New Zealand’s travel industry is a very congested place with a lot of options to choose from when you visit. Especially when you are looking at bus tours. When my travel partner and I were looking at bus tours we were faced with plenty of choice, from Kiwi Experience to Greyhound. They ranged in price and in format. Some were just simply jump on and jump off with nothing else included, while others, such as Flying Kiwi offered so much more.
By going on the Ultimate Explorer trip with Flying Kiwi I felt that I got the best experience of New Zealand that I ever could. Our guide and driver seemed to epitomise the spirit of the country; very laid back, very friendly and nearly always barefoot. They were very helpful, gave good advice and were always up for a laugh. The extensive itinerary enabled us to see all of the best bits of New Zealand within the time frame of one month. If you wanted to spend more time in certain areas then you were welcome to jump off for an extended break and get picked up again by the next bus.
The tour didn’t just venture to the well-known locations either. With the local knowledge of the guides and the unique ethos of the company we were taken to a variety of locations off of the beaten path that other tour companies wouldn’t necessarily go to. We often had the chance to take part in many optional activities which varied from skydiving to swimming with dolphins. All of these were booked (frequently at a discounted price) by our guides leaving us to sit back and enjoy the country.
One of the biggest differences with Flying Kiwi compared with other tours is that we would be sleeping in tents, cooking and eating as a group. These aspects made our experience that much more special. Sleeping in a tent meant that we could stay at much more remote and beautiful locations such as beaches and lakes. Although if you were not so keen on the tents, there was often the option to upgrade to rooms or cabins which were usually very good value.
The cooking only usually consisted of food preparation and gave us a good chance to socialise with the other members of the group. The food was enjoyable, very healthy and personally it adds so much to the experience to be cooking outside. One thing that became much more obvious as the trip went on was that as a result of all of the above, the group became close.
All in all, the trip proved to be amazing, mostly down to a combination of the guides, the good value, the stunning country and the amazing attitude of Flying Kiwi. I would recommend it to anyone looking to see and experience the true New Zealand and I would go back there in a flash!