Day 1: Auckland to Hahei Beach (The Coromandel)
Depart Auckland from 7.30 am, head south travelling to the Coromandel Peninsula via the old colonial town of Thames. You have the afternoon free for activities. Tonight there is the group option of a classic Kiwi BBQ for dinner.
Optional paid activities: Kayak around beautiful bays to Cathedral Cove.
Free/Included activities: Walk to Cathedral Cove, dig your own hot pool in the sand at Hot Water Beach (tide dependent), relax on the beach.
Day 2: Hahei to Raglan
Depart Hahei at 7.30am. Head on to the world-renowned Raglan surf beach, with cow spotting and a walk to Bridal Veil Falls on the way. Chill out or go hard in this funky surf and arts town.
Optional paid activities: Learn to surf and then relax on a seasonal sunset cruise in the harbour for $99 (save $39) with a $12 group meal of the freshest fish and chips.
Free/Included activities: Bush walk around Mt Karioi, relax on the beach, spot glow worms in the bush, West Coast sunset at Inspiration Point, waterfall walk.
Day 3: Raglan (via Waitomo) to Mourea
Depart at 8.00am and head to the rural town of Waitomo, with time to explore its famous caves and glow worms. You will then head across to the Bay Of Plenty for a unique and special cultural overnight stay. This is an immersion into indigenous Maori culture and so much more than a show. Learn about Maori traditions, history and culture and become fully interactive with Kapa Haka (Maori song and dance). An unforgettable, genuine and educational night!
Optional paid activities: Waitomo must-do caving options: Haggas Honking Holes, Lost World, Tumu Tumu Toobing, or a glow worm tour. Cultural night is an all-inclusive price including afternoon tea, dinner, interactive performance, storytelling, bed and breakfast.
Free/Included activities: If there is less than 10 people you will stay in Rotorua with an alternative cultural option. Walk around Ruakuri Reserve, Waitomo Valley Caves walk.
Day 4: Mourea (via Rotorua) to Lake Aniwhenua
Depart the marae at 8.00am and head to Rotorua for a free morning to discover its distinctive smell (geothermal areas), culture and adventure. At 12.30pm we do hostel pickups in Rotorua, moving onto Rainbow Mountain to meet our local Maori guide, then head deep into the Kaingaroa Forest to the foothills of the Te Urewera National Park to experience stories, history and culture not yet touched by commercialism, dating back to the first known person to discover NZ (Kupe).
Optional paid activities: traditional fishing, eeling, weaving lessons, cooking classes and kayaking. Guided Tour with a local Maori, and overnight bush experience.
Free/Included activities: Guided Tour with a local Maori, Karakia (maori blessing), relax by the lake, walks.
Day 5: Lake Aniwhenua (via Taupo) to Whakahoro
Depart at 7.00am and head to Taupo, see Huka Falls and have time to experience skydiving for the brave! Around 10.00am head around the lake to the most remote part of the North Island. Your destination is Blue Duck Station, a 5,200 acre high country station that is both a working farm and an environmental conservation leader. Once you arrive, there are plenty of activities for you to partake in. Spend the evening sitting around, listening to tales from this unique region.
Optional paid activities: Skydiving (Taupo), an eco-warrior 4WD tour, horse trek (like a real cowboy), or a fully guided kayak tour, hunting for pests.
Free/Included activities: Walk around the truly amazing property at Whakahoro and just take in the lush scenery, walk to the Kaiwhakauka waterfall, enjoy your host’s fantastic hospitality and stories on the local wildlife and history.
Day 6: Whakahoro to National Park
Depart at 7.00am and head to the active volcanoes and 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. In the evening, reward yourself at the bar or just relax in the spa where you will be staying.
Optional paid activities: The Tongariro Alpine Crossing (there is a $35 concession/ transport fee to do this hike).
Free/Included activities: Taranaki Falls walk, visit the Volcano Centre; enjoy the spa pool at your accommodation.
Day 7: National Park to Wellington
Depart 9.00am, head to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city via Ohakune, Taihape and Bulls. You have the afternoon to cruise or explore.
Optional paid activities: Check out some of the great cafes and bars.
Free/Included activities: Walk ‘Oriental Parade’, head up Mt Victoria for fantastic views, and visit ‘Te Papa’ - our national museum.
Day 8: Wellington to Marahau (Abel Tasman)
Catch the 8.00am Bluebridge ferry (check-in at 7.00am) to the South Island where you will meet the Stray bus. You will then cruise through the famous Marlborough vineyard area and the coastal town of Nelson, before heading onto Motueka and your amazing night stop of Marahau, right on the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park.
Optional paid activities: Ferry, wine tasting, skydiving, microlighting!
Free/Included activities: Swim, walk, mussel tasting around the fire.
Day 9: Non Travel Day: Marahau (Abel Tasman)
You have the day at leisure to explore this stunning coastal National Park..
Optional paid activities: Full day sailing trip, kayaking, skydiving, water taxi, horse riding or hang gliding.
Free/Included activities: Walk in the national park or just relax on one of the golden sand beaches! Plant a tree!
Day 10: Marahau to Punakaiki
Depart Marahau at 8.30am and head for the ‘wild’ West Coast passing through the Buller Gorge before stopping off at Cape Foulwind to see the seal colony; before travelling to an exclusive Stray stop nestled amongst the native bush in Paparoa National Park. The sunset is a must if the weather is clear.
Optional paid activities: Save some coin today!
Free/Included activities: Westport seal colony, walk the Truman Track walk, meet some of the quirky locals, West coast sunsets.
Day 11: Punakaiki to Franz Josef
You have the morning free for activities, then at midday head into the heart of the West Coast – where time almost stands still. The bus will do pick-ups at Greymouth, make a stop in Hokitika then head to Franz Josef, a quaint town located between the Tasman Sea and the mighty Franz Josef glacier.
Optional paid activities: Bone or jade carving
Free/Included activities: Punakaiki pancake rocks and their mighty blowholes, walk along the beach, sleep in.
Day 12: Non Travel Day: Franz Josef
Today you are free to explore the glacier and take an Ice Explorer trip.
Optional paid activities: Guided heli-hike, go ice climbing; relax in the local hot pools.
Free/Included activities: Many excellent bush hikes (but we recommend a guided one for safety). Warm up and relax after all this in one of NZ’s largest spa pools at your accommodation.
Day 13: Franz Josef to Wanaka
Depart at 9.00am and head to Lake Matheson for the amazing mirror lake; stop at Fox Glacier for pickups then travel through to the mountainous Haast pass and Makarora. You will pass by the beautiful Lake Hawea and arrive in Wanaka with an afternoon free to enjoy this picturesque lakeside town.
Optional paid activities: Puzzle World, fly a plane!
Free/Included activities: Mirror Lake, Ship Creek, Blue Pools and Thunder Creek Falls walks; explore Wanaka.
Day 14: Wanaka to Queenstown
Depart 11.30am. This morning you have the opportunity to check out amazing views of the lake either by skydiving or walking up Mt Iron! We cruise into Queenstown, the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’, and stop at the famous A.J. Hackett Nevis bungy site. Queenstown offers an optional big (make that huge) night out with excellent restaurants, pubs and live music.
Optional paid activities: Skydiving, bungy jumping.
Free/Included activities: Walk Mt Iron, watch people jumping off a bridge!
Day 15: Queenstown to Gunn's Camp
Depart from 6.30am onwards. Enjoy the views on the drive past Lake Wakatipu, then get ready for one of the most scenic drives in the world on your way to Milford Sound. You will pass through the farmland of Southland and watch it turn into mountains, glacial carved valleys and fiords. You then have time to explore Milford and then in the late afternoon we head to our unique overnight stop at Gunn’s Camp.
Optional paid activities: Milford Sound cruise (there is a great Stray combo deal for this and the Stewart Island).
Free/Included activities: Stunning views, Humbolt Falls walk, visit the historic museum or take in the incredible surroundings of a World Heritage National Park at Gunn’s Camp.
Day 16: Gunn’s Camp to Invercargill/Stewart Island
Depart at 8.30am today & start the morning with a great hike up to the Key Summit Track for stunning views over Fiordland mountains. You then head through Southland to Invercargill via the scenic route; next stop Stewart Island! There are also options for those not going to Stewart Island to stay in Invercargill.
Optional paid activities: Ata Whenua – Shadowland, incredible movie about the Fiordland National Park. Stewart Island Ferry.
Free/Included activities: Key Summit walk (2 1/2 hours, part of the Routeburn Track - a Great Walk).
Day 17: Invercargill/Stewart Island to Queenstown
The morning is yours to explore the island, meet the locals, go fishing or enjoy some of the walks. We catch the ferry back to the mainland at 3.00pm. For those who choose not too venture to Stewart Island Stray depart Invercargill at 10.30am and head out to Waipapa Point for some sea-lion spotting before returning to Bluff Hill where you meet up with the island-goers before the express back to Queenstown.
Optional paid activities: Fishing, hire a scooter, go to Ulva Island Bird Sanctuary.
Free/Included activities: Explore the island, amazing birdlife, walks through the native parkland (Stewart Island); sea-lion spotting, Bluff Hill walk (Invercargill).
Day 18: Non Travel Day: Queenstown
Today is yours to explore. You can break your journey in Queenstown for as long as you want. If you’re not doing the ‘Burt’ Pass look at doing a one day trip to Milford Sound before you go. Speak to your driver or hostel travel desk for Dunedin connection options.
Optional paid activities: Any adventure activity that we mad Kiwis can dream up (bungy, swing, jet-boating, rafting, skydiving, mountain biking, zip-lining, horse riding…), trip to Milford Sound.
Free/Included activities: Sleep in, great walks; take in beautiful views from this cool resort town.
Day 19: Queenstown to Aoraki/Mt Cook
Departures start from 8.40am today for your journey over the Lindis Pass through the beautiful Mackenzie Country and past Lake Pukaki. We then head north to our amazing stop at the base of New Zealand’s highest mountain Aoraki/Mt Cook arriving in the early afternoon. If you want to hop off the bus for a few days there are some incredible longer walks (we’d recommend leaving climbing Mt Cook to the mountaineers though).
Optional paid activities: Take a boat to check out the Tasman glacier and icebergs, visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre.
Free/Included activities: Take photos of awe-inspiring scenery, do one of the many great short walks through the Hooker Valley.
Day 20: Mt Cook to Rangitata
Departing at 8.00am, make your way to the ‘Lord of the Rings’ landscape of Rangitata. Head past scenic Lake Tekapo allowing time for photos of the turquoise lake and the picturesque Church of the Good Shepherd. You arrive late morning into Geraldine, before heading through to spend the night at Rangitata.
Optional paid activities: Go on an amazing rafting trip or mountain biking, walk or horse ride through Peel Forest.
Free/Included activities: Take photos of stunning scenery, food tasting at Geraldine.
Day 21: Rangitata (via Christchurch) to Kaikoura
Depart at 7.30am. It is an express haul across the Canterbury plains to Christchurch where Stray make pick-ups and drop-offs at the International Airport. Departing Christchurch at 9.45am, you have a beautiful drive up the coast to Kaikoura. You have the afternoon free for activities.
Optional paid activities: Whale watching, swimming with seals, swimming with seals or dolphins (pre-booking is advised in summer for dolphin swimming). Try the amazing fresh crayfish!!
Free/Included activities: Walk around the peninsula and up to the lookout.
Day 22: Kaikoura to Picton or Wellington
Depart 8.30am, you wind your way up the rugged coastal roads with stops for photos and a seal colony. Taking the 2.00pm sailing from Picton, you arrive back into Wellington early evening.
Optional paid activities: Vineyard tour (Picton), Ferry ($50-75).
Free/Included activities: Seal colony; Queen Charlotte Sound View walk, mountain biking, fishing or relax in the spa where we stay (Picton); explore the city (Wellington).
Day 23: Wellington (via National Park) to Auckland
Depart at 6:40am. This is an express day via National Park to Auckland. You can hop off anywhere along the way.