The theory behind “Hop On Hop Off” bus travel is, on the surface, pretty simple. I mean you buy a bus pass, you hop on and travel for a bit, and then hop off and stay for a bit… yep pretty simple… most of the time. The idea originated (or so I am lead to believe) in New Zealand, where thankfully the country is small enough to get around by bus without feeling like you want to kill yourself, and the scenery that lights your way is quite simple spectacular.
I am not sure if shorter travel times and stunning scenery are the sole reasons behind hop on hop off travel’s Kiwi roots, or maybe it was just the ingenuity of the Kiwi folk, spotting gap in the market for a different type of backpacking experience.
Anyway, enough babble. Hop on hop off bus travel has now spread far and wide, with options found in Asia, South America, New Zealand, Australia and some could say Europe (if you can class Interrailing as hop on hop off – my experience of interrailing round Europe suggests it is not really as flexible as first assumed…).
The pioneering fleet of New Zealand based vehicles braving to go into the beyond is, what is delightfully known as now, the Big Green Fuck Bus – The Kiwi Experience.
The Kiwi Experience is generally aiming towards the younger, slightly more excitably age groups – hence the pet name, but well worth a look, and actually the first and only “tour” that I have had the pleasure of being a part of, back when I was a sprightly 18 years of age! Web: http://www.kiwiexperience.com/
Next up is the Big Green Kiwi Experience’s arch enemy and main competitor, the mighty Stray Travel. Stray have rejuvenated the hop on hop off experience by taking their customers “Further Off The Beaten Track” – that age old cliche travelling term rears it’s head again! In fairness, Stray do do exactly that and take their New Zealand bound customers to some very interesting places, such the Gunns Camp close to Milford Sound, and to the impressively named Whakahoro (pronounced: Fuck-A-Whore-O)… nice! Web: http://www.straytravel.com/
As well as claiming the less beaten track of New Zealand, Stray also operate some fantastic routes across South East Asia giving their customers the opportunity to hop on and hop off safely during an eye-opening foray into the depths of Indo-China. Although a little on the pricey side based on how easy it is to travel on, lets face it, fuck all money in Asia, they promise to give you some extra special experiences along the way! Web: http://www.straytravel.asia/
Other guided HoHo (yeh, that’s right) experiences include:
Have you travelled on any Hop On Hop Off buses? What was you experience like? Leave a comment below or contact me directly using the contact form and let me know your thoughts!
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