So you’re traveling through New Zealand and wondering how to get around? I was once in your shoes my friend. I spent the first few days learning, the hard way, that in high season it’s hard to get a bed and that public transport buses usually leave quite early in the morning. Since my time there was short, I wanted to use it efficiently and didn’t want to spend my nights searching online for the next step. So that’s when I decided to take a tour bus, and am so happy I did. Here’s why:
- They guarantee accommodation.
In mid-February I wasn’t able to find accommodation in Auckland on a Friday night, even with three days advance notice, so I flew to the South Island, but unfortunately I also had a hard time finding accommodation in Queenstown. So I ended up going to the nearby town of Te Anau for the night. After learning that accommodation, especially on weekends, can be very difficult to get, I decided to go with a bus company because I really liked that they could guarantee a place to stay for the night, and they definitely came through on that.
- They make stops that would be impossible with a city bus.
There is so much beauty around every bend in New Zealand that it would be such a shame to drive by these scenic lookouts and not be able to stop for a photo. They make a lot of great stops that I had no idea even existed.
- It’s flexible and affordable.
There is a large range of passes and tours available. I chose a pass that was just under $400 and it stopped in at least ten different towns that I could’ve hopped off at. The fact that you can change your plans at any time is very appealing to the traveler who likes to keep things flexible. Although I didn’t hop off because I was on a short timeline, I saw others taking advantage of it and it seemed very user-friendly.
In case you’re wondering which tour I chose, I went with Stray for a few reasons. I read a lot of reviews on www.rankers.co.nz and I generally liked what people were saying. A few other companies are rated higher, and I was considering them, but due to cost and the start dates of their tours, it didn’t work for me. If you’re planning far enough in advance and have a bigger budget than I did, then I would probably consider Haka Tours because the reviews about them are excellent. I was also looking for a tour that attracted more mature travelers, unlike the Kiwi Experience, which seems to be more of a party bus. Stray met my expectations, and I had a great time and met some incredible people!
Save 5% on your Stray Tour!
If you decide to go with Stray, please contact me for my Stray code to get a 5% discount. It works for both Stray New Zealand and Stray Asia buses, but only for bus trips that are over $400. Thanks in advance for using it!