New Zealand Travel Tip #3: How to Take Advantage of Your Magic Bus Driver

March 2, 2009

This is what I imagine the help wanted ad for a Magic Bus driver looks like (based on Driver Greg and a few other Magic drivers we’ve crossed paths with along the way):

“Must be somewhere between totally cute and ruggedly handsome as well as charming, knowledgeable about the local sights, cheeky, and full of stories about your own travels in and out of New Zealand. Must also be able to drive a big bus.

Decent taste in music optional.” (Seriously, I’ve heard more Hootie and the Blowfish in the last two days than I have in years. It’s cool though, it’s a different culture here. They seem very pro-Hootie.)

Driver Greg has been with Magic Bus for almost three years now. No stranger to bus travel, he’s been around the world twice, including a trip to Europe for a 40+ day Contiki camping trip across 17 countries.

Every morning Greg gives us our itinerary for the day, lets us know his own recommendations of what not to miss and where not to waste time, and he always invites us up to have a chat if we have any questions.

You’re going to have questions, so go up and have the chat. Using your driver’s inside knowledge is the best way to make the most of your time any money, and it probably helps him to pass the time on the road.

For example, Greg let us know that although a lot of travelers plan to wait until they get to Queenstown to do the big adventure sports (sky diving, rafting, bungee), the exact same activities are most often cheaper and sometimes better in Rotorua and Taupo. Sky diving is a good $100 cheaper in Taupo, so that’s a big savings.

Magic Bus drivers are a relaxed group – they have to be to do what they do without going insane – and they’re the kind of guys (Do they have any female drivers? I’ll have to find out.) who you’d like to hang out and have a beer with at the end of the day, so why not offer to buy your driver a drink?

Sit him down, find out where he’s been, where he’s going next, what kind of travel wisdom he has to share. I didn’t get a chance to drink with Driver Greg, but I wish I had. Maybe the next time he’s in San Francisco we can catch up and talk about old times.

Every day on the bus, you’re the one who ultimately decides what your vacation is going to look like, but your driver is the person who can help make your travel dream a reality, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

To learn more about the Magic Bus and other transportation options in New Zealand (I think most of them have cute drivers), talk to the student travel experts at Travel CUTS. They helped me plan my trip and they can help you too.


  1. Please subscribe

  2. Magic bus driver…? I was wondering what this is when I first read the the title. Anyways, this is really helpful… This makes alot of sense, I mean who would be the best person to ask what places are best to visit but the drivers. lol.

  3. how interesting…..
    someone has been on a contiki tour and driving the magicbus now in new-zealand..
    this is servet the manager of original magicbus..
    which used to run between india-uk..at 1970..s..
    it is nice someone is carrying out our name at down under…

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