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 my favorite activities 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.
There’s just something about jumping out of a plane from 15000 feet. The feeling is indescribable.
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.
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. 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
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.
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.
Kiwi Experience Price: 175$ (105€)
This is the most New Zealand specific activity you will do. 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.
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
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.
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€)
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. 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.
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. 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
Other Fun Activities with Kiwi Experience
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
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€)
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 any 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€)