13 Days (Min)
Duration
New Zealand
Location

Want to discover the best of what New Zealands North Island has to offer? Well the Stray New Zealand Jonah Pass covers all the must see destinations…and more!

Starting and finishing in Auckland you have up to 12 months to complete your circuit on this hop on, hop off bus pass – with a minimum travel time of 13 days, although we’d recommend at least 3 weeks to make the most of everywhere you stop!

You’ll tick off all the must see destinations on New Zealands North Island – including Rotorua, Hot Water Beach, Taupo and The Bay of Islands as well as some lesser know (but equally awesome!) destinations like Raglan, Raetihi and Lake Aniwhenua.

There are even some epic ‘Stademark’ stops along the way too – including the award winning Blue Duck Station and Hahei Beach – getting you more of the beaten track and discover some of the lesser known spots that New Zealand has to offer.

En route you’re awesome Stray New Zealand guide will give you the low down on each destination, heaps of Kiwi knowledge and help organise all your accommodation and activities too.

It’s the perfect way to travel around New Zealand, meet heaps of new travel buddies and enjoy everything that the North Island has to offer!

Additional information

Recommended Travel Time3 Weeks +
StartAuckland
FinishAuckland
1

Day 1

Auckland to Paihia
Haere mai (welcome)! Your Stray adventure kicks off in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland.
We depart northbound for the relaxed seaside town of Paihia, gateway to the beautiful Bay of Islands. We stop en-route at the Parry Kauri Forest Park to hug some of the world’s mightiest trees, the native kauri, before cruising up to Paihia for a relaxing afternoon in the stunning Bay.
NB: For those travelling up to Cape Reinga, remember to book this day trip in Stray Mate by 12pm the day before you intend to travel or speak to your Stray Driver Guide on the way to Paihia.
The Cape Reinga day trip is operated by a local partner so pre-booking is essential.
Accommodation: Hostel along from the beach
Optional paid activities: Catch the ferry to historic Russell (NZ’s former capital), skydiving, Hole in the Rock cruise, kayaking, BBQ dinner at the accommodation
Free activities: Tree hugging huge kauri trees at Parry Kauri Forest
Meal(s) included : None
2

Day 2

Paihia to Cape Reinga to Paihia
Gear up for a big day, departing early to make the trip to the top of the country. Don’t forget to pack lunch, water and some snacks to keep you going today. Travelling on a custom-built coach you’ll drive up 90 Mile Beach, an official public highway, to Te Paki Stream, where you’ll learn the art of sand surfing on some of the biggest sand dunes in New Zealand. Our destination is Cape Reinga, where the Tasman and Pacific Oceans clash at the northernmost point of the country. Legend says it is also the departure point for Maori souls leaving New Zealand to return to their spiritual homeland of Hawaiki. The trip home includes a walk in a kauri forest and a stopover at Mangonui for a Kiwi classic dinner of fish ‘n chips (pay on the day), before returning to Paihia in the evening. NB. This day trip is operated by a local partner. To secure a seat on this day trip ensure you book either with your Driver or in Stray Mate before 12pm the day before to secure a seat. Accommodation: Hostel along from the beach in Paihia Optional paid activities: Traditional Kiwi fish and chips option for dinner Free activities: Dune surfing
Meal(s) included : None
3

Day 3

Paihia to Auckland
Enjoy a sleep in and spend the morning at your leisure. There’s time to do the fantastic half-day Hole in the Rock dolphin cruise around the Bay in the morning, or take this opportunity to hike to the Haruru Falls or just hang out on the beach. Mid-afternoon we jump back on board the Stray bus, destined for the bright lights of Auckland, where there are still plenty of exciting activities to do if you have a free day or two. Optional paid activities: Hole in the Rock cruise, skydiving; Auckland: skydiving, bungy off the bridge, walk around or jump off the top of the Sky Tower, whale and dolphin safari Free activities: Walk around Paihia or Haruru Falls, go for a swim or relax on the beach
Meal(s) included : None
4

Day 4

Auckland to Hahei
We depart Auckland and head south, travelling to the Coromandel Peninsula via the old colonial town of Thames. Renowned for its natural beauty and pristine swimming beaches, the Coromandel Peninsula has plenty to offer the active traveller, but is also a great place to kick back and relax in a pretty coastal setting. On arrival into Hahei, a small beachside village, we’ll get settled into our accommodation before heading over to Hot Water Beach (tidal dependent). This is an absolute ‘must do’ experience where you can dig your own natural spa bath in the sand and soak up the Coromandel surrounds. Tonight, you have the option to join a group dinner for a classic Kiwi BBQ. Accommodation: Exclusive Stray accommodation by the waterfront Free activities: Visit Hot Water Beach for a natural beach spa (tide & weather dependent), walk to Cathedral Cove, explore old cultural sites or simply relax on the beach
Meal(s) included : None
5

Day 5

Hahei
Today you have a full free day to embrace the laid-back lifestyle that makes this area such a popular NZ holiday destination. Make the most of this special place by taking a scenic walk or kayak to the nearby Cathedral Cove, a paradise-like beach that you might recognize from one of the Narnia films. If you prefer water sports, the coast off Hahei is part of the protected Te-Whanganui-a-Hei Marine Reserve, which is a prime place to take a guided coastal boat tour or fully immerse yourself with a snorkelling excursion. Accommodation: Exclusive Stray accommodation by the waterfront Optional paid activities: Kayaking, bike hire, guided boat tour, seafood cooking class Free activities: Walk to Cathedral Cove, watch the sunrise on the beach, go snorkelling in the marine reserve, explore old cultural sites or simply relax on the beach
Meal(s) included : None
6

Day 6

Hahei to Rotorua
We leave Hahei early travelling through to Paeroa, home of New Zealand’s oldest and largest soft drinks company – L&P, where we’ll stop for breakfast. Our drive today will take us through the Waikato region, known for its many dairy farms, rolling hills and the mighty Waikato River (the largest river in New Zealand). You can make this a real 10 out of 10 day by signing up to a guided tour through the world famous Hobbiton Movie Set. Even if you’re not a fan, this is truly unique experience which explores a whimsical garden village, home to Frodo and Bilbo in Peter Jackson’s epic trilogies is loved by all. If this is not for you, then you can continue on to Rotorua where there are plenty of other activities on offer. The Hobbiton goers will return early evening. Accommodation: Comfortable central city hostel Optional paid activities: Hobbiton Movie Set tour, white-water rafting, zorbing, adrenaline fuelled adventure park (big swings, bungees and more) Free activities: Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest walk
Meal(s) included : None
7

Day 7

Rotorua
Often labelled the adventure capital of the North Island, you have a full free day in Rotorua to discover an area rich in Maori heritage, adventure activities and bubbling geothermal wonders. There are plenty of exciting local activities to get the adrenaline pumping, such as whitewater rafting, ziplining through native bush, zorbing or a truly unique guided jet boat adventure up to bath in a hot waterfall. There is also the option to sign up for a full day trip out of Rotorua. You can opt to visit the incredible Waitomo Caves, where you will wade, climb, abseil and tube through Waitomo’s magnificent limestone cave network lit up by millions of resident glowworms. Alternatively, you can head out on the highly regarded White Island tour* – a boat trip to New Zealand’s only active marine volcano where you can get up close to the hot volcanic streams and bubbling pits of mud. The choice is yours! *This is a popular tour so we recommend booking several days in advance. Accommodation: Comfortable central city hostel Optional paid activities: Waitomo caving day trip, White Island tour, river jet tour, white water rafting, zip lining, zorbing, geothermal parks, luging, Maori village & performance experience
Meal(s) included : None
8

Day 8

Rotorua to Lake Aniwhenua
We’ll depart in the morning to explore the iconic crater-lake walk at Rainbow Mountain, followed by a soak at Kerosene Creek, a steaming geothermal stream and waterfall. From here our journey ventures right off the beaten track into the remote area of Lake Aniwhenua – voted one of Stray’s top overnight stops! As we drive into the Kaingaroa Forest we will meet up with a respected Maori guide who will lead the group to a sacred archaeological site to view NZ’s oldest Maori rock carvings. Tonight, you will have the opportunity to learn more about Maori traditions, including the entertaining stick games traditionally used to teach hand-eye coordination, as well as how to prepare a ‘Hangi’, a sumptuous feast cooked underground. Sign up for 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 actively participating. Top-rated ‘Strademark’ experience includes: 1 night’s accommodation at the serene lakeside Kohutapu Lodge / 1 x traditional hangi dinner, dessert and a continental breakfast / Guided tour to sacred Maori rock carvings / Introduction to the Murupara area, its people, history and challenges / Participation in a local school program designed to inspire the next generation (participation available on school days only) This ‘Strademark’ overnight experience at Lake Aniwhenua is optional, but in our opinion, it’s an absolute must do! To skip this experience, you need to catch an Intercity bus from Rotorua to Taupo and then hop back on the Stray bus the next day in Taupo. Accommodation: Scenic lakefront lodge Free activities: Crater-lake walk at Rainbow Mountain, Kerosene creek
Meal(s) included : None
9

Day 9

Lake Aniwhenua (via Taupo) to Blue Duck Station
After breakfast we’ll make a special visit to the local school to deliver packed lunches for kids that often go without and participate in a beneficial program aimed at driving cross-cultural education in an otherwise isolated part of NZ (dependent on school timetable). Then it’s on to Taupo to visit the mighty Huka Falls. The brave hearted can opt to plunge from a plane on an adrenaline fuelled skydive over NZ’s largest lake! Our destination this evening is often rated by passengers as one of Stray’s #1 overnight stops and you’ll soon see why. Located in Whakahoro, one of the most remote parts of the North Island, Blue Duck Station is a sprawling 7,200 acre high country farm that is both a working station and an environmental conservation leader. On arrival, we will settle in to learn a little about daily life at Blue Duck, then relax and chill out around an evening fire. Accommodation: Country station lodge Optional paid activities: Skydiving, bungy Free activities: Huka Falls, Spa Park walk, swim in naturally heated pools
10

Day 10

Blue Duck Station
Today is yours to fully explore this truly incredible location. Jump on a 4WD and travel up farm roads, over hilly peaks and through native bush to learn about the station’s interesting settlement history and their current conservation efforts. Don your cowboy hat and explore the farm by horseback or kayak on the river through bush clad valleys and lush green hills. Visit the Kaiwhakauka waterfall or assist with the farm’s pest control efforts and bring back tonight’s dinner. It doesn’t matter which option you choose, just get outdoors and enjoy all that Blue Duck has to offer! Accommodation: Country station lodge Optional paid activities: An eco-warrior 4WD tour, a half day horse trek, clay bird shooting, kayaking, jet boating, pest control Free activities: Walk around the amazing Blue Duck property and take in the lush scenery, walk to the Kaiwhakauka waterfall, enjoy your hosts’ fantastic hospitality and stories of the local wildlife and history
Meal(s) included : None
11

Day 11

Blue Duck Station (via Tongariro) to Raetihi
We’ll be up at the crack of dawn for an early departure to make our way to the UNESCO Dual World Heritage Site, Tongariro National Park. Today you get the chance to tick off one of the most popular hikes in New Zealand – the epic Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Considered one of the top one-day walks in the world, this 19km walk will take you across a rocky plateau with dramatic volcanic peaks (including the real ‘Mt Doom’), craters and turquoise lakes that you’ll remember for a lifetime. The Crossing is open to walk year-round (alpine gear and guide are required in winter), but subject to the weather conditions. Ensure you pack a day pack with plenty of supplies and clothing for all conditions. If the weather prevents you from doing the Crossing, there are a couple of shorter walks in the area, as well as bike tracks that are well worth doing. Tonight, we will stay in a homely historic Nurses Home in Raetihi, with friendly farm animals, a pamper room and spa bath with mountain views to enjoy at the end of an active day. Accommodation: Historic restored lodge with mountain views Optional paid activities: The Tongariro Alpine Crossing, shuttle to Ohakune township, mountain bike Old Coach Road or Fishers Track, hop-off to go skiing/snowboarding (winter only) Free activities: Taranaki Falls walk, visit the Volcanic Centre, Tawhai Falls (Gollum’s pool), pet the local farm animals, volunteer tree planting
Meal(s) included : None
12

Day 12

Raetihi to Wellington
This morning we travel towards the bottom of the North Island via the rural towns of Ohakune, Taihape and Bulls. Today is mostly an express day to get to Wellington, our capital city and home to New Zealand’s parliament and the iconic Beehive government building. Also known as the ‘coolest little capital in the world’, thanks to Lonely Planet, Wellington is a great place to check out the lively arts, craft beer and café culture scenes or do some shopping. The afternoon is yours to explore the sights – we recommend wandering down Oriental Parade or viewing the excellent exhibits on display at Te Papa National Museum. Accommodation: Central city hostel Optional paid activities: Wellington Movie Tours, check out some of the great cafes and bars. Free activities: Walk Oriental Parade, head up Mt Victoria for fantastic views, visit Te Papa National Museum, gumboot (welly) throwing
Meal(s) included : None
13

Day 13

Wellington (via Raetihi) to Auckland
We depart in the early morning. This is an express day via Raetihi heading back to the ‘City of Sails’, Auckland. For those who may have missed out on hiking the Tongariro Crossing, you have the option to hop off in National Park and try again. With an early evening arrival, there’s still time to wander the streets of Auckland, visit the Viaduct, do some souvenir shopping or hang out with new friends and share stories about your recent adventures. If you are hanging around Auckland for another day or two, don’t miss your chance to jump off the Harbour Bridge or Sky Tower, skydive, or take a wildlife cruise around the Hauraki Gulf. We hope you had a blast on your Stray adventure!
Meal(s) included : None

Start: Auckland

Finish: Auckland

Minimum Days: 13-18 Days

Recommended: 3+ weeks

*This Pass can start or finish anywhere on this route, however most people start/finish in Auckland.

DESTINATION HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Venture North to experience the white sand beaches of Paihia and Cape Reinga
  2. Stay at Hahei beach resort, an idyllic spot in the Coromandel, within walking distance to Cathedral Cove.
  3. Overnight stay in Rotorua to experience (smell) the geothermal activity and do extreme white water rafting.
  4. Stay in the award-winning Lake Aniwhenua by the lakefront. Run by a local Maori family (includes accommodation, hangi (dinner), breakfast and unique cultural experience)
  5. Stop in at NZ’s largest lake – Lake Taupo (great for skydiving).
  6.  Stay at award-winning conservation stop Whakahoro for wild, wilderness activities!
  7. Tongariro National Park (the ‘Lord of the Rings’ volcanoes and NZ’s best one day walk the ‘Tongariro Alpine Crossing’).
  8. Wellington – NZ’s capital city, home to our national museum Te Papa.

What’s included

Bus Transport
Reserved Accommodation
Experienced Driver Guide

What to bring

Hat/Sunscreen
Camera
Comfortable Walking Shoes
Swimwear/Towel
Toiletries
Light Rain Jacket

STRAY’S CANCELLATION & PRIVACY POLICY

When purchasing Stray Hop-on Hop-off travel passes, Stray Journeys and Stray Adventures.

Stray will charge the following fees in the event of booking cancellations:

8+ Days before departure (or open dated): 35% of fare

3-7 Days before departure: 50% of fare

Less than 48 Hours: 100% of fare

Cancellations should be made with your original booking agent who may charge an additional fee.

When purchasing a Stray product you are agreeing to Stray’s terms and conditions. The most up to date version can be viewed on our website.

In order to keep you informed about your upcoming trip, your contact details (including a full name and email) will be supplied to Stray in accordance to Stray’s Privacy Policy. Post travel you are able to unsubscribe from any further communications by emailing unsubscribe@straytravel.co.nz 

Provider Details
Stray Limited
Phone: +64 95262140

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