The problem with buses is that they only go where all the people go. So, if you're looking to say travel along the Southern Scenic route of New Zealand... total population circa 1,000. You're out of luck.
I don't fully endorse hitch-hiking, but as an environmentally friendly way to travel places that don't have public bus service, it has its perks (If you're with a strong man who will protect you from getting kidnapped and murdered of course... or if you can just run faster than whoever you're travelling with).
So thumbs it was. We stuck ours out on the outskirts of Balclutha and got a ride within 15 minutes to Surat Bay, where we camped overnight at this awesome little campground. I was admiring some fine-looking home-made veggie burgers being cooked by a nice Irish lass and we got to talking. Turns out her and her fiance had a campervan and were travelling along the Southern Scenic route as well. They had some spare seats. We had some spare wine. It all worked out.
Travelling with them was like being in a coach bus that stopped at all of the sites we wanted to see anyway. Those stops mostly included beautiful sea-side vistas and short hikes to waterfalls. (Pictures to follow at some point). We all decided to camp at Curio Bay, another gorgeous sea-side campground that we shared with a few aggressive sea lions. So agressive that after dinner we were all trapped in the campervan. (Video to follow). Then this morning they drove us to Invercargill where we are treating ourselves with a night in a hostel. Woo hoo!
Best part is that we convinced them to go down to Stewart Island, so they'll be dropping us off at the ferry tomorrow morning. Sweet. Can you call it hitch-hiking when you end up getting door to door service to all of the best sights along your route?
So, tomorrow us and the irishmen will take a ferry ride across the tumultuos sound to Halfmoon Bay where we will spend three days tramping through native bush and searching for kiwi birds. So far South Island = Fabulous.