Kiwi Experience - North to South (Sheep Dog Bus Pass)
- Get the ultimate Kiwi Experience on a hop on hop off bus around New Zealand’s North Island and South Island.
- The Sheep Dog bus pass starts in Auckland and ends in Christchurch showing you all the best bits in between.
- The freedom to explore on a gap year in New Zealand at your leisure with a 12 month bus pass.
- Travel with like-minded travellers.
You’d be barking mad to miss out on this fantastic hop on hop off Sheep Dog bus pass which will take you to the most exciting areas of New Zealand in North Island and South Island. Starting in Auckland your ride will take you down to the West Coast of the South Island before venturing back up to Christchurch.
Being a one-way pass means it can be done in just 13 days in the summer which is great if you want to see a lot but don’t have a lot of time. Don’t let that stop you though – if you have got more time you can hop-on, hop-off along the way and like all our New Zealand bus passes you’ve got 12 months to complete your trip.
Interested and want to find out more? Download more trip information and detailed itinerary HERE!
Auckland to Mercury Bay (Whitianga)
Spend the afternoon at the beach or kayaking!
After visiting the Kiwi Experience office and Mt Eden (one of many dormant volcanoes in Auckland) we head towards the Coromandel Peninsula and spend the afternoon at Cathedral Cove; accessible only on foot or by kayak. This beautiful coastal spot is great for swimming, sea kayaking, and spotting dolphins if you’re lucky. Provided the tides are right we may also check out Hot Water Beach and dig our own hot pools.
Mercury Bay (Whitianga) to Rotorua
Check out New Zealand’s gold mining history and rocket down a hill, on the way to the Maori culture capital of New Zealand
After an early start our first stop is the Karangahake Scenic Reserve to explore a native bush-clad gorge, swing bridges and the history of gold mining in New Zealand. On arriving into Rotorua you will have the chance to go luging or zorbing before experiencing a traditional Maori hangi (feast) and concert in the evening with Tamaki Tours - a night not to be missed!
Rotorua to Waitomo
Experience the glow-worms, underwater caves and forest walks of Waitomo.
Today we start with a visit to Te Puia - a large geothermal reserve with New Zealand’s largest geyser, and a chance to see our famous Kiwi bird. Next it’s onto Waitomo caves (wai meaning water, tomo meaning cave) which are made out of limestone (basically 40 million year old dead fish). We spend the afternoon checking out the Ruakuri reserve. Apart from glow-worms in caves, you will see stalactites, cave coral, fossil oysters and other crazy stuff like tubing and rafting 40 metres underground!
Waitomo to Taupo
A popular backpacker destination, with New Zealand’s biggest lake and plenty to keep you occupied!
The bus departs late today so that you have enough time to experience the caves! Other adventure activity options include the brand new Ruakuri Cave walk, which is an engineering masterpiece. Around midday, we leave Waitomo behind and head for Lake Taupo, which is known as the adventure capital of the North Island with skydiving, bungy jumping, jet boating and the spectacular Tongariro Crossing!
Taupo (extra day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Taupo because there’s so much to do there. If you’re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.
Enjoy a sleep-in (for those not doing the Tongariro Crossing) and experience one of the many activities on offer. A walk down to Spa Park to relax in the natural hot springs by the river is a great way to spend the day (or night). Alternatively if you have time head off on our 'East As': 4 day, 3 night unique add-on trip around the East Cape, which takes you to places few tourists get to see.
Taupo to River Valley
Visit Tongariro National Park, take and enjoy some stunning free walks before arriving at River Valley Adventure Lodge
We head south around the “great lake” towards the Tongariro National Park for a picnic lunch and a two hour walk through native bush and waterfalls. In the afternoon we travel through to the ultimate adventure lodge - River Valley, situated amongst towering cliffs and bush-clad hills. The lodge offers grade five rafting on the Rangitikei River, scenic horse riding, and a small golf course. Spend the evening enjoying the delicious roast dinner and relaxing by the open fire.
River Valley to Wellington
New Zealand’s capital city is full of culture, cafes and cable cars!
We head away late after a morning white water rafting or horse riding, and head throughthe rolling hills full of deer, cattle and sheep. We arrive in Wellington late in the afternoon. This city is the undisputed capital of culture, the arts, restaurants, fashion and nightlife. It’s home to the largest cultural attraction in New Zealand, Te Papa Museum, which is well worth a look (and it’s free).
Wellington to Picton to Nelson
Travel across the stunning Cook Strait to the seaside town of Picton, then on to the golden beaches of Nelson.
You can choose to take the Interislander ferry across to the South Island, through the magnificent Marlborough Sounds; or arrange a flight. Travel via the Pelorous Bridge to Nelson, New Zealand’s sunniest city. Nelson’s a great place to jump off the bus and explore the Abel Tasman National Park. There is an option to explore New Zealand’s youngest National Park by foot and camping, or by kayaking with some adventurous locals of the area.
Nelson to Westport
Snow-capped mountains and adventure activities on the Buller River
We visit the Nelson Lakes National Park for a walk in some awesome beech forest and to view one of the more spectacular lakes in the area, surrounded by beautiful snow capped mountains. En-route to Westport we meet the team (and Rata the dog) from Buller Adventure Tours where you can experience the best value for money jet boating and horse trekking in New Zealand.
Westport to Lake Mahinapua
Continue down the West Coast via the world famous ‘Highway 6’ and be treated to some amazing sights.
Today we cruise down the spectacular Highway 6 that stretches along the rugged Tasman shoreline. The road winds along diverse landscapes, which never cease to amaze both locals and visitors alike. Highlights include the Cape Foulwind seal colony, rugged beach walks and the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. Tonight your Driver Guide will arrange a group meal for you at the Mahinapua Hotel, known as the legendary “Poo Pub”. It’s an awesome evening of fancy dress and a good way to get to know your fellow travellers.
Lake Mahinapua to Franz Josef
Incredible views of glaciers towering over subtropical rainforests.
Our first stop this morning is the Bushman’s Centre, where you will get an insight into how people make a living on the coast with helicopter deer recovery, old timber-milling techniques and possum trapping. We then head through to the Franz Josef Glacier Village, nestled in the Westland National Park.
Franz Josef (Extra Day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Franz Josef because there’s so much to do there. If you’re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.
Today is your chance to hike on the Franz Josef Glacier, rated as one of the top three activities to do in New Zealand, by Kiwi Experience passengers. You could also take the option of a heli-hike, and be flown up the glacier, or take a more sedate approach and explore the various walks in the area.
Franz Josef to Wanaka
Take the time to chill out by Lake Wanaka.
We start out early in order to catch the perfect mirror reflection of Mt Cook and the Southern Alps on Lake Matheson. We then cruise down the last stretch of Highway 6, stopping at popular scenic spots along the way. Then it’s into Mount Aspiring National Park, arriving in the awe-inspiring destination of Wanaka in the afternoon.
Wanaka to Queenstown
Adventure capital of New Zealand…and the world!
It’s only a short drive today through to New Zealand's adventure capital, Queenstown. Highlights include Puzzling World, skydiving over Lake Wanaka and stopping at the world’s first commercial bungy site - the Kawarau Bridge. On arrival in Queenstown you can book all activities and confirm onward bus travel at Base, as well as get a group photo with all your new West Coast mates. Then it’s out on the town exploring Queenstown’s infamous nightlife with all the crew!
Queenstown (Extra Day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Queenstown because there’s so much to do there. If you’re short on time, you can always skip this extra day, timetable allowing, and get to the next stop sooner.
Queenstown is rated as one of our passenger’s favourite spots to hang out in New Zealand. Take the time to spend a few days here as it is one of the most picturesque places in the world. Make the most of the beautiful lake and surrounding walks, or get into a whole range of adrenalin pumping activities. If there was one activity that you couldn’t miss it would be the day trip to Milford Sound, commonly referred to as New Zealand’s most beautiful spot!
Queenstown to Lake Tekapo
We head out of Queenstown, through the Lindis Pass, so get your cameras ready because this is ‘Lord of the Rings’ territory. After dropping people in Twizel for the connection to Mt Cook, we travel through to the amazing aqua blue Lake Pukaki, with a stunning view of Mt Cook. We stay overnight in Lake Tekapo right on the shores of the lake itself. There's plenty to do here, from relaxing at the lakeside, soaking in the hot springs or going on one of many scenic walks.
Lake Tekapo to Christchurch
Head to the 'garden city'! We have a straight run into Christchurch, the largest city on the South Island.
Please Note: Due to the recent earthquake in New Zealand, this itinerary is subject to change without prior notice. Whilst we will always try and notify you of any changes prior to departure, this is not always possible and is outside of the control of ourselves or our in-country operators. We ask that you are remain open-minded and understanding to any itinerary changes that may occur during your travels with us.
New Zealand is extremely popular in terms of tourism, especially with backpackers due to its diverse range of geographical features, extreme sports and cosmopolitan cities. It is one of the most recently populated major landmasses, settled by the Maori’s in the year 1000. The Maori language native to New Zealand is named Aotearoa, Land of the Long White Cloud.
New Zealand consists of two main islands, the North and the South. The North Island, home to the major cities: the capital Wellington and “The city of sails” Auckland is mainly volcanic in origin boasting many seismic features such as geysers and hot springs. The South Island is separated down its length by the Southern Alps, the highest point of which is Mount Cook/ Aoraki. For a landmass that is a little larger than the UK, the population is only 4.1 million - which makes the ratio of sheep to people 10:1! However, this means that despite the huge number of visitors that travel to New Zealand every year it never really feels crowded.
So if you want to pump up your adrenalin, bask in the peace and tranquillity of Milford Sound or cruise dramatic bays spotting dolphins and whales... New Zealand is the place for you!
- Bus pass valid for 12 months
- 24 hour emergency assistance
- Detailed pre-departure information
- Extensive tour information provided by bus staff
- Cathedral Cove, Coromandel
- Secrets of Bungy, Queenstown
- Karangahake Gorge
- Ruakuri Walk
- Taranaki Falls
- Nelson Lakes National Park
- Cape Foulwind
- Punakaiki Pancake Rocks
- Lake Matheson
What's Not Included
- Personal travel insurance
- The cost of the ferry crossings between the North and South Islands if your bus pass travels around both islands
- Extra activities, excursions and transport during free time not listed under 'What's included'
- Accommodation and meals
Additional Information & FAQ's
Minimum Age & Eligibility
Minimum 18 years
Accomodation & Meals
Accommodation is not included in this bus pass, however your bus driver will be able to tell you the best places to stay at great backpacker rates!
Meals are not included in this bus pass.
What If I'm Travelling On My Own?
Most people are! You will meet so many other travellers on the buses, the people are one of the best parts!
What Is Included?
Bus transport, free activities during the day stops, huge discounts on other activities and the services of an excellent driver!
How Long Should I Travel For On This Pass?
We have guidelines for minimum travel times to help you plan your stay in New Zealand, whichever bus pass you choose!
How Do I Get Between The North & South Islands?
Your driver will be able to help you plan this, you can either take the ferry or a short flight.
How Do I Book My Accommodation?
Your driver will help you with this along the way and make recommendations of great hostels.
Visa courier service
If you prefer to use a specialist visa courier service to apply for your visa on your behalf, we recommend Visa Central who can offer you assistance and advice, making your visa application straight forward.
To investigate costs for this service click here to select the country or countries that you wish to travel to.
When Do I Want To go?
Showing all departures (1)
|Programme option||Dates of Departures||Price (land only)|
|Kiwi Experience - North to South (Sheep Dog Bus Pass)||Unknown Date||£349||Book Now|