Kiwi Discovery Pass
Hop on this New Zealand bus tour and hop off the beaten track!
Book now for £49
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Group Size: Avg 20-30
Trip code: NZKD
Duration: Up to 12 months
Are you looking for the ultimate New Zealand travel adventure? Snap up this open-dated, hop-on-hop-off bus pass valid for 12 months of flexible travel in NZ! See all the highlights of New Zealand's North and South Islands, experience local culture and try amazing activities en route. You can complete the tour route in as little as 30 days or you can hop on and off wherever you want for up to a year. Enjoy highlights including the Bay of Islands, Wellington, Rotorua, Queenstown, Tongariro NP, Lake Taupo, Franz Josef Glacier, Stewart Island and Lord of the Rings country. Whether you are looking for culture, relaxation and sensational scenery in unspoilt New Zealand, or you want to turn up the dial with some action and adventure, this flexible bus tour has it all!
- See all the amazing highlights of New Zealand’s North and South Islands in one flexible round trip from Auckland, as you make new friends on this fun Kiwi Discovery!
- This open-dated, hop-on-hop-off bus pass is valid for 12 months: Enjoy unlimited stop offs and travel for a whole year or complete the tour circuit in a minimum of 30 days
- Visit the beautiful Bay of Islands, stop off in bubbling Rotorua and spend the night on an authentic country farm
- Trek in Tongariro National Park, explore Wellington, discover Abel Tasman National Park, travel along the rugged West Coast and visit impressive Franz Josef Glacier
- Have fun in Queenstown, the adventure and party capital of NZ, be awed by the natural wonder of Milford Sound, visit historic Gunn’s Camp, hop across to unspoilt Stewart Island and spot wildlife at Kaikoura
Valid for 12 months, your bus pass allows you to spend up to a year exploring New Zealand, or if you prefer you can complete the entire tour route in a minimum of 30 days (although we recommend you allow around 38 days to make the most of your travel pass experience).
You don't have to start in Auckland! You can start and end at any stop along the route!
You should arrange your arrival into Auckland the day before the tour begins, as there is an early start in the morning!
Auckland to Paihia, Bay of Islands. Your flexible, hop-on-hop-off tour begins today at 7am in the lively city of Auckland. Your destination is the relaxing seaside town of Paihia, known as the ‘gateway to the Bay of Islands’. Visit Parry Kauri Forest Park.
Paihia to Cape Reinga and Back. Stop off at Te Paki Stream to try some inclusive dune surfing and sandboarding, before arriving at Cape Reinga. Please note: Today is a round day trip from Paihia and you cannot hop off the bus today.
Paihia to Auckland. Today is a free day to relax and enjoy Paihia at your leisure. Join a boat cruise, sign up to swim with dolphins, laze on the beach or hike to the famous Harura Falls. In the afternoon, the bus will take you back to the bright lights of Auckland.
Auckland to Hahei. Travel south to the stunning Coromandel Peninsula and settle into your beachfront accommodation. Head over to Hot Water Beach to dig and relax in your own personal hot water pool! (weather & tide dependent)
Hahei. Free day to relax and soak up the beautiful surroundings and awesome optional activities of Hahei.
Hahei to Rotorua. Journey through the rolling hills of the Waikato region. Opt to visit The Lord of the Rings Hobbiton set. Free day to relax and explore in geothermal Rotorua.
Rotorua to Lake Aniwhenua. Maori guided tour, activities, meals and stay at Lake Aniwhenua (optional: extra cost of NZD89). Optional activities include: traditional fishing, eeling, weaving lessons, cooking classes and kayaking (cost NZD10-20).
Lake Aniwhenua (via Taupo) to Whakahoro. See the stunning Huka Falls then visit Lake Taupo. Optional skydiving (approx NZD250). Rural country farm visit and overnight stay.
Whakahoro. Explore the countryside around the rural country farm. Optional activities include a 4x4 tour, a horse trek or kayaking.
Whakahoro to Raetihi. Explore the Tongariro National Park. Option to do legendary 1-day Tongariro Crossing Alpine Walk (extra cost). Stay overnight at a historic Nurses’ Home in Raetihi.
Raetihi to Wellington. Travel to Wellington. Free time to explore New Zealand’s capital city.
Wellington to Marahau (Abel Tasman National Park). 8am ferry to South Island (extra cost of approx. NZD55). Visit to Marlborough wine-making region (optional wine tasting). Final destination of the day is Marahau, on the edge of Abel Tasman National Park.
Marahau (Abel Tasman National Park). Explore Abel Tasman National Park. Optional activities on offer include sailing, kayaking, skydiving, stand up paddleboarding or hang gliding. All optional activities are at an extra cost.
Marahau to Franz Josef. Journey along the rugged west coast. See the seal colony at Cape Foulwind and the unusual Punakaiki Pancake Rocks with their impressive blowholes. Stop off at the mining town of Greymouth and Hokitika en route to Franz Josef.
Franz Josef. Free day to explore the area around the fantastic Franz Josef Glacier. Join a guided bush hike, or enjoy a heli-hop and tour of the unique icy area, including entry to hot pools (extra cost of NZD250).
Franz Josef to Wanaka. See Lake Matheson, travel through Haast Pass and Makarora, see Lake Hawea then end up in Wanaka in the late afternoon.
Wanaka to Queenstown. Early walk up Mount Iron or skydive (skydive extra cost). On to Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world! Spend 2 unforgettable nights here.
Queenstown to Gunn’s Camp. Start early for a scenic drive past Lake Wakatipu, before arriving in magical Milford Sound. Opt to do a Milford Sound boat cruise (extra cost) before travelling on to Gunn’s Camp.
Gunn’s Camp to Invercargill/Stewart Island. Take a leisurely stroll through beautiful beech forests on a Viewing Gantry walk. Travel South to Invercargill. Hop across to Stewart Island (ferry at own cost) or stay in Invercargill overnight instead.
Invercargill/Stewart Island to Queenstown. If you stayed on Stewart Island, enjoy a free morning before travelling back to the mainland (ferry at own cost). If you chose to stay in Invercargill overnight, you’ll head out on a tour sea-lion, penguin and dolphin spotting. Travel back to Queenstown.
Queenstown to Aoraki/Mt Cook. Arrive at the base of New Zealand’s highest mountain Aoraki/ Mt Cook in the early afternoon. Take a short walk, join a 4WD tour or visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre.
Mount Cook to Rangitata (via Tekapo). Journey through ‘Lord of the Rings country’ and stop off at the sparkling waters of Lake Tekapo. Take an optional hike up to Mt John observatory for a killer view. Tonight, stay in an original sheep station in Rangitata Peel Forest.
Rangitata to Christchurch. Optional white water rafting or horse riding this morning. Spend the night in the wonderful city of Christchurch.
Christchurch to Kaikoura. Journey up the beautiful east coast to Kaikoura. Spot seals, soak up the spectacular views, swim with dolphins or go whale-spotting (seasonal).
Kaikoura (via Picton) to Wellington. Travel along the wild coast, stopping at a seal colony en route to Picton. You can choose to stop off here, or catch a ferry (extra cost of NZD51-75) across the Cook Strait to Wellington.
Wellington to Auckland. Leaving at 6.40am, you’ll zip back to your starting point in Auckland today, arriving in the late afternoon. Here your epic hop-on-hop-off adventures come to an end!
Don’t forget, you can hop on and off along the route for up to a year!
Please Note: This itinerary is for guidance only and is subject to change. There are lots of extra, optional activities on offer all along the tour route and all optional activities are at your own, extra cost. Ferry costs are not included in your trip price.
Please note all activities, itineraries and routes are subject to change
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You should plan your own transport to arrive in Auckland for the start of your bus tour. As day 1 begins with an early 7.00am bus departure, you will need to plan your arrival in to Auckland for the previous day before the tour starts, and arrange accommodation at your own cost. We can help advise you about accommodation in Auckland, just ask one of our travel advisors for more information. The flexible tour route ends back in Auckland.
Accommodation and meals are not included as part of this hop-on-hop-off bus tour. Each stop-off on the bus route offers unique accommodation options, which we offer our travellers at a reasonable cost, with a typical night costing about NZD25-30 for a dorm room and NZD60-80 for a twin or double room*. We reserve accommodation in all our overnight stops so you’ll be guaranteed one night’s accommodation in each overnight stop if you want it. If you wish to take advantage of this offer, tell your guide/driver and they will book it for you, and you pay as you go.
If you wish to choose your own accommodation, or want to stay longer in any of the locations along the route, to make the most of your 12 months flexible bus pass, then you are free to select your own accommodation and your guide can help you with advice and booking.
Our reserved choice of accommodation along the route is exclusive to this tour, and offers unique and amazing places to stay. These include a variety of hostels, wilderness lodges and cabins in amazing off the beaten track locations as well as on a sheep station, a country farm, rainforest lodges and in a Marae (a Maori meeting house)!
The optional night at Lake Aniwhenua is NZD89 including accommodation, bed and linen, a tour of sacred Maori rock carvings, a Marae experience, community activities, afternoon tea, dinner and breakfast.
*Please note: in peak season twins and double rooms may have limited availability.
Most of the recommended accommodation en route offers self-catering facilities, and the tour stops off at supermarkets so you can stock up on supplies. Group meal options are sometimes offered. Vegetarian options are readily available.
The minimum age to take part in this bus tour is 18.
Visitors who are transitting through or entering New Zealand as tourists will need to hold an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) before travelling to New Zealand. Tourists will also need to pay an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) alongside the ETA. Tourists can enter for up to 6 months. People entering New Zealand on a Working Holiday Visa do not require an ETA.
If you are planning on working at all during your time in New Zealand, you will need to apply for a Working Holiday Visa (available to 18-30 year olds) and can do this by visiting the New Zealand Immigration website.
Visa rules and regulations are subject to change. Please check the relevant embassy websites for up to date information.
This trip is designed with your safety and wellbeing in mind. As a result of Covid-19, many of our suppliers and partners around the world are introducing new policies and procedures surrounding health and safety in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. As the state of travel is evolving these new safety measures will adapt over time, and will be different for each trip. Here are some of the changes you may see on your trip:
Arrival safety meetings
Most trips have an arrival meeting on the first day where the guide or local team will run through the trip, the safety protocols, and to answer any questions you may have. Now more than ever it is important you arrive in time for these meetings.
Proof of vaccination or negative covid test
For the safety of all travellers, at the start of some trips you may be required to show evidence that you are fully vaccinated (14 days after your second dose) and/or show evidence of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of the tour start date in order to join the programme.
Updated hygiene and safety procedures
Our suppliers and partners have health and safety procedures in place on all of our trips. These protocols will be updated and adapted as a response to the Coronavirus outbreak, dependent on local restrictions and laws.
Transport and accommodation choices
Our suppliers and partners choose the accommodation and transport on our trips very carefully, and you may see a change to what would normally be used as a response to the outbreak. This may involve such changes as enhanced use of private transport or quieter accommodation.
Trained and knowledgeable staff
Our staff in the UK are trained to help you with your trip before you depart and answer any questions you may have. In addition, the local team and guides on our trips are there to help with any health and safety concerns and to ensure our trips run safely and smoothly.
Reduced group sizes
Some trips will run with reduced group sizes to start with. You may find that trips are more intimate and chilled, whilst still being packed with fun and adventure.
Your guide or the local team will be on hand to help you seek medical attention should you require it during your trip. As medical facilities and standards can vary around the world, you should ensure you have adequate travel insurance in place before you depart to cover you for any medical emergencies.
24/7 emergency support
We operate an emergency phone line for our travellers abroad. This is operated by a UK based member of staff 24/7 if you have a genuine emergency or urgent matter that you need attending.
It is important that you take measures to make travelling safer for yourself and others around you. Ensure you frequently wash your hands, cover your face when you sneeze and cough, bring and use your own hand sanitiser and facial coverings/masks, and enable social distancing where necessary. You should also ensure you listen to the instructions and guidance of the local team at all times, and follow all local laws and restrictions.