A Little Bit of
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli
While traveling, we'd heard many good stories about New
Zealand, so while in Sydney, Australia, we booked a 36 day tour of New
Zealand on "the Magic Bus." The Magic is one of a few bus
services that cater to backpackers. The advantage of this is that you are
able to get off the bus along their predetermined route, and get back on
again days or weeks later, making it ideal for the independent traveler.
We added 20 days to their "Magic Adventure" 16 day trip,
allowing us to spend multiple nights in recommended places.
Akaisha traveling on the Magic Bus
Transportation booked, we decided to use the YHA Hostel system for our
accommodation. By purchasing a YHA card for $35 NZ, it allowed us
discounts in hostels plus on numerous activities around the islands.
The Magic experience was very organized and they always made sure you
have a room for the night. Our typical day started
with a pickup around 8:00 a. m., an hour or so of
driving with commentary, a breakfast/pee break, more
driving, nature walks, bungee jumping, lunch, a short drive, more
activities, then arriving to our hostel around 4-5 in the afternoon.
Usually, we stayed over a couple of nights. By telling the
driver our plans, they would let the next driver know to be expecting us.
It is an easy "common sense system" that works well.
Our hostel experiences were varied, as you could imagine,
the same as if you stayed in 20 different hotels in a short period. Also,
we mixed up staying in "double" rooms (just the two of us) with
staying in 4-6-8 bed dorm rooms with complete strangers. We did this to
experience the other travelers' stories and backgrounds, and met some very
interesting people. Not everyone is on The Magic Bus.
Before arriving in our evening location, the driver would drive around
the town pointing out places of interest, museums, info centers, and of
course, grocery stores. Since each hostel came equipped with huge
kitchens, usually 6 different cooking areas, some with walk-in
refrigerators, purchasing food was essential.
Hostel, Auckland, New Zealand
Our favorite New Zealand dinner included various cuts of
lamb, an abundance of delicious cheeses and fruit yogurt for dessert.
The Kiwi wines complimented our dinner.
With everyone else cooking - Japanese, Korean, German,
Dutch, English - there were many people making their own dinners, all with
unique flavors and aromas. It was like a symphony of movement, with many
Ample opportunities for sharing opinions
were presented, and we found ourselves in several animated
conversations. These communal living situations were the perfect
laboratory in which viewpoints around the world were offered and
challenged. Everyone had an opinion, depending of course, on life
experience, age, background and country.
The sheer volume of travelers and the organization it took
to get them in and out of rooms with a minimum of snafus was also
impressive. Bookings for rooms, transport and physical activities were in
a constant flow from place to place, with names, dates, locations, times,
and means of payment all being accounted en route, by the driver passing
around a clip board.
View from Magic Bus
If you are a first time traveler to New Zealand or want to experience
both islands in a fairly easy and efficient manner, The Magic Bus and the
hostel system is the way to go.
For more information, check out these websites.
The Magic Bus is now being run by Kiwi Experience. You can
contact them here.
For the YHA Hostel System: