Have you heard of Kiwi Experience? We wouldn’t be surprised if you have, especially if a trip to New Zealand is on your travel wish list. At a basic level, it’s a hop on hop off bus that can take you all over New Zealand, to hard to reach spots and party hubs, and help you meet like minded travellers on your journey.
But Kiwi Experience is more than that. In their own words: “We know when to stop the bus and soak it in, and when to keep on driving and leave the tourist traps behind. We’ll show you New Zealand’s big highlights, and incredible places so hidden even Peter Jackson couldn’t find them.”
At the heart of Kiwi Experience are their amazing driver guides who are passionate about sharing the best of New Zealand with you. We asked one of them to spill the beans on their top tips for New Zealand travel, their favourite overnight stops and what where to find the best pies. That’s right, we ask the right questions.
Around 4.5 million people live in New Zealand. To put that into perspective, in the UK around 8.5 million people live in London alone. Which means New Zealand has a lot of empty, open space and, even more importantly, that open space is really quite beautiful.
A simple equation tells us that not many-people + beautiful open space = perfect hiking opportunities. Throw the fact that Kiwi land is peppered with breathtaking lakes, out of this world mountains and some wonderful coastlines, and there’s really no reason why you’d want to explore any other way than on foot.
Follow the yellow brick road to New Zealand's best hikes | Image by chris.murphy
Lakes so blue you’d think they’d been photoshopped if you hadn’t seen them with your own eyes, mighty ancient glaciers, rolling green hills, snow capped mountains and rugged beaches where you can spot whales and dolphins playing between the waves.
If you like a bit of breathtaking beauty thrown in with your travel experiences then this could be your little slice of heaven. Here are our favourite ways to really get the very best from your time.
Watch the whales in the ocean off Kaikoura.
Now, before you bite our heads off, let us explain what we mean. There is definitely more to New Zealand than the stops included on these itineraries (we’ve neglected the north coast of the South Island for example), and the timings are, to say the least, ambitious.
But, if you don’t have the luxury of 3 months in New Zealand, you can use these routes to plan a trip that takes in the highlights. If you’re lucky enough to have even more time, you can build and expand on these to create one epic adventure around the whole country. So here we go, one route for the North Island and one for the South Island, taking in the best that New Zealand has to offer.
Itching to race down dunes, take on a glacier hike or slice through snow some-place far, far away? From the tip of Cape Reinga down to the wildlife-rich Stewart Island, New Zealand’s got you covered – and so do we.
All you’ve got to do is pick your season of choice and hold on to your helmet!