Many of these buses tend to offer a hop-on, hop-off service: use it! You can explore more places, meet more people, and take more time.

But which one to choose!? 

There are a lot of options out there. Take a look at what's on offer before you buy, and see what suits you best - where they stop, what routes they take etc. For example, the Stray Travel tagline is 'off the beaten track', Kiwi Experience advertises itself as how 'youthful travellers see New Zealand', and G Adventures specializes in small-group custom made travel. There's definitely something for everyone.

But what are the reasons for hopping on in the first place?


1. The Driver

You might think they're just the floating head or the bodiless voice at the front of the bus, but you'd be wrong.. they are so much more.

They'll play a part in your travelling family as much as anyone else you meet - in my experience they'll join in with your activities, they'll take you to great views, show you some of their favourite spots, tell you local stories, provide all the information you need, become great drinking buddies and (perhaps most importantly) book your accommodation.

I've seen drivers that do spontaneous bungee jumps, snow tube like a boss, down shots on a pub crawl and have balloon making competitions on the bus. I've been taken on walks that I wouldn't have known about and been rewarded with the most incredible views and photo opportunities.

They've got your back, and they want you to have a great time.


2. People

Yes, if you don't travel on an adventure bus tour you will still meet a variety of people from all over the world. But there's something about being thrown together and spending hours travelling, nights in new places and sharing new experiences with a group of people that is incredible.

If you spend anything over 3 days on the same bus at a time you'll grow together, you'll become some sort of wonderful dysfunctional family.

There was a gang of us that were from the UK, the Netherlands, Malaysia, France, Germany, Spain, Canada and America - and it was the best fun I'd had.

I learnt so much from them - from the ways of a Dutch sense of humour, to the ins and outs of Spanish politics. Unsurprisingly lack of wifi is one of the best things that can happen to you: playing card games followed by multi-lingual scrabble and a big group meal, is a sure fire way of making incredible friends and great memories.

If I was to choose to travel solo or join a group tour, I'd do the group option every time.


3. Safety

Safety in numbers also applies whilst travelling.

Adventure buses provide you with a feeling of safety and security when you most need it, not only are you travelling in a group so that potential feeling of loneliness doesn't creep in but, the bigger companies especially, can also give you guaranteed nightly accommodation and book you a number of activities on a daily basis. It can put your mind at rest and makes travelling that little bit less chaotic and stressful, and a whole lot more enjoyable.

It caters to those that want an element of organisation along with some spontaneity, and also those that want all of the spontaneity without having to think of how to get there each time.

With your ability to hop-on and hop-off, if you want to escape a place you feel like you've spent one too many nights in you can just hop on again and be transported to the next stunning destination. It really can be a lifeline.


4. Activities

If you are joining a group tour for the first time adventure buses are definitely one of the best ways to get the most out of the most adrenalin packed countries in the world.

There's skydives, bungee jumps, kayaking, glacier hikes, helicopter flights.. and your driver can book them all. There's so many things to do - each location comes with a different selection of activities, if you don't fancy any of them you really don't have to spend your money on them, but if you do want to do something just go for it!

You're bound to regret it if you don't, and what's the point in being in New Zealand if you don't grab every opportunity with both hands?

Some things can be discounted as part of your tour deal and you get to do it with your travelling family.

Seemingly simple things like doing doughnuts in a water taxi followed by a four hour walk in apocalyptic, torrential rain can make for ridiculous but great memories. It might've been awful at the time, but I'm glad I did it now! And let's be honest, it wouldn't have happened without my adventure bus.


5. The Journey

It might sound obvious, but the locations you travel to and the journeys you take to get there make everything worthwhile. Depending on which company you travel with you can visit places you hadn't considered before leaving home and see things you hadn't imagined.

Sure, however you travel you'll see amazing things - but by doing an adventure tour you'll get to enjoy the travelling from place to place on a bus full of friends, laughing, music, and chatter.

There are a number of bus services available in New Zealand that can get you from place to place, and that offer nationwide passes, including; Intercity, Naked Buses, Nelson Coaches etc.

These can still be used as great options for one-off spontaneous trips, especially to places your bus might not visit. But you won't get that camaraderie, that sense of adventure and that element of fun if you use it for your whole experience.

Whichever you choose, you'll get stories to tell and experiences you'll laugh about later.

I promise.


By Lauren Atkins


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