- Explore New Zealand's North and South Islands
- Start in Auckland finish in Christchurch
- Flexible travel around New Zealand
- Hop on hop off where you like
- Pass valid for one year
- Best price guarantee on activities
- Accommodation guaranteed
- Knowledgeable local guide and driver
- Accommodation cost
Why do we love this
We love the Bay of Islands exclusion on this pass. It's one of the most beautiful spots in New Zealand, and with this flexible bus pass, you have the option to stay a few days!
WHAT TO EXPECT
See the best of New Zealand's North and South islands with this flexible bus pass. The Zephyr Pass takes you past New Zealand’s big highlights and up north to the stunning Bay of Islands. You'll get to see all of the iconic spots in New Zealand and so much more!
This is a flexible bus pass, meaning you can get on and off when you like! You will need to start in Auckland and finish in Christchurch, but you can pick and choose your stops as you go. You have one year to travel, and can take as long as you like! 19 days is the minimum amount of time you can take this trip in.
Here are some of the epic stops you can enjoy on the Zephyr Pass:
Day 1 - Auckland to Paihia
Departing Auckland, we stop at Whangarei Falls on our way North, arriving in the Bay of Islands around midday. Check out the sights surrounding Paihia, including NZ's most historical location Waitangi - the 'Birthplace of the Nation'.
Northland is rich in history and Maori culture and with its crystal clear water, huge kauri forests, and plentiful islands to explore - you will soon see why Kiwi Experience heads up north. Swim with the dolphins, ride out to the famous hole in the rock, or go kayaking, sailing, fishing, diving, snorkelling, or just relax on the beach!
Day 2 - Paihia to Auckland
Squeeze in those activities you haven’t completed yet before heading back to Auckland.
Departing mid-afternoon, you have the best part of the day to experience one of the many activities on offer in the Bay, or simply chill on the beach with a good book.
The drive back to the “big smoke” is relaxed and we have you back in the city in time to find some dinner and hit the town.
Day 3 - Auckland to Hot Water Beach
After visiting the Kiwi Experience office, 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.
We then carry on to Hot Water Beach (rated one of the top ten beaches in the world by Lonely Planet) where you can head out with your shovel at low tide to dig your own hot pool in the sand.
Day 4 - Hot Water Beach to Waitomo
After an early start, our first stop is the Karangahake Scenic Reserve to explore a native bush-clad gorge, swing bridges and a bit of New Zealand’s gold mining history.
Next, it’s onto Waitomo ('wai' meaning water, 'tomo' meaning hole) where you will get the chance to visit world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves. If you're feeling adventurous, here is your chance to go underground and experience one of our top-rated NZ activities with The Legendary Black Water Rafting Co.
Day 5 - Waitomo to Rotorua
We start the day with a walk through the Ruakuri Reserve and a breakfast stop at the Long Black Café before heading off toward Rotorua. Along the way, we will stop at The Shires Rest where you can jump off and take a tour through the enchanting Hobbiton Movie Set.
Tonight, don’t miss the chance to stay overnight at Tamaki Marae, where you can experience a traditional Maori hangi (feast) and concert with Tamaki Maori Village – a night not to be missed!
Day 6 - Rotorua to Taupo
A popular backpacker destination, with New Zealand’s biggest lake and plenty to keep you occupied! The first activity of the day is exploring the geothermal reserve of Te Puia, with New Zealand’s largest geyser and a chance to see a real live Kiwi bird.
The afternoon journey includes a stop off at Taupo’s famous Huka Falls. Taupo is rightly known as the adventure capital of the North Island with optional activities on offer such as skydiving, bungy jumping, jet boating, sailing and the spectacular Tongariro Crossing!
Day 7 - Taupo (Extra Day)
We recommend staying an extra night in Taupo because there’s so much to do! 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).
Day 8 - Taupo to River Valley
Today we visit Tongariro National Park to enjoy some stunning free walks before arriving at River Valley Adventure Lodge later in the day.
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.
Day 9 - River Valley to Wellington
New Zealand’s capital of cool is full of culture, cafes and cinema!
We head away late after a morning white water raft or horse ride and head through the 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).
Day 10 - Wellington to Picton to Abel Tasman
Travel across the stunning Cook Strait to the seaside town of Picton, then on to Kaiteriteri where the beautiful golden sand beach is on your doorstep.
We take the Interislander ferry across to the South Island through the magnificent Marlborough Sounds. Travel through vineyards to Nelson, New Zealand’s sunniest city, then on to Kaiteriteri at the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park. Kaiteriteri is a great spot to begin an adventure (on foot, by kayak or by water taxi) into Abel Tasman National Park.
Day 11 - Abel Tasman to Westport
Travel through snow-capped mountains and fantastic lakes on your journey towards the wild West Coast.
Spend the morning kayaking out to Split Apple Rock and along the golden bays near Kaiteriteri, looking out for the local marine wildlife or catch a water taxi to one of the bays in the Abel Tasman National Park. Go for a morning stroll here in the native New Zealand forest!
This afternoon we stop at the iconic Nelson Lakes on the way to Westport so you can get your legendary wharf jumping shot before hitting the surf town.
Day 12 - Westport - Lake Mahinapua
Explore the rugged West Coast of NZ, see the Pancake Rocks and spend the night in a traditional West Coast pub!
Today we start our journey down spectacular State Highway 6, that stretches 435 kilometres along the rugged Tasman shoreline. The road winds through a diverse series of landscapes which never cease to amaze.
Highlights today include the Cape Foulwind seal colony walk, rugged beaches, and the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. Tonight's unique accommodation is a chance to enjoy a delicious group meal and bond with your bus mates.
Day 13 - Lake Mahinapua to Franz Josef
Continue along the beautiful West Coast of New Zealand through forests and past the towering Southern Alps to glacier country.
After breakfast at Lake Mahinapua, we hit the road on our way to Franz Josef. Franz Josef is the northern gateway to Te Wahipounamu, the Southwest New Zealand World Heritage area. The region includes Aoraki/Mount Cook, Westland Tai Poutini, Mount Aspiring and the Fiordland National Parks. We factor in a free day in Franz Josef so that you can get out there and experience what Franz Josef has to offer. It’s a wicked spot and whatever you get out and do, you will be blown away by the views of the glacier and Alps.
Day 14 - 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 Franz Josef Glacier, rated as one of the top three activities in New Zealand by Kiwi Experience passengers. You could also enjoy a scenic heli-flight over the glacier, go horseback riding, kayaking or explore the various walks in the area.
Day 15 - Franz Josef to Wanaka
Journey to the magical Southern Lakes region to take the time to chill by beautiful 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.
Day 16 - Wanaka to Queenstown
Your destination today is the adventure capital of New Zealand…and the world! What more do we need to say!
Before we leave Wanaka get your brain working at Puzzling World and then it's on to the world’s first commercial bungee site - the Kawarau Bridge. Only the brave will sign themselves up for this iconic NZ activity.
On arrival in Queenstown, we will head down to the spectacular waterfront before it’s out on the town exploring Queenstown’s infamous nightlife with all the crew!
Day 17 - 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 one of the most amazing places on Earth. No matter what time of the year it is rated as one of our passenger’s favourite spots. 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 The Eighth Wonder of the World.
Day 18 - Queenstown to Lake Tekapo
Discover the untouched beauty and crystal clear skies in the world's largest dark sky reserve.
We head out of Queenstown, through the Lindis Pass, so get your cameras ready because this is ‘Lord of the Rings’ territory. After stopping to admire Mt Cook at Lake Pukaki, we travel to Lake Tekapo with its amazing location by the snow-capped Alps and clear starry skies. Lake Tekapo has something for everyone - relaxing at the lakeside and taking in the untouched view, soaking in the hot springs, discovering one of the many scenic walkways or checking out the mind-boggling stars in what is the world’s largest dark sky reserve.
Day 19 - Lake Tekapo to Christchurch
We have a straight run into Christchurch, our largest city in the South Island and the 3rd largest in New Zealand.
Witness a city rebuilding and flourishing in the wake of the 2011 earthquakes. Check out the funky Re: Start Mall and keep your eyes peeled for the sweet pop-up bars around the city.
The minimum travel time for this pass is 19 days. This is the time it would take you to complete the trip if you did not hop-off the bus and stay at any location. We recommend you make the most of your New Zealand experience and hop off and stay a few days in your favourite areas!