Save Money Bus Tour New Zealand©
Save Money Bus Tour New Zealand

5 Tips to Save Money on a Bus Tour in New Zealand šŸ˜‰

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Article Single Pages©
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How to Get a Discount or a Good Deal on Your New Zealand Bus Tour

So you have done your research, read all our bus-related articles, and have chosen to travel New Zealand using one of the bus tours or hop-on hop-off bus networks? Good on you! You will have a blast!

Now it’s a matter of finding you a good deal so you have more money to spend on jumping from a plane, bungy jumping from a bridge, or whatever crazy things you intend to do in New Zealand. Bus passes, from the hop-on hop-off bus companies like Kiwi Experience to bus tours with Backyard Roadies, Haka Tours, Flying Kiwi and Contiki, are very frequently on discount. But here, we have a few tips to guarantee a better deal and save money on a bus pass or bus tour in New Zealand.

Once you find the perfect deal on a bus pass or tour, take a look at How to Budget for a Hop-on Hop-off Bus Trip Around New Zealand so you can keep those costs down and make your dollars stretch further! Plus, don’t forget to bookmark Travel by Bus in New Zealand: The Ultimate Guide for even more tips.

1. Set Your Browser Location to “in New Zealand” When Booking

Generally, you will get a much better deal when booking your bus tour in New Zealand compared to from overseas, which is especially true for international tour companies, like Contiki. But considering you will want to secure your spot on the bus before arriving in New Zealand, there’s a nifty way around this location issue. Set your location in your browser to “New Zealand” using a VPN and voila! Check the price between the bus company’s international website and the “New Zealand” website and see which offers the better deal (checking the currency conversion, of course).

If you prefer not to book online, note that most overseas resellers get different prices than New Zealand-based ones. What’s more, the exchange rate that they’re charged is not ideal and is bumping the price up too. So for flexible tours like Kiwi Experience‘s hop-on hop-off tours, you are better off waiting to land in New Zealand and booking your pass then.

5 Tips to Save Money on a Bus Tour in New Zealand šŸ˜‰©

2. Book in the Low Seasons

Bus passes and tours are always on discount. When a promotion ends, it is replaced by another! However, prices tend to follow the same pattern every year: from September to March prices are at their highest, and from April to August prices are much lower with the lowest point usually being in July. Obviously, this is not an exact science, but bus tours and passes are usually either at their cheapest price during the low season or when booking a trip for the low season. And by the way, here are 10 Reasons to Travel in the Shoulder and Off-Season in New Zealand.

5 Tips to Save Money on a Bus Tour in New Zealand šŸ˜‰©

3. Choose a National Pass or Tour

When comparing the different bus passes offered by bus companies in New Zealand, it is easy to get lost. Let us help. If you have the time to travel both the North Island and South Island (about 15 to 20+ days), start by eliminating every “non-national” tour; that’s all the tours that only cover a small section of the country. These shorter tours tend to be a much lower value for money compared to national tours or bus passes. Compare national bus tours and passes in The Best 20+ Days (3-4 Weeks) Tours of New Zealand and The 15 Best Bus Tours in New Zealand.

5 Tips to Save Money on a Bus Tour in New Zealand šŸ˜‰©

4. Look into Combining Passes

While it is Ok to choose a slightly shorter bus tour if it is much cheaper than another, you may want to take a minute and look at those shorter passes to add them to your existing one. For instance, if you chose a tour that does not include a trip to Milford Sound (you fool!) you may want to look at the bus company’s options to get there. Combining the “Milford Sound Day Tour” and the “Ultimate New Zealand National Pass” on discount may be much cheaper than jumping to a bigger pass at a regular price for the same trip.

5 Tips to Save Money on a Bus Tour in New Zealand šŸ˜‰©

5. The Best Way to Compare the Price of Different Bus Tours

To choose your bus tour and the deal you want to go with, you will need to find a common denominator to compare prices, so grab your calculator and read on! There are two main ways to fairly compare the prices of multiple bus tours or passes:

A) Work out the price per day of travel. To do that, find out the “minimum days of travel” of a bus tour stated on the brochure or website. Then divide the price of a pass by its minimum days of travel. You will get a price per day of travel.

For that price, remember that on the hop-on hop-off tours like Kiwi Experience, you are getting these things included: transportation + many stops along the way + some kind of free activities + commentary + fun times with like-minded people + the guarantee of one night’s of accommodation when you arrive at each destination.

For more inclusive bus tours, like Backyard Roadies, G Adventures and Topdeck, you’re are getting these things included: transportation + many stops along the way + some kind of free and paid activities + commentary + fun times with like-minded people + all accommodations + at least breakfast every day and some other meals.

B) Get a price per month. For those always thinking in terms of “monthly plans”, just divide the price of your bus pass by the number of months that you will be staying in New Zealand so you know if that price fits your monthly transportation budget.
We prefer using Method A, as it can often unveil surprises in what is cheap and what is not.

5 Tips to Save Money on a Bus Tour in New Zealand šŸ˜‰©

More About Saving Money on Bus Tours in New Zealand

That’s it for our guide on how to save money on your bus tour in New Zealand. Check these out to help you plan an epic bus trip and budget for New Zealand.

For more advice on planning a cheap trip to New Zealand, head to The Travel Guide to New Zealand on a Budget.


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Robin C.

This article has been reviewed and approved by Robin, who is the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. With more than 15 years of experience in the New Zealand tourism industry, Robin has co-founded three influential tourism businesses and five additional travel guides for South Pacific nations. He is an expert in New Zealand travel and has tested over 600 activities and 300+ accommodations across the country.

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