i'm a 21 year old (female) first time traveller, planning to start my trip with new zealand in april '12. After researching i have thought booking a bus tour with stray or the kiwi experience would be good idea, as i would ease me into travelling alone, and allow me to meet people etc.
but im not sure if i should just go on my own route and meet people at hostels etc, as it would probably work out at the same price.
but i have heard the kiwi exp is a 'party bus' which i would enjoy, but i also want to enjoy what scenery and activities the country has to offer, and not just get wasted all the time!
any advice is welcome!!
thanks, ellie x
I'm personally always in favour of doing things independently - renting a car or travelling by the same bus the locals use - as I know I'll meet plenty of people in the hostels I'll stay at. (Plus it's generally cheaper.) But if you enjoy the partying, then it sounds like the kiwi experience (or magic/stray, which also are still quite social) could indeed be a good fit for you.
To make certain you actually get to see and enjoy all the scenery, just make full use of the hop-on, hop-off nature of the bus, stopping over for a day or two extra at selected places along the route (not just at overnight destinations, but particularly at halfway points on the route) to explore them on your own, before catching the bus to the next destination. If you do that, you do miss out a bit on the feeling of a group travelling together and getting to know each other, but if you stay long enough, you'll still get to meet up with other people you've seen before every so often.
I'd recommend going alone, and perhaps just booking one of those Stray/Kiwi Experience bus tickets that allow you so many transfers whenever you like, rather than a whole tour. That way you're at you're own pace and can spend as much time as you'd like without being stuck to a strict itinerary.
No doubt you will meet heaps of travelers at hostels.
I met this girl at the Hotel I worked at and she had an unlimited bus pass, and she hopped on and off whenever she liked, she met other travelers and traveled with them for a bit, she kept in contact and they all split up and then met up again in another part of the country.
All the best for your travels,
If you need any other advice let me know