitch hiked around the entire country pretty much. We have written about NZ alot on our website... check it out if you want
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
thanks for the feedback, i will weigh up the options. i am up for partying and having a good time but i don't like the strong sales!
i will look into the intercity buses though and see how they weigh up in price.