Sheepdog Bus Pass - Kiwi Experience

Travel flexibly around New Zealand and see both islands in just 17 days - this bus pass is great if you're tight on time! Plus, you can hop on & off where you like!

Auckland, New Zealand
17 days
Start time
Please see bus timetables
Minimum age
18 years
Not included
Start & finish location
Start: Auckland Finish: Christchurch
FromNZD $1099
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What's Included

  • Flexible travel around New Zealand
  • Hop on hop off where you like
  • Start in Auckland, finish Christchurch
  • Pass valid for one year
  • Best price guarantee on activities
  • Accommodation guaranteed 
  • Knowledgeable local guide & driver

What's excluded

  • Accommodation cost
  • Meals
  • Activities


Why do we love this

"We love Kiwi Experience because they have over 25 years of experience in the industry - these guys know what they're doing! They're also the country’s largestleading, most legendary bus experience and probably the best way to see New Zealand!"


The Sheep Dog Itinerary


This is a flexible travel pass around New Zealand. The Sheep Dog is a one-way pass starting in Auckland winding its way down the North Island, cruising down the West Coast of the South Island before making its way across to Christchurch. Being a one-way pass this route can be done in just 17 days during summer, which is great if you are short on time but want a jam-packed adventure! But this pass is valid for 12 months so you can really take your time seeing all that New Zealand has to offer. Check out the Sheepdog stops below.


DAY 1: Auckland to Hot Water Beach


Departing Auckland in the morning we head to the Coromandel Peninsula for an afternoon spent at the beautiful Cathedral Cove. Here you can go for a swim, try kayaking or just chill out on the beach (keep a look out for dolphins!). Next up is Hot Water Beach, one of the top ten beaches in the world (according to Lonely Planet), here we'll grab a spade and dig our own natural hot tubs. 


DAY 2: Hot Water Beach to Waitomo


We'll hit the road bright and early, towards our first stop of the day, Karanga Hake Scenic Reserve. Explore abandoned gold mines and learn about New Zealand's gold mining history. After which it's on to Waitomo ("wai" meaning water and "tomo" meaning hole) home of the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Feeling brave? Then head underground with the adrenaline-fuelled Black Water Rafting company! Leap off waterfalls, swim through caves and discover what makes these little glowworms so special.


DAY 3: Waitomo to Rotorua


We'll start the day with a scenic walk through Ruakuri Reserve (one of the top 10 short walks in New Zealand) before heading onto Rotorua. Along the way we'll make a pit stop at the Shire so you can explore the magical Hobbiton Movie Set, not just one for the Lord of the Rings fans! That evening we will visit Tamaki Marae for a unique Maori cultural experience. We'll feast on a delicious hangi (food cooked underground) and enjoy a traditional performance from the locals at Tamaki Maori Village. Alternatively, you can visit Hells Gate and soak in the geothermal hot pools.


DAY 4: Rotorua to Taupo


Today we'll explore the geothermal reserve of Te Puia home to New Zealand's largest geyser and native Kiwi bird. On the road again, we'll make a pit stop at Taupo's mighty Huka Falls. Once at Taupo you'll discover why this stop is such a hit with backpackers, known as the adrenaline capital of the North Island, take the opportunity to go skydiving, sailing on Lake Taupo (New Zealand's largest lake) or tackle the infamous 19km Tongariro Crossing!


DAY 5: Free day in Taupo


Today would be the perfect day to take on the Tongariro Crossing. On this 8 hour hike you will be blown away by the spectacular scenery, passing the Emerald Lakes and Mount Ngauruhoe aka Mount Doom, this really is a hike not to be missed! Fancy taking things a little easier? Then spend the day at Spa Park soaking in natural hot springs.


(We add this extra day as there is just so much to do in Taupo! Short on time? You can skip this extra day, timetable allowing.)


DAY 6: Taupo to River Valley


This morning we head around Lake Taupo to the World Heritage Tongariro National Park for a picnic lunch and walk through native bush and waterfalls. In the afternoon we drive off the beaten track to the picturesque location of River Valley. Sitauted deep in a valley, surrounded by towering cliffs, the River Valley Lodge offers access to heaps of outdoor activities including grade 5 rafting on the Rangitikei River, scenic horse riding and many exhilarating hikes. After a jam-packed day outdoors, spend the evening relaxing by the fire and enjoy a delicious roast dinner.


DAY 7: River Valley to Wellington


We head out a little later after a morning of outdoor activities. We'll arrive into New Zealand's capital, early evening, here you can get a flavour for Wellington's buzzing bar scene by indulging in a few drinks. We reccommend jumping off the bus here and spening a couple of extra days exploring, because there is simply so much to do! Check out the Te Papa Musem, visit the Beehive (New Zealand's parliament building), climb Mt Victoria and discover the filiming secrets behind the LOTR at Sir Peter Jackson's Weta Workshop.


DAY 8: Wellington to Abel Tasman


We leave Wellington early that morning for our ferry crossing to the South Island across the Cook Strait and through the spectacular Marlborough Sounds - keep a look out for dolphins along the way! We take a scenic drive through vineyards towards New Zealand's sunniest capital, Nelson. After a pit stop for snacks and supplies we head to the beautiful beach town of Kaiteriteri on the edge of Abel Tasman National Park. Definitely stay an extra day here if you can there are so many stunning bays to explore and water activities to do like, swimming, kayaking and sailing.


DAY 9: Abel Tasman to Westport


We head out a little later today, so that you can spend the morning enjoying more of Abel Tasman's golden beaches. Take a kayaking trip out to 'Split Apple Rock', spotting marine life along the way or catch a water taxi to one of the national park's secluded bays and take a stroll around New Zealand's native bush. That afternoon we will stop at legendary Nelson Lakes so you can get your 'insta' pic, jumping off the famous wharf! We'll then head through snow-capped mountains and past the Buller Gorge before reaching the West Coast. We'll spend the night at the surf town of Westport where you can learn to ride the waves or have a go at stand up paddle boarding.



DAY 10: Westport to Lake Mahinapua


We'll journey along the picturesque State Highway 6 along the rugged Tasman coastline. That evening we will stay the night in a traditional West Coast pub, where everyone will get their costumes ready for the infamous "Pu Party", we'll feast on a delicious dinner and party the night away!


DAY 11: Lake Mahinapua to Franz Josef


Start the day with a hearty breakfast at Lake Mahinapua before continuing south past the Southern Alps to glacier country. Franz Josef is the northern gateway to Te Wahipounamu, the Southwest New Zealand World Heritage area. This region includes Aoraki/ Mount Cook, Mount Aspiring, the Fiordland National Parks and many more. It's truly spectacular. 

DAY 12: Free day in Franz Josef 


Today is your chance to hike the impressive Franz Josef Glacier, rated as one of the top three activities to do in New Zealand by Kiwi passengers. If you don't fancy hiking the glacier, you have the opportunity to take a scenic helicopter flight, go horse back riding, quad biking or enjoy one of the many walks in the area. We add this extra day in because Franz Josef really is an awesome spot, so whatever you do, get out there and make the most of it!


DAY 13: Franz Josef to Wanaka 


Another early start, but it's well worth it. We head out in the morning to catch the reflections of Mount Cook and the Southern Alps on Lake Matheson. We then head to the breathtaking Southern Lakes region, where we have time to relax and take in the beautiful surroundings. After which it is on to Mount Aspiring National Park arriving in the glorious town of Wanaka for the afternoon.


DAY 14: Wanaka to Queenstown


Before we leave Wanaka it's time to wake up those hungover heads at Puzzling World! After all those brain teasers, feel free to snooze on the coach before we reach the adrenaline pumping Queenstown. Our first stop is the World Home of Bungy - the 43 metre Kawarau Bridge jump! Are you brave enough to jump? Next we'll head into town and down to the beautiful lake front, afterwards we'll venture to some of Queenstown's infamous bars and sample the town's buzzing nightlife. It really is the adventure capital of the world.


DAY 15: Free day or more in Queenstown


Queenstown is one of the coolest places in New Zealand and has been voted as one of our passengers' favourite spots - so take your time here! Explore the lake, take scenic walks, ride the gondola to the top of Bob's Peak and just soak it all in. Be sure to get involved with many of the adrenaline activities on offer such as jet boating, bungy jumping, white water rafting and skydiving - you won't regret it! But one activity that you just can't miss is a day trip to Milford Sound. Milford Sound is a spectacular fiord that is often considered the Eighth Natural Wonder of the World. You can take a 2 hour boat trip across the waters marvelling at spectacular waterfalls and you may even spot Humpback whales.


However, if you are short on time you can skip these days. Timetable permitting.


DAY 16: Queenstown to Lake Tekapo


Today we head out of Queenstown through Lindis Pass also known as 'Lord of the Rings' territory. After stopping to admire Mount Cook at Lake Pukaki, we travel on to Lake Tekapo which is surrounded by the snow-capped Alps and underneath one of the clearest skies in the world (perfect for stargazing). You have the opportunity to hop off the bus here and head up to Mount Cook with your new mates*.

*Please note this is an additional overnight's stop and would not fit in the minimum 21 day timetable.

In Lake Tekapo you can enjoy scenic walks, relax by the lakeside, soak in natural hot springs or go stargazing at the world's largest dark sky reserve.


DAY 17: Lake Tekapo to Christchurch


Today we are heading to the largest city on the South Island and 3rd largest in New Zealand. Christchurch is a city that is rebuilding and flourishing in the wake of the 2011 earthquake, with new shops popping up every day (including the South Island's first H&M) and quirky street bars, Christchurch is full of surprises. Spend a bit of extra time here and drive north to the marine mecca of Kaikoura for the day. Kaikoura is renowned as one of the best coastal wildlife regions in the WORLD! Here you can spot whales, dolphins and seals, the name itself, Kaikoura means to eat crayfish ('kai' meaning to eat, 'koura' meaning crayfish).


Places to jump off and stay for longer (for those with heaps of extra time): Taupo, Franz Josef and Wanaka.



*Bus timetables*


Please contact us directly for bus timetables.



Start Point:
End Point:

Spend the afternoon walking or kayaking to Cathedral Cove, and then soak in the natural springs at 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.

Check out New Zealand’s gold mining history before travelling on to experience the glowworms, underwater caves and forest walks of 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.

Last chance to explore Waitomo on the Ruakuri bush walk before heading to Rotorua, the Maori culture capital of New Zealand.

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!


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!

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).

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.

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 throught 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).

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.

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 to go for a morning stroll 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 surf town Westport.

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. Tonights unique accommodation is a chance to enjoy a delicious group meal and bond with your bus mates.

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, the Fiordland National Parks, and surrounding conservation lands. 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.

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.

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.

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 its on to the world’s first commercial bungy 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!

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.

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 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.

A day of contrasts from snowy peaks to fertile plains home to the Garden City.

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.

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1. Buy your Kiwi Experience flexible bus pass.

2. Book in your start date with us!

3. Let us help you plan your own personalised itinerary of where you are going.

4. Jump on board the Big Green Bus.

5. Book your accommodation and activities daily as you travel around New Zealand.

No all your accommodation costs are additional to your bus pass.

But once you’re on the bus, you have guaranteed accommodation for the first nights stay in each new location along your bus pass itinerary. In some locations the bus stays two or three nights, your accommodation will be guaranteed on these nights too. If, you choose to hop-off the bus and stay longer in a location, your driver can book your extra nights for you. You don’t need to book in advance, your driver guide will take care of this for you each day on the bus so you can travel as flexibly as you like. 

No but we have great rates!

We have lots of mates, so as soon as you’re on board the bus, you will get best price guarantee on all activities along the route. Your driver guide will book your activities for you on the bus each day so you can decide what tickles your fancy in each location. In the peak of summer, New Zealand activities are hugely popular and we promise you a spot in the line!

No, but loads of the places we stop at including hostels have excellent meal deals & cheap drinks!

Also known as hop-on hop-off, flexible travel means there is no set-in-stone itinerary. If you want to hop off for a few days in a certain destination, simply hop off, then hop back on when you want! Basically, it allows you to personalise your trip to suit you and spend as much time as you want in each destination. 

Kiwi Experience is New Zealand’s leading flexible travel network, providing the ultimate hop-on, hop-off bus adventure tours for over 28 years and counting. Travel with us and get your own personalised itinerary, best price on activities and guaranteed accommodation, plus NZ’s iconic spots and heaps of low cost and free stuff to do along the way! The most fun and flexible way to travel NZ.

When you buy your pass you’re given the option of selecting a start date, or leaving the pass open dated. 

If you have an open dated pass, get in contact with Kiwi Ex soon as you know the date you wish to start your Kiwi Experience. The more notice you give us, the better for you! If you are just wanting to confirm your booking call or email us to let us know where you will be staying.

To book onto your first bus you will need to contact the Kiwi Ex reservations team either by emailing or giving them a call. 

12 months to begin, 12 months to travel!

Once you’ve purchased your Kiwi Experience bus pass you have 12 months to begin your travel, and then once you start you have 12 months to complete it

You will notice that each pass has a minimum travel time. This is the fastest possible time you can complete the pass. We highly recommend you spend longer than this, at least adding on a week or two to the 'minimum' time stated on your pass.

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Kiwi Experience
85 Beach Rd, Auckland Central, Auckland 1010, New Zealand


FromNZD $1099
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