Our month in New Zealand was jam-packed. We were constantly on the move and never seemed to stop. The country is unequivocally the most beautiful I have ever been to, with every single kind of terrain and environment under the sun from glaciers to rainforests, sand dunes to crystal clear blue lakes surrounded by hills. Every single time you think it cannot get any better it does and I have never been to a country like it.
We also met some amazing people, some of whom I hope will stay friends for a long night time to come. The Kiwi Experience did admittedly allow us to socialise with some great individuals and up until New Zealand we had only met one other couple so this was needed.
However unless you are a little younger (late teens), or really really like to party (as this is one of the only things you actually have time for in many places you visit) I would advice staying away from the Kiwi Experience. While it is a great way to see the country in a short space of time, not enough time is spent in places that are worth it and instead, stops are made in the middle of nowhere simply due to a business deal between a hostel and KE. As well as this, many people have since told us that we actually missed out on a lot of great places that Kiwis regard as ‘must sees’. Camper van is 100% the best way to experience the country at your own pace. We had a couple of friends who did 10 days in the South Island via camper and they have some stunning photos from just camping up in front of a stunning lake for the night.
As well as this much of the ‘discounts’ offered by KE are not really discounts; especially with the smaller scaled activities. For example the ‘Tongariro Crossing’ will cost you $65, however the hostel advertised it for $60 and the crossing itself is free; you are just paying for a lift there and back and then not given enough time to really enjoy the crossing. Do your research and try alternative companies and hostels. Base and Nomads are universally horrible with a lack of care from staff and residents alike.
There are a lot of things I would and wouldn’t change about our trip to New Zealand, but regardless there is no denying that this country is one of unbelievable beauty, culture, environment and history. I cannot wait to one day return.