Best Activities with Kiwi Experience – My Favorite Activities

by Katja Kaven

If you’ve ever heard about Kiwi Experience, the original hop-on-hop-off bus in New Zealand, you’ve probably also heard that they offer a lot of activities. Since they work together with a lot of different operators, they can book you onto activities on short notice and also give you discounts most of the time. Since there are so many activities to choose from, I’m going to give you my thoughts on some of them. These are the best activities with Kiwi Experience I’ve done during my time on the big green bus.

Disclaimer: I wrote this blog post solely because I love sharing cool experiences. However, after reading some of my other posts, Kiwi Experience reached out to me and set me up a discount code to share with you. Use “kiwiexperience5” for 5% off all passes (even those on promo). I don’t make any money from it, so this is really just to save you some money!

Pro Tip: You’re going to spend a lot of money on activities. There is just so much to do. Also, it can be really tempting to sign up for activities when the clipboard goes around on the bus. In order to not go bankrupt, download the Kiwi App before your journey and figure out which activities you definitely want to do and how much money you need to put aside for them. Then, give yourself a little extra budget to play around with.

For example, I was only planning on walking inside of the caves in Waitomo but when almost everyone on my bus signed up for the 3-hour tour, I decided to join them and had a great time.

Tip: If you’d like to follow along with my life after traveling, follow me on Instagram here.

1. Skydive in Taupo

There’s just something about jumping out of a plane from 15000 feet. The feeling is indescribable. Therefore, there was no question in my mind that this has to be added to the best activities with Kiwi Experience.

I’ve been wanting to do a skydive for years, but I am so glad I waited to do it in Taupo. The view is absolutely stunning – on a clear day, you can actually see the whole Lake Taupo which is as big as Singapore.

There is not list of the best activities with Kiwi Experience without Skydiving.
Just a tiny part of the huge Lake Taupo

I’m not gonna lie, the moments before your jump are scary. Very scary. But everything happens so quickly that before you even know it, you’re already in the air. After about a minute of freefall, you get to enjoy the breathtaking view for another few minutes. Overall, the only bad thing about my experience skydiving was that it was over way too quickly!

Kiwi Experience Price: 359$ (215€) for just the jump; video is extra

There is not list of the best activities with Kiwi Experience without Skydiving.
I had the most amazing time!

2. Swimming with Wild Dolphins – a close second of the best activities with Kiwi Experience

In Kaikoura, I did one of the most special experiences in my life so far. For the dolphin swim, you’ll be taken out to the sea with a boat. On the way, we already passed dozens of dolphins. When the guides think they found a playful group, they’ll let you go inside the water.

This was such a crazy experience; the dusky dolphins come up to you real close, swim circles around you, and see if you can keep up with them. I even had a mom and her baby swim up to me. What I liked best about this experience is that the dolphins were wild, and they weren’t forced to swim with you, they were just curious.

My friend Megan who I shared a GoPro with took this amazing video

After your swim, you watch them play around in the water, doing lots of acrobatics. Dusky dolphins are actually the only dolphins able to do backflips without being trained. If this isn’t one of the best activities with Kiwi Experience, I don’t know what is! I actually did this a second time when I came back to Kaikoura in January of 2019.

Kiwi Experience Price: 175$ (105€)

3. Tamaki Maori Village

This is the most New Zealand specific activity you will do. Additionally, you can choose to go to the evening experience to this rebuilt Maori Village or even stay overnight. Read my blog post about whether it is worth spending the extra money on the overnight stay here.

Definitely one of the best activities with Kiwi Experience because it is unique to New Zealand.
The Haka

Whatever you choose, you’ll have an amazing time. I did the overnight stay and even after almost two months in New Zealand, this is still one of my favorite days I’ve had.

Kiwi Experience Price: 95$ (60€) for the evening experience, 185$ (110€) for the overnight stay

4. Horse Trekking in River Valley – another one of the best activities with Kiwi Experience

There are a lot of places in New Zealand where you can go for an amazing horse trek. I chose River Valley because the horses there are ridden according to Natural Horsemanship. Which means that they don’t have a bit.

I hadn't been riding in years, so this was definitely one of the best activities with Kiwi Experience for me.
Me on my horse Mr. T

It was a lot of fun to learn how to properly ride horses without a bit. Additionally, the views on our trek were breathtaking. We rode through the mountains, across fields with sheep and cows coming up to us. It doesn’t get any cooler than this!

Kiwi Experience Price: 169$ (100€)

Some of the views on our trek

At the River Valley Lodge, where we went horse trekking as well, I’ve had some of my favorite vegan food in New Zealand. For more, check out my blog post on being vegan on Kiwi Experience here.

5. Tongariro Alpine Crossing

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is a 19.4 km tramping track close to Taupo. It is one of the most beautiful day hikes in New Zealand (check out the best walks in New Zealand here). Therefore, make sure to spend enough time in Taupo if you want to do the crossing, as it is highly weather-dependent and gets canceled a lot of the times.

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is not only one of the best activities with Kiwi Experience but also one of the best hikes in New Zealand.
Casually strolling through a crater

If it is on, you’re in for a treat though! You’ll be picked up by a shuttle nice and early at 5:10am in the morning. Then, after a 1 ½ hour drive, you’ll reach the Tongariro National Park where your adventure begins. The nature is beautiful, and the hike is a lot of fun. You’ll pass craters, lakes, and forests on your way.

Kiwi Experience Price: 70$ (40€) for the shuttle

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is not only one of the best activities with Kiwi Experience but also one of the best hikes in New Zealand.
At the summit
These views definitely deserve a spot on the list of the best activities with Kiwi Experience
Some of the views on the way down

Not quite the best activities with Kiwi Experience but still a lot of fun

Nevis Swing

When in Queenstown, the action capital of New Zealand, you just have to do some kind of adrenaline rush activity. So, I decided to try the Nevis Swing together with a friend. 60m free drop and a 300m arc – this was a lot of fun! It was actually way worse watching other people doing the swing than doing it ourselves.

Kiwi Experience Price: 195$ (120€) as a tandem

One of the best activities with Kiwi Experience in the adventure capital Queenstown
Getting ready for the swing…
Glow Worm Caves

In Waitomo, there are different options to explore the glow worm caves. I opted for the 3-hour tour. Seeing glow worms, jumping down waterfalls, and floating in the dark – this was an amazing experience. (Even though in the end, I was physically hurting because of the cold water)

Kiwi Experience Price: 122$ (75€)

Floating through the caves
Surfboard Hire

In Westport, you have the opportunity to take a surfing lesson or hire a board if you have some experience. This was actually my first time surfing without a guide. I didn’t catch as many waves as I did in Bali, but it was still a lot of fun.

Kiwi Experience Price: 40$ (25€) for surfboard hire, 75$ (45€) for surf lesson

Hole in the Rock Cruise

I’ve read a lot of good things about this cruise in the Bay of Islands prior to coming to New Zealand. It was a nice trip for sure, but it didn’t blow me away.

Kiwi Experience Price: 96$ (60€)

That’s the famous hole in the rock

In conclusion, there are a lot of great activities you can do with Kiwi Experience. I hope this blog post helped you decide which ones to choose. Please, feel free to reach out with any questions. And don’t forget to tag me if you try any of these activities!

Check out

Tip: If you’d like to follow along with my life after traveling, follow me on Instagram here.

For more tips for your trip to New Zealand, make sure to take a look at these blog posts! Tamaki Maori Village Overnight Stay – Worth the Money?, The Best Accommodations in New Zealand, Things to do in TaupoKiwi Experience – where to stay longer (how to spend 2 months in New Zealand)Free things to do in WellingtonThe best walks in New ZealandVegan on Kiwi Experience.

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Cornelia December 14, 2018 - 00:49

Einfach großartig! Diese Vielzahl von ganz unterschiedlichen Erlebnissen in einer so kurzen Zeit. Davon kann man ein ganzes Leben zehren! ❤️

tanlinesandtempeh December 14, 2018 - 03:18

Definitiv! Ich bin immer noch über­wäl­tigt davon, was ich hier schon alles erlebt habe!


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