Kiwi Experience Vs Stray: Which Backpacker Bus to Travel New Zealand?

It's the ultimate showdown Stray versusKiwi experience which backpacker bus should you take to travel New ZealandPlus we're giving you three tips to get an awesome deal when buying your passall of that coming up in this video hi we're Robin and Laura the team behindbackpackerguide.

NZ helping you plan an epic backpacking trip in New Zealandsince we probably the only one that have travelled extensively between bothcompanies today we're comparing backpacker buses by talking about strayand Kiwi Experience the two hop-on hop-off bus company in New Zealand but firstthings first what exactly is hop-on hop off hop on hop off is like a bus tour but moreflexible and like Coach buses hop-on hop-off take you on a guided tour along thespecific route with an emphasis on social experiences and activities aroundNew Zealand let's take a concrete example then every bus company in NewZealand does the same route between Auckland to Paihia we'll walk throughwhat exactly happens on the specific trip when taking a hop-on hop-off busbetween Auckland and paihia you'll probably be picked up around 8:30 from youraccommodation then you hop on the bus for by the two-hour journey two Whangareithere you'll have about thirty minutes to stretch your legs and explorethe beautiful Whangarei Falls also you'll be able to use the bathroom thenyou get back on the bus for the next leg of the journey that would bring you upto a kauri forest there you'll have another 30 minutes to stretch your legsand probably hug a massive kauri tree then you are back on a bus for the last legof the journey you're arriving Paihia around midday which gives you plenty oftime to choose what will be you paid activity tomorrow you can choose betweenskydiving swimming with dolphins and taking the best tour all the way to thetop of New Zealand you will be able to purchase all those activities directlyfrom your bus driver on the other hand if you were to take a coach bus which inNew Zealand is either intercity of manabus this would just be a straight tripbetween Auckland and Paihia with a few quick pit stops along the way your busdriver will offer you commentary and it will only take you about four hours toget up to Paihia you'll get commentary's as well doing your hop-onhop-off tour but the bus driver will also take the time to tell you more but theactivities you can purchase from him in your next destination and this is one ofthe main difference between hop-on hop-off and classic bus tours likeContiki or G adventures activities are not included aside from a few hikes anda couple of very cheap ones the other major difference between standard bustours and hop-on hop-off bus tours is that with hop-on hop-off you get theopportunity to hop off the bus anywhere along the route and we'll talk aboutthis anywhere later but should you want to spend some time exploring aparticular area you get the opportunity to do that with a hop-on hop-off bus asopposed to a standard bus tour where they have set itineraries and set traveltimes with that out of the way let's see how Kiwi experience and Stray stackup against each other round one itinerary one way to compare the hop-onhop-off bus companies is by simply looking at where the buses go are thesethe type of destinations that you want to visit in New Zealand are these NewZealand destinations on your bucket list essentially both companies follow thesame routes around New Zealand with a notable exception of the east coast ofthe north island that stray includes in their most expensive passes but KiwiExperience doesn't but that's not really a big deal since you can purchase ahop-on hop-off like two of the East Cape in rotorua through a company called EastAs on their main itineraries both companies claim unique overnight stopsover the other while being pretty close to major landmarks that both strayand Kiwi experience passengers get to visit for instance in the CoromandelPeninsula Kiwi experience stay in hot water beach while Stay stays in Haheiwhich is literally a stone's throw away from each other and both passages can goand check out the cathedral cove and in Abel Tasman where both companies stayon the edge of the national park just in neighboring town now speaking of uniquestops both company have some real hidden gems Stray stays in Raglan which isthe surf mecca of New Zealand in Lake Aniwhenua which is an awesome true Maoriexperience in Blue Duck station which is a Kiwi farm and in Gunn's camp in theheart of the Fiordland National Park Kiwi experience stays in Waitomo world-famousfor its glow worms stays in River Valley which is one of the best whitewaterrafting you will get in the country in Lake Mahinapua which is hard topronounce but awesome as an overnight stop and in Dunedin which is a Citythat Stray doesn't visit and remember that you can hop off the bus anywhere alongthe main route even if the bus doesn't officially stay there the night and wereally recommend taking advantage of that so that's the end of round 1 to some upboth company have essentially the same itinerary and about the same amount ofunique stops so it all comes down to personal preference what do you want todo the most for example I love white water rafting so I go with Kiwi experience togo to River Valley Laura cherishes any chance she has toconnect with a Maori culture should she pick Stay to go to Lake Aniwhenuawith that we have to give a point to both companiesround 2 the people taking the hop-on hop-off bus around New Zealand is alsoabout the social experiences with like-minded travellers so it's prettyimportant to know what type of passengers you're going to be sharingyour trip with while both company attracts mixed crowd a pattern tend toappear in terms of passenger Kiwi experience seems to attract biggercrowd of 18 to 25 years old mostly from Europe the UK while stray attracts slightlyolder 20-something passengers mostly from Europe the UK again they'reeverywhere Stray passengers seems to be more intohiking and kind of natural or cultural experiences while Kiwi Experience passenger arereally keen on jumping on activities and long night over the bonfire becauseevery single bus crowd is different here's our tip if you're not gellingwith the crowd on your bus just hop off for the next destination stay there awhile and then when the next bus comes pop back on and you'll probably have atotally different experience other than that if we have to choose a winneraccording to bus size Robin and I would probably go for stray because we prefersmall and intimate groups whereas Kiwi experience tends to have a larger groupon the bus round three flexibility in this round we're gonna look at theflexibility of both Stray and Kiwi Experience network through two mainconditions unlimited travel and guaranteed accommodation yes bothcompanies claim unlimited travel where you can travel along the route as manytimes as you want for the same price however this does come with some termsand conditions attached one of these conditions is priority when you'retravelling on the bus route for the first time you are considered a prioritypassenger meaning that you simply book your spot on the bus and it's prettystraight forward from there however if you're traveling for the second third orfourth time on the same network you will lose your priority status meaning thatif a priority passenger needs your seat you will have to give it up and take abus at a later date this often happens in summer that'sright in summer the buses are usually fully booked so it's a good idea to bookyour seat on the bus a couple of weeks in advance and on another notethe buses actually only travel in one direction on the route so with unlimitedtravel you'll have to travel on the bus again and again in the same directionsimply because the buses don't go the other way and one more condition yeahsome of these sections are operated by partner bus company rather than Strayand Kiwi experience you cannot redo those sections and Stray adds one morecondition stating that you cannot hop off along those routes in short takethis unlimited travel claim with a grain of salt now about guaranteedaccommodation when you are guaranteed one night of accommodation in anyovernight stop your arriving it can be really tricky to extend yourstay and get more night of accommodation in summer or peak season yes the hop-onhop-off system doesn't really seem to work in summer when the accommodation isusually fully booked after that first night of stay and usually have to waitto the next available bus that's actually not fully booked before you canhop back on the bus again and this sort of takes the ease out of travel and whyyou bought the bus pass in the first place so with such tight terms andcondition we declare no winner especially not the passenger round 4price so with those nitty gritty issues out of the way our final comparison isprice Kiwi experience has a slight edge on price because they include an activityin their national pass the milford sound cruise which Stray doesn't and Stray also you need to pay an extra 70 to 80 dollars for accommodation ontwo of their overnight stops but never buy a pass at full price they're alwayson sale always so make sure to check what kind of deal you can get on the dayyou want to purchase now a good way to compare bus buses is to actually try towork out how much does it cost you per day of travel the easy way is to takethe price of your pass and to take the amount of suggested day of travel that'sfor example 30 then you're gonna divide the price by 30and get a price per day of travel you know that you can't give you a good ideaKiwis parents should be around $35 while strain should be around $40 it's nosurprise that Kiwi experience take the win on this round because there are alwayscheaper and any comparison we can make and that brings us to a deadlock to behonest Laura and I did not expect to come up with the time we really thought we'dgot a clear winner out of those four rounds but here we areso last night we scrambled and went on our Facebook group where you guys canexchange tips and talk to us and we asked you to vote so on this Facebookgroup we turned to you guys people which are actually currently traveling withStray and Kiwi Experience and we asked you to rate you experience with those companiesbased on value for money good times and ease of travel which brings us to roundfive the readers vote but we don't really have a script for that so hereare the scores Kiwi experience was scored by you guys six point one out often and Stray was scored by you guys six point three out of ten for goodvalue for money good times and ease of use so here you are with a narrow win onround five Stray is our ultimate winner but such a narrow win should come as awarning to you guys stray and Kiwi experience are very similar and it's alittle bit like picking ice cream chocolate and vanilla everybody has anopinion everybody has a preference it always come down to personal taste sohave a look for yourself and make your own decision also if you're short on timeyou may want to consider Contiki or G adventure and if you do have a lot oftime in New Zealand you may like the flexibility of national coach buses like Manabus and intercity so make sure to do your research but wait there'smore as promised here are three tips to save money on your backpacker bus passfirst off book your bus pass when you are in New Zealandoverseas resellers on these bus passes notorious for selling them at a muchhigher price than what you can find in New Zealand and in the past we've evensee Kiwi experience advertise different prices to people visiting from overseason their website compared to people who are visiting from New Zealand secondyou want to book your bus pass in a low season between April and August we seethe patterns every year and you can save up to 60% off when booking in the middleof the winter but wait it's ok you can book up to 12 months before your firsttravel and you pass would be then activated on your first travel givingyou 12 months of travel so you have nothing to lose just all not to save andthree choose one of the seven national bus passes that stray and Kiwiexperience have to offer rather than just the small sections of the countrybecause these passes offer much greater value for money and if you do want toventure off the main hop-on hop-off route just get yourself a quick trip onintercity or manabus from A to B and there is more where that comes fromin BackpackerGuide.

NZ we have heaps of article about hop on hop offbus how to budget and even some more ways to save money when you book so makesure to check it out it's www.


nz so what do youthink of the hop on hop off buses in New Zealand did you try them did you likethem comment below and share your experiences with everyone and if you dohave any other subject that you would like us to cover with a BS free videolike this one comment below let us know we'd love to connect with you guys wereally hope that this video was super helpful to you and this would make yourtrip in New Zealand even easier we have heaps of video like this on our channelso subscribe below and check out New Zealand's biggest gap year where wechallenge ourself to tackle 365 activities in only in 365 days it'sabsolutely epic and it will help you make the best bucket list ever foryour trip down under you.

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