Northern Express

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Experience the highlights of the North Island of New Zealand with our express pass. The Northern Express begins with a scenic rail journey from Auckland to Wellington through rugged North Island terrain rolling farm lands and rocky coasts. There is plenty to do in New Zealand’s cultural capital before your final leg to Auckland. Hop off in Taupo if you are keen to climb the epic Tongariro Crossing.

You’ve worked hard, saved up and you want to ensure that you have the trip of a lifetime. So why should you choose Kiwi Experience? Here's why!

Kiwi Experience is the Best Way to Travel NZ
Kiwi Experience is simply the best way to explore New Zealand - it's flexible guided bus travel ensuring you see the best of what this incredible country has to offer, and have the most fun along the way. We are the leading adventure backpacker bus in New Zealand - designed by travellers for travellers. It's convenient and EASY with driver guides taking care of bus bookings for you as you go. On board you'll travel with other like minded adventurers - and make mates and memories to last a lifetime.

Designed by Travellers for Travellers
This is no ordinary bus tour! Our Kiwi Experience driver guides are second to none. They know when to stop the bus and soak it in, and when to keep on driving and leave the tourist traps behind. Your adventure is yours - you can stay longer in a place should it take your fancy, and all activities are optional.

We Cater to All Types of Adventurers
Whether you’re an adrenalin junkie, a culture seeker, a beach bum, or simply want to feast your eyes on the most awe-inspiring landscapes in the world, Kiwi Experience is the trip of a lifetime!

We Have Over 25 Years of Experience
Over 25 years our reputation, passenger numbers, awards, and word of mouth from thrilled travellers and New Zealand backpackers has spoken for itself. As the country’s largest, leading, and legendary bus experience we’d love you to continue the story and experience New Zealand with us - the way it should be seen. Jump on board!
  • Day 1

    Travel Auckland to Wellington on the beautiful Northern Explorer passenger train.

  • Days 2-3

    Free days in Wellington

  • Day 4

    Travel to Taupo on the Kiwi Experience bus.

  • Day 5

    Travel from Taupo to Auckland via Rotorua.
    Finish your trip in Auckland.

  • Or choose to extend to a 7 Day Tour

    Choose to hop off and spend some time in Rotorua.

    Se hele rejseprogrammet


Free Inclusions:
- Train to Wellington, and the bus back again
- Commentary
- Walks


Under 18s not allowed on Kiwi buses


Your accommodation is not included in the price, however, finding somewhere great to stay is never a problem with us and neither is booking it. After 18+ years in the game we reckon we know where all the great New Zealand backpackers and hostels are. Travel with Kiwi Experience and you’ll get to stay in some awesome places that you wouldn’t find by yourself. Here are a few examples of the kinds of places you’ll only see with us:

Hot Water Beach Holiday Park - next door to a beach that is famous for, you guessed it, hot water!
River Valley Adventure Lodge - so far off the beaten track the bus can’t even get there
Mahinapua West Coast Pub - with New Zealand’s oldest publican, Les.

In addition to the unique accommodation above, Kiwi Experience also stops at more popular (and populated) towns and cities. Here we recommend some of the best New Zealand backpackers and hostels the country has to offer. With the entire bus getting along great, all the passengers usually decide to stay together at the same place. However, you’re always more than welcome to stay somewhere else and our Driver Guides can help you with this.

Kiwi Experience has guaranteed accommodation in every overnight stop every time we go there. This means that even when the rest of the world seems to be travelling through New Zealand, we can still guarantee every backpacker and traveller who travels with us a bed. That’s pretty important since you’ll need to be well rested for tomorrow, where there’ll be heaps of great experiences ahead. When you travel with Kiwi Experience you can book accommodation yourself or sit back and relax as your Driver Guide rings ahead and does it for you.


A modern bus service is a lot like a modern mobile. When everything’s running smoothly you take for granted what it does for you, but as soon as something goes wrong it can ruin your whole experience! We realized this about buses a long time ago (before mobiles were even invented) so we made sure we used the best vehicles right from day one.

It’s also a very green New Zealand bus service. Our bright green buses are New Zealand tourism icons and turn heads wherever they go (which helps when you need to find it in a hurry). We have chosen to lease our buses from a company that is endorsed with an Enviro Silver Qualmark rating. Because they’re well maintained, they're greener for the environment.

Our Driver Guides are experts at showing off New Zealand, but their first priority is the safety of their bus and their passengers. This is why we only use European designed and engineered buses with a long history and strong reputation for quality. Before they’re put behind the wheel each and every Kiwi Experience Driver Guide must also be put through a rigorous licensing and training programme to ensure the upmost safety of our passengers. We pride ourselves on using a safe and responsible New Zealand bus service.

European coaches also means travelling in unrivalled comfort. Big windows, high viewing seats, arm rests, new fittings, modern sound systems, TV’s, DVD players, air conditioning, and plenty of secure storage space for your bags are all included. Smooth suspension, comfy seats, leg room and a quiet engine are also a favourite with passengers after a hard days adventuring. You’ve got to spend a few hours sitting on the bus so we figure it should add to the experience, not ruin it. It’s cool to be on a comfy green bus and the flash exterior will also look great in those travel snaps of the legendary green machine.

Ekstra information

What is the Kiwi Experience Guide to NZ
Get the most out of your Kiwi Experience with the 'Kiwi Experience Guide to New Zealand'. It’s crammed with information on your trip of a lifetime with Kiwi Experience backpacker tours. Discover dozens of points of interest across New Zealand’s North and South Islands that you’ll experience on your adventure, along with high-quality pictures, and up-to-date travel info. Download the app at home and then go completely offline while you travel - no nasty data bill surprises!

Download the free Travel App for Iphone here:

Download the free Travel App for Android phones here:

Travel App Features
The Kiwi Experience Guide to NZ app includes the following features:
- Dozens of detailed points of interest across the country
- The app knows where you are and lets you know about things to see and do around you
- Offline maps of New Zealand with an easy-to-use category filter and search function
- The "Take me there" feature helps you find the best route to your next Kiwi Experience
- Download the app at home and then go completely offline - no nasty data bill surprises
- Share your favorite points with friends and family back home via email or social media
- Guide content updates automatically, meaning you won’t have to visit the app store to stay up to date

The 'Kiwi Experience Guide to NZ' app gives you extra info and tips to really make the most of your time in New Zealand. Join us on a backpacking tour you will never forget!

How do I begin my travel?
When you buy your New Zealand bus pass you’re given the option of selecting a start date, or leaving the pass open dated. If you have an open date pass then you’ll need to contact us once you know what day you want to start your Kiwi Experience. The more notice you can give us the better so that we can confirm there’s a seat for you when you want it. Some passes have fixed starting points whereas others allow you to start from anywhere along the route. See the passes page for these full details and to compare pass options.

How long can I travel for?
Once you’ve purchased your New Zealand bus pass you have 12 months to begin your travel, and then once you start you have 12 months to complete it. If you’ve got the time you should definitely take it. Each section of a pass can only be travelled once although there are 2 exceptions to the rule 1) the Kea and Top Dog passes travel Christchurch to Kaikoura twice and 2) our four New Zealand - start anywhere passes now offer Unlimited Travel which means you can travel sectors more than once! See our terms and conditions for more information on Unlimited Travel.

What does minimum travel time mean?
We’ve come up with these travel times to help you plan your trip around New Zealand. If you are a little short on time, or who just want to be sure they can make their flight out at the other end, this is a good guideline to work to. Our recommended travel times include spending an extra night (so 2 nights total) in Taupo, Franz Josef and Queenstown because they’re such amazing places with lots to do. If you’re on a deadline then you can easily skip these extra nights as timetables allow. Whether you are travelling in summer or winter can make a difference too so check out our bus timetable for more information, and get in touch with our Reservations team if you have any questions - we are here to help and make your trip amazing no matter how much time you have!

What if I’m travelling on my own?
Most people who start Kiwi Experience are doing it on their own, but you wouldn’t know it by the end of the trip. You’ll meet all sorts of people from all over the world and quite a few locals too. We’ve had people start off as strangers and become lifelong friends forever. The great people you meet is one of the best things about Kiwi Experience.

How do I get between the North and South Islands?
If you haven’t yet noticed, New Zealand’s two main islands are split by a mass of water known as the Cook Strait. To get between each island you can either take the Interisland Ferry or a short flight. Again, like accommodation and activities, your Driver Guide can book all this for you and even hook you up with a discount.