Backpacker Bus NZ

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Short Moe Pass

Short Moe Pass

All of New Zealand... without the Far North or Far South. This bus pass starts in Auckland and finishes in Christchurch and is a great time-efficient way to see most of New Zealand if you have a few weeks. Spend a couple of extra days in Queenstown and do more epic adventure activities or take a day trip to the gorgeous Milford Sound.

Departs: Tuesdays, Wednesday (Summer only), Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from Auckland.

  

Highlights:

+ Experience the Coromandel Peninsula with an overnight stop in Hahei (summer).

+ Stay at a wilderness lodge in the bush at Raglan – overlooking New Zealand’s premier surf beach.

+ See glow-worms and do some amazing caving at Waitomo Caves.

+ Overnight stay on a Marae (Maori meeting house) in Mourea includes your accommodation, hangi (dinner), breakfast and unique cultural experience all for only $80.

+ Stop in at Rotorua to experience (smell) the geothermal activity and do extreme white water rafting.

+ Discover history and culture not yet touched by the hand of commercialism at our exclusive stop at Lake Aniwhenua

+ Visit NZ's Largest Lake (Taupo) - great for skydiving, recommended for hopping off if you have the time. 

+ Tongariro National Park (the volcanoes, Mordor and Mt Doom, NZ’s best one day walk the ‘Tongariro Alpine Crossing’).

+ Stay at award-winning conservation stop Whakahoro for wild, wilderness activities!

+ Wellington – NZ’s capital city, home to our national museum Te Papa.

+ Unique overnight and a free day in Abel Tasman National Park (walks, sailing and kayaking options in this stunning area).

+ Overnight at a beachfront retreat in Punakaiki and experience the remote and rugged West Coast.

+ Majestic Franz Josef glacier with a free day to hike and explore it.

+ Spend a few days in Queenstown - the adventure and party capital of NZ!

+ Stay at base of NZ's highest mountain Aoraki/Mt Cook.

+ High country sheep station in Lord of the Rings scenery at Rangitata.

Itinerary

= Stray's accommodation for that evening.

= Optional paid activities (usually choose one main activity per day).

= Free/Included activities (these options may vary depending on the group, driver, pass, length of stay, weather and time of year!)

Auckland to Hahei Beach (The Coromandel)

Depart Auckland from 7.30 am. Onwards we 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.

Campsite right on the stunning beach.

Kayak around beautiful bays to Cathedral Cove.

Walk to Cathedral Cove, dig your own hot pool in the sand at Hot Water Beach (tide dependent), relax on the beach.

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.

An eco-lodge surrounded by native bush near the beach.

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.

Bush walk around Mt Karioi, relax on the beach, spot glow worms in the bush, West Coast sunset at Inspiration Point, waterfall walk.

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. We then head across to the Bay Of Plenty for our unique and special cultural overnight stay. This is an immersion into our indigenous Maori culture and so much more than a show. We learn about Maori traditions, history and culture and become fully interactive with Kapa Haka (Maori song and dance). An unforgettable, genuine and educational night!

Unique Stray stay in the Wharenui (Maori meeting house).

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 of $80 including afternoon tea, dinner, interactive performance, storytelling, bed and breakfast.

If there is less than 10 people we will stay in Rotorua with an alternative cultural option.

Walk around Ruakuri Reserve, Waitomo Valley Caves walk.

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, we 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).

Lakefront lodge.

Lake Aniwhenua night is $75 including accommodation, bed and linen, dinner and breakfast. Activities include: traditional fishing, eeling, weaving lessons, cooking classes and kayaking. 1 activity costs $10, 2 activities $15 and 3 activities $20. For overnight bush experience (see STRAY ADVENTURES).Guided Tour with a local Maori, traditional fishing, eeling, weaving lessons, cooking classes and overnight bush experience.

Guided Tour with a local Maori, Karakia (maori blessing), relax by the lake, walks.

Lake Aniwhenua (via Taupo) to Whakahoro

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We depart at 7.00am and head to Taupo, see Huka Falls and have time to experience skydiving for the brave! Around 10.00am we shall head around the lake to the most remote part of the North Island. Our 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.

Country station lodge. 

Skydiving (Taupo), an eco-warrior 4WD tour, horse trek (like a real cowboy), or a fully guided kayak tour, hunting for pests.

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.

Whakahoro to National Park

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We 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 we stay.

Beautiful Alpine Lodge.

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing (there is a $35 concession/ transport fee to do this hike). 

Taranaki Falls walk, visit the Volcano Centre; enjoy the spa pool at your accommodation.

National Park to Wellington

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Depart 9.00am. We head to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city via Ohakune, Taihape and Bulls. You have the afternoon to cruise or explore.

Central hostel. 

Check out some of the great cafes and bars.

Walk ‘Oriental Parade’, head up Mt Victoria for fantastic views, and visit ‘Te Papa’ - our national museum.

Wellington to Marahau (Abel Tasman)

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We catch the 8.00am Bluebridge ferry (check-in at 7.00am) to the South Island where we meet the Stray bus. We then cruise through the famous Marlborough vineyard area and the coastal town of Nelson, before heading onto Motueka and our amazing night stop of Marahau, right on the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park.

Unique Stray accommodation on the edge of Abel Tasman National Park.

Ferry $50-75, wine tasting, skydiving, microlighting!

Swim, walk, mussel tasting around the fire.

Non Travel Day: Marahau (Abel Tasman)

You have the day at leisure to explore this stunning coastal National Park.

Unique Stray accommodation on the edge of the national park.

Full day sailing trip, kayaking, skydiving, water taxi, horse riding or hang gliding.

Walk in the national park or just relax on one of the golden sand beaches! Plant a tree!

Marahau to Punakaiki

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Depart Marahau at 8.30am. We 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 our exclusive Stray stop nestled amongst the native bush in Paparoa National Park. The sunset is a must if the weather is clear.

Lodge in the middle of the rainforest with ocean views.

Save some coin today!

Westport seal colony, walk the Truman Track walk, meet some of the quirky locals, West coast sunsets.

Punakaiki to Franz Josef

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You have the morning free for activities, then at midday we head into the heart of the West Coast – where time almost stands still. We 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.

Lodge in the middle of the rainforest.

Bone or jade carving

Punakaiki pancake rocks and their mighty blowholes, walk along the beach, sleep in.

Non Travel Day: Franz Josef

Today you are free to explore the glacier and take an Ice Explorer trip.

Central lodge surrounded by the rainforest.

Guided heli-hike, go ice climbing; relax in the local hot pools.

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.

Franz Josef to Wanaka

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Depart at 9.00am. We 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. We pass by the beautiful Lake Hawea and arrive in Wanaka with an afternoon free to enjoy this picturesque lakeside town.

Central hostel.

Puzzle World, fly a plane!

Mirror Lake, Ship Creek, Blue Pools and Thunder Creek Falls walks; explore Wanaka.

Wanaka to Queenstown

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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.

Central hostel.

Skydiving, bungy jumping.

Walk Mt Iron, watch people jumping off a bridge!

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.

Central hostel.

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.

Sleep in, great walks; take in beautiful views from this cool resort town.

Queenstown to Aoraki/Mt Cook

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Departures start from 8.40am today for our 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).

Stunning alpine lodge inside the National Park.

Take a boat to check out the Tasman glacier and icebergs, visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre.

Take photos of awe-inspiring scenery, do one of the many great short walks through the Hooker Valley.

Mt Cook to Rangitata

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Departing at 8.00am, we make our way to the ‘Lord of the Rings’ landscape of Rangitata. We head past scenic Lake Tekapo allowing time for photos of the turquoise lake and the picturesque Church of the Good Shepherd. We arrive late morning in Geraldine, and then head through to spend the night at Rangitata.

One of Canterbury's original sheep stations.

Go onan amazing rafting trip or mountain biking, walk or horse ride through Peel Forest.

Take photos of stunning scenery, food tasting at Geraldine. 

Rangitata to Christchurch

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Depart 7.30am. It is an express haul across the Canterbury plains to Christchurch. For those whose Stray adventure is coming to an end we arrive at 9.40am at the Christchurch International Airport. For those continuing north, see travel day 8 (Christchurch to Kaikoura day), day 9 (Kaikoura to Picton/Wellington day) and day 7 (Wellington to Auckland day).

 

NB: The free things and activities are just a guide and you will not have time to do all of those listed within each travel day.

Deals

Timetable

The timetable below is for the current season (17 March - 30 April). Other timetables can be found on our Timetables and Departures page.

Auckland to Hahei Beach (The Coromandel)

  MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
Auckland (Depart) 07.30 07.30 07.30 07.30
Thames (Depart) 11:30 11:30 11:30 11:30
Hahei (Arrive) 13:00 13:00 13:00 13:00

Hahei to Raglan

  MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
Hahei (Depart) 07:30 07:30 07:30 07:30
Hamilton (Depart) 10:30 10:30 10:30 10:30
Raglan (Arrive) 13:30 13:30 13:30 13:30

Raglan (via Waitomo) to Mourea

  MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
Raglan (Depart) 08:00 08:00 08:00 08:00
Waitomo (Depart) 14:30 14:30 14:30 14:30
Mourea (Arrive) 18:00 18:00 18:00 18:00

Mourea (via Rotorua) to Lake Aniwhenua

  MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
Mourea (Depart) 08:00 08:00 08:00 08:00
Rotorua (Depart) 12:20 12:20 12:20 12:20
Lake Aniwhenua (Arrive) 14:30 14:30 14:30 14:30

Lake Aniwhenua (via Taupo) to Whakahoro

  MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
Lake Aniwhenua (Depart) 07:00 07:00 07:00 07:00
Taupo (Depart) 10:00 10:00 10:00 10:00
Whakahoro (Arrive) 13:30 13:30 13:30 13:30

Whakahoro to National Park

  MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
Whakahoro (Depart) 07:00 07:00 07:00 07:00
National Park (Arrive) 08:30 08:30 08:30 08:30

National Park to Wellington

  MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
National Park (Depart) 09:00 09:00 09:00 09:00
Bulls (Depart) 12:00 PM 12:00 PM 12:00 PM 12:00 PM
Wellington (Arrive) 15:00 15:00 15:00 15:00

Wellington to Marahau (Abel Tasman)

  MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
Wellington - Ferry Terminal (Depart) 08:00 08:00 08:00 08:00 08:00 08:00 08:00
Picton - Ferry Terminal (Depart) 11:45 11:45 11:45 11:45
Nelson (Depart) 15:00 15:00 15:00 15:00
Marahau - Abel Tasman National Park (Arrive) 18:00 18:00 18:00 18:00

Non Travel Day: Marahau (Abel Tasman)

  MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
Marahau (Abel Tasman) (Non travel) Free Free Free Free Free Free Free

Marahau to Punakaiki

  MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
Marahau - Abel Tasman National Park (Depart) 08.30 08.30 08.30 08.30
Westport (Depart) 13.00 13.00 13.00 13.00
Blackball (Arrive) 17:00 17:00 17:00 17:00

Punakaiki to Franz Josef

  MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
Punakaiki (Depart) 12:00 12:00 12:00 12:00
Greymouth (Depart) 13:00 13:00 13:00 13:00
Franz Josef (Arrive) 18:00 18:00 18:00 18:00

Non Travel Day: Franz Josef

  MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
Franz Josef (Non travel) Free Free Free Free Free Free Free

Franz Josef to Wanaka

  MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
Franz Josef (Depart) 09:00 09:00 09:00 09:00
Fox Glacier (Depart) 09:30 09:30 09:30 09:30
Wanaka (Arrive) 16:00 16:00 16:00 16:00

Wanaka to Queenstown

  MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
Wanaka (Depart) 10.15 10.15 10.15 10.15
Cromwell (Depart) 12.00 PM 12.00 PM 12.00 PM 12.00 PM
Queenstown (Arrive) 16:00 16:00 16:00 16:00

Non Travel Day: Queenstown

  MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
Queenstown (Non travel) Free Free Free Free Free Free Free

Queenstown to Aoraki/Mt Cook

  MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
Queenstown (Depart) 08:40 08:40 08:40 08:40
Mt Cook (Arrive) 13:30 13:30 13:30 13:30

Mt Cook to Rangitata

  MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
Mt Cook (Depart) 08:00 08:00 08:00 08:00
Lake Tekapo (Depart) 10:00 10:00 10:00 10:00
Rangitata (Arrive) 14:00 14:00 14:00 14:00

Rangitata to Christchurch

  MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
Rangitata (Depart) 07:30 07:30 07:30 07:30
Christchurch (Arrive) 09:30 09:30 09:30 09:30