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Old 18.04.2012, 16:07
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Travel in New Zealand

I would like to plan a trip to New Zealand but won't have a long time to do so. I will have between 4-5 weeks to see as much as i can and experience the kiwi way of life! Travelling during the NZ summer. As i will most likely be travelling on my own i am considering the following 3 companies: Kiwi Experience, Magic Bus and Stray.
Does anyone have experience travelling with these companies? Advice on travelling around NZ? It seems the tours cover the most in the short time frame.
Looking forward to your replies!
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Old 18.04.2012, 16:44
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Re: Travel in New Zealand

We went last year and hired a campervan to visit both islands in 3 weeks (easily possible). Great country.

Must visit:-
White Island via Helicopter - we were the only people on the island and it is a seriously amazing place. Saw Manta Rays and Dolphins from the Helicopter on the way back (use White Island Helicopter - top company).

Glow Worms Caves - was quite a strange sight, although the guide was saying it should be called Glow Maggots but the tourists didn't like that.

Lake Te Anau was wonderful, we took a boat out around Milford sounds and I even saw a pesky Kea when waiting at the tunnel - brilliant.

Dunedin - Yellow Eyed Penguins were lovely, saw loads of them at the center, but we also saw some at Oamaru coming out of the sea at dawn. Wasn't impressed with the Albatross center after seeing the Penguins, very commercial and you could only see 1 - 2 from that building with mirror'd glass - bit rubbish.

Kaikoura - Take the whale tour, we saw 3 sperm whales and lots of dolphins, the weather was perfect, totally amazing and really lucky to see so many of these creatures.

Arthurs Pass was a great drive.
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Old 18.04.2012, 16:45
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Re: Travel in New Zealand

You should be able to see plenty in that amount of time!

My advice would be to get away from the main cities and explore the rest of the country. Able Tasman is probably my favourite area - you may well get an entire beach to yourself if you don't mind carrying your own pack, and summer is beautiful there. Some of the best white sand beaches are to be found on the East Coast of the north island, with rugged black sand ones on the west of the south.

Sorry, I have no particular knowledge of the companies you mentioned (never had need for them) other than knowing of Kiwi Experience due to some bad press over a couple of accidents a few years ago.

You can do much of the travelling in NZ independently though (and you won't have a problem meeting friendly folk)....the naked bus company is a pretty cheap and easy way to get from point to point and build your own itinerary:
http://nakedbus.com/nz/passport/

Now if only I could contort myself to fit into your backpack.....
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Old 18.04.2012, 16:56
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Re: Travel in New Zealand

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I would like to plan a trip to New Zealand but won't have a long time to do so. I will have between 4-5 weeks to see as much as i can and experience the kiwi way of life! Travelling during the NZ summer. As i will most likely be travelling on my own i am considering the following 3 companies: Kiwi Experience, Magic Bus and Stray.
I used one of those companies but definitely not Kiwi Experience as I wasn't an 18yr old party-animal who had no interest in New Zealand.

I was really against it but I had camping gear and a paraglider with me and so hitching was a bit difficult.

Some people stay on the bus the whole way around and use it like a coach tour (seems more like an old-persons holiday to me)
The way I used them was to get a ride from one place to another I wanted to explore and then stay there for a few days and then pick up the next bus coming through for the next stage of my journey.

This way I was travelling at my own speed but with the ease of a bus service that would pick-up and drop off at campsites (or hostels etc). You just arranged the next pick- up with a phone call (probably online now)

I also met some great people whom I travelled with for a few days.

I would look at some online reviews for the different companies and select one that seems to cater for people with your own kinds of interests or way of travelling.

It was a better way of travelling than public transport as enroute, you got to stop off at places that whilst interesting, wouldn't warrant a day of your trip to see (which would have been the case if you went by public transport).
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Old 18.04.2012, 17:15
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Re: Travel in New Zealand

My favorite tour company is Intrepid Travel, which specializes in "green", small group travel, and they offer lots of options throughout the world.
The type of accomodation will depend on the level of the tour. But if you're someone who likes 5-star accomodations, then this company won't be for you.

They do have a 22-day trip for 3025CHF which will cover the entire country.
http://www.intrepidtravel.com/trips/PTRAC#itinerary for a sample itenirary. The rest of the site is easily navigable.
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