- Be inspired by incredible New Zealand landscapes
- Hike volcanic craters in Tongariro National Park
- Explore the Franz Joseph Glacier
- Soak up the sun in Abel Tasman National Park
- Tick off all of the major cities in the North and South Islands
- Experienced Tour Guide throughout the trip
- 23 nights’ accommodation
- Ferry crossings between the North and South Islands
- Lake Aniwhenua: Kohutapu ‘Strademark’ Experience
- Whakahoro: Eco-Warrior 4WD farm tour
- Marahau/Abel Tasman: Aqua Taxi
- Wanaka: Scenic bike ride
- Queenstown: Shotover Jet
- Queenstown: day trip to Doubtful Sound
Day 1: Auckland to Hahei
Your trip starts when you depart Auckland in the morning and head south to the Coromandel Peninsula via the old colonial town of Thames. We’ll settle into our accommodation in Hahei before heading to Hot Water Beach, where you can dig your own natural spa pool in the sand (tidal dependent). Accommodation: Exclusive accommodation by the waterfront Included Activities: Hot Water Beach visit
Day 2: Free day in Hahei
Today you have a full free day to embrace the laid-back Coromandel lifestyle. Get up early to catch the sunrise on the beach, then take a scenic coastal walk or opt to kayak to stunning Cathedral Cove. You can also take a glass bottom boat tour through the nearby marine reserve. Accommodation: Exclusive accommodation by the waterfront Optional Activities: Kayaking, glass bottom boat tour Free Activities: Walk to Cathedral Cove, sunrise on the beach
Day 3: Hahei to Raglan
We leave Hahei early to travel towards the mighty Waikato River. Our destination is the world-renowned Raglan surf beach, with cow spotting and a walk to Bridal Veil Falls on the way. Chill out on the beach or go hard surfing the waves in this funky surf and arts town. Accommodation: An eco-lodge surrounded by native bush near the beach Optional Activities: Learn to surf Free Activities: Waterfall walk, relax on the beach, spot glowworms in the bush, West Coast sunset, Inspiration Point.
Day 4: Raglan (via Waitomo) to Rotorua
Head to the rural town of Waitomo this morning for the chance to explore its famous cave systems and see the twinkling glowworms. We then carry on towards our overnight stop Rotorua, where you can spend the afternoon touring the Hobbiton Movie Set or checking out this popular tourist town. Accommodation: Comfortable central city lodge Optional Activities: Waitomo ‘must do’ caving options, Hobbiton Movie Set tour. Free Activities: Walk around Ruakuri Reserve, Waitomo Valley Caves walk.
Day 5: Rotorua to Lake Aniwhenua
The morning is free to try one of the many adventure activities on offer in Rotorua, before we depart at midday to drive into the remote area of Lake Aniwhenua. A local Maori guide will lead us to the area’s sacred archaeological site. Tonight, your hosts will teach you how to prepare a traditional 'Hangi' (a feast cooked underground) and provide a demonstration on how to make Maori fried bread. Sign up to one of the cultural activities on offer or simply enjoy a sunset drink at the Taniwha Bar overlooking the lake. For those visiting during school term, you will be both touched and inspired as you learn about a local community program in which Stray passengers are participating. (D) Accommodation: Scenic lakefront lodge Included Activities: Kohutapu ‘Strademark’ Experience – guided tour of sacred Maori rock carvings, introduction to the Murupara area, Hangi and Maori bread cooking demonstration, delicious ground cooked hangi feast, dessert and continental breakfast. Optional Activities: White water rafting, zorbing, ziplining
Day 6: Lake Aniwhenua to Whakahoro
After breakfast we depart and head to Taupo to see Huka Falls, and for the brave we have time for skydiving! In the afternoon, we make our way to Blue Duck Station, an award-winning 7,200 acre high country farm that is both a working station and an environmental conservation leader. Settle in and spend the evening learning a little more about what makes this unique destination one of Stray’s top rated stops. (B) Accommodation: Country station lodge Optional Activities: Skydiving Free Activities: Huka Falls, enjoy your hosts’ hospitality and stories on the local wildlife and history.
Day 7: Free day in Whakahoro
Today you have a free day to explore this truly amazing and secluded location in depth. There are plenty of farming and conservation-based activities for you to immerse yourself in an authentic New Zealand station experience. Accommodation: Country station lodge Included Activities: Eco-Warrior 4WD farm tour Optional Activities: Horse riding, clay pigeon shooting and goat hunting Free Activities: Walk around the property, take in the lush scenery, walk to the Kaiwhakauka waterfall.
Day 8: Whakahoro to National Park
We depart at 6am and head to the active volcanoes of the nearby dual World Heritage Site of Tongariro National Park. Today you get a chance to do what is rated as one of the world’s best one day walks: the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Be prepared for some epic scenery as you walk around the base of “Mt Doom” from the Lord of the Rings films. Accommodation: Alpine lodge Optional Activities: Tongariro Alpine Crossing Free activities: Taranaki Falls walk, visit the Volcanic Centre.
Day 9: National Park to Wellington
Today we head to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, via Ohakune, Taihape and Bulls. You have the afternoon to cruise around the shops and cafes along popular Cuba Street, explore the New Zealand wonders found in Te Papa or stroll along the waterfront. Accommodation: Central city hostel Free Activities: Walk Oriental Parade, head up Mt Victoria for fantastic views, visit Te Papa National Museum.
Day 10: Wellington to Marahau
We catch the 8am Bluebridge Ferry (check-in 7am) across to Picton on the South Island and meet the Stray bus. We will cruise through the famous Marlborough vineyard area and the coastal town of Nelson on our way to our amazing overnight stop of Marahau, right on the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park. Accommodation: Unique accommodation on the edge of the national park Included: Ferry crossing from Wellington to Picton Optional Activities: Wine tasting, skydiving Free activities: Swim, walk, mussel tasting around the fire
Day 11: Free day in Marahau
You have the entire day free to explore this stunning coastal national park renowned for its golden sand beaches. Hike, sail, kayak or skydive – Abel Tasman National Park is gorgeous no matter which option you choose. Accommodation: Unique accommodation on the edge of the national park. Included Activities: Walk part of the Abel Tasman track and catch an Aqua Taxi home. Optional Activities: Full day sailing trip, kayaking, skydiving, hang gliding.
Day 12: Marahau to Westport
Today we head south towards the ‘wild’ West Coast passing through Buller Gorge and down a stretch of road that was rated one of the Top 10 drives in the world by Lonely Planet. We stop at Cape Foulwind to visit the seal colony and then head for the historic coal mining town, Westport. The sunset from our accommodation tonight is a must see if the weather is clear! Accommodation: Charming character villa in the centre of town. Optional Activities: Surfing, caving, craft brewery tour. Free activities: Westport seal colony, West Coast sunset.
Day 13: Westport to Franz Josef
Day 14: Free day in Franz Josef
Enjoy a full free day to explore the glacier. Live your glacier walking dream with a guided tour on the glacier or hike to view it from below, then unwind in the spa pools afterwards. Accommodation: Lodge in the middle of the rainforest Optional Activities: Ice Explorer Trip (short helicopter flight onto the glacier), Glacier Valley Walk Free Activities: Any of the good bush walks in the area
Day 15: Franz Josef to Wanaka
Depart early to take a walk to the mirror-like Lake Matheson, stop at Fox Glacier for pickups, and then travel through the mountainous Haast Pass and Makarora. We pass by the beautiful Lake Hawea and arrive in Wanaka late afternoon. Accommodation: Central hostel Free Activities: Lake Matheson walk, Ship Creek walk, Blue Pools walk, Thundercreek Falls walk, explore Wanaka.
Day 16: Wanaka to Queenstown
This morning, head out on a scenic bike ride around the lake before we depart Wanaka and cruise down to the famous A.J. Hackett bungy site, where you can take the plunge - if you dare! Then, it’s on to the ‘Adventure Capital of the World!’ Queenstown offers an optional big (make that huge) night out with a variety of excellent restaurants, pubs and live music. Accommodation: Central hostel Included Activities: Scenic bike ride around the lake
Day 17: Queenstown
With so much to see and do in and around Queenstown, you need three full days to take it all in! To get you started, a couple highlight activities are included in your package. Today, you'll take an exhilarating Shotover Jet Boat ride through the spectacular Shotover River Canyons in the morning and then have the afternoon free for more Queenstown fun. Accommodation: Central hostel Included Activities: Shotover Jet Optional Activities: Any adventure activity that we mad Kiwis can dream up (bungy, swing, jetboating, skydiving, mountain biking, zipline, horse riding…) Free Activities: Sleep in, great walks, take in the beautiful views from this cool resort town
Day 18: Queenstown
Depart early on a day long trip to the jaw dropping Doubtful Sound in stunning Fiordland National Park, where you'll take a three hour wilderness cruise and learn more about this incredible natural wonder. You will return to Queenstown in the evening. Accommodation: Central hostel Included Activities: Doubtful Sound Day Trip
Day 19: Queenstown
Make the most of your final free day doing any of the other incredible activities on offer or further exploring Queenstown. Accommodation: Central hostel Optional Activities: Any adventure activity that we mad Kiwis can dream up (bungy, swing, jetboating, skydiving, mountain biking, zipline, horse riding…), trip to Milford Sound Free Activities: Sleep in, great walks, take in the beautiful views from this cool resort town
Day 20: Queenstown to Aoraki/Mt Cook
Depart Queenstown early to drive over the Lindis Pass through the beautiful Mackenzie Country and past Lake Pukaki, then head north to our amazing stop at the base of New Zealand’s highest mountain Aoraki/Mt Cook, arriving in the early afternoon. Accommodation: Stunning alpine lodge Optional Activities: Visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre Free Activities: Take photos of awe-inspiring scenery, do one of the many great short walks to the Hooker Glacial Lake.
Day 21: Mt Cook to Christchurch
Today we make our way through a landscape made famous by the Lord of the Rings films. We head past turquoise Lake Tekapo, where we stop for ice-skating, snow tubing or a swim at the hot springs. We arrive in Christchurch later in the afternoon, giving you time to explore parts of the South Island’s largest city. Accommodation: Purpose built backpackers near the city centre. Optional paid activities: Ice skating, snow tubing or soak in the hot springs. Free activities: Take photos of stunning scenery, go for a walk around central Christchurch.
Day 22: Christchurch to Picton
We depart Christchurch early this morning, heading north across the Southern Alps through scenic Lewis Pass and drive past Nelson Lakes National Park on our way to our next destination Picton, a picturesque town nestled on the edge of the stunning Marlborough Sounds. Feel free to unwind this evening in the spa pool at the accommodation. Accommodation: Cosy villa. Free activities: Relax in the accommodation’s spa pool.
Day 23: Picton to Wellington
You have the morning in Picton free to explore. We recommend checking out the Queen Charlotte Sound view walk or taking advantage of the free fishing gear and bikes provided by the accommodation. At midday, meet your group to catch the afternoon Bluebridge Ferry across the Cook Strait (from Picton to Wellington) to spend the evening in Wellington. Accommodation: Central Wellington hostel. Included Activities: Ferry crossing from Picton to Wellington Free activities: Queen Charlotte Sound view walk, go fishing/mountain biking in Picton; explore Wellington city.
Day 24: Wellington to Auckland
Today is a very early departure out of Wellington - this is an express day via National Park to Auckland, where your trip comes to an end when you arrive in the early evening. We hope you had a blast on your Stray Journey!
Winter departures: 29 April - 11 September 2018
Departs from: Auckland
Day: Tuesdays & Thursdays