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East Coaster

Valid for summer only: October - April

The East Cape of New Zealand is a remote and somewhat intriguing region of New Zealand, untouched by commercialism.  The vibe is friendly and laid back, encapsulating a simple coastal lifestyle, rich in Maori history where time seems to stand still.   

Note: East Coaster can be booked on its own, or added to any pass that goes through Rotorua.


  • Stay in beachfront accommodation and wake up to the sound of the water.
  • See the sunrise in the first place to see the sun each day. 
  • Jump off NZ's longest wharf.
  • Taste New Zealand Chardonnay in Gisborne.
  • Try delicious, fresh New Zealand seafood in Te Kaha.
  • Optional guided fishing trip, stingray feeding, surfing and an active volcano visit.


Given the spontaneous nature of our trips and lack of control over New Zealand's weather(!), what we do each day might occasionally vary from the itinerary below.

Rotorua to Te Kaha

We depart from Rotorua at 9am, to start our journey into the remote East Cape region. We will head east towards the lush Bay of Plenty, navigating our way through the beautiful lakes in the Rotorua region. Our destination is a remote coastal settlement of Te Kaha where we’ll be overnighting in a local homestay set overlooking the sea. Feel truly welcomed by our local hosts with a warm traditional Maori greeting. You will have a free afternoon to ease into the coastal setting with opportunities to go fishing, snorkelling or simply unwind in a seaside spa pool. We recommend signing up for the freshest seafood meal you’ll ever eat prepared by our hosts.    

Seaside homestay lodge

Guided fishing trip, fresh seafood dinner.

Snorkelling, waterfront walk, spa bath overlooking the ocean.

We set out early to make our way around the eastern point of the Cape, exploring the pristine beaches and settlements along the way. In Te Araroa we’ll collect supplies for a picnic lunch, before setting off on a walk up to the East Cape Light House, where the views are well worth the climb.   We’ll later stop by Tolaga Bay Wharf, the longest pier in New Zealand where you can enjoy a dip before arriving at our overnight accommodation situated about 15km outside Gisborne. Nestled on a private beach you can enjoy sundowners on a deck or build a beach bonfire and feel the outside world drift away.

Tranquil hostel with an unbeatable sea views.

Horse riding

East Cape Lighthouse walk, swimming, beach bonfire.

Today you’ll have a free morning in Tatapouri to enjoy some activities in the area. Hone your surfing skills or join a local guide for a ‘must do’ experience feeding wild stingrays in the bay (tide permitting). In the afternoon we’ll cruise back to Rotorua driving through the spectacular Waioeka Gorge Scenic Reserve, stopping to enjoy some of the sights along the way and then dropping people off in Whakatane for the spectacular White Island Volcanic Tour *. Before arriving back in Rotorua, we will make one last stop for a stretch and a refreshing dip in the crystal clear waters of Lake Rotoma.

YHA Rotorua - Central city hostel.

Surfing, stingray feeding (tide permitting), White Island Volcanic Tour*

* There is an option to hop off in Whakatane for the highly regarded White Island Tour, a 6-hour boat trip to New Zealand’s only active marine volcano located on an island just off the coast.

Swimming, walks, explore Gisborne township.


Departs from: Rotorua

Departure Days: Tuesdays and Saturdays (+ Thursdays between 4th Jan – 8th March)

Operating dates: 3 October 2017 - 28 April 2018


Rotorua to Te Kaha

Rotorua (Depart) 09:00 09:00
Whakatane (Depart) 10:15 10:15
Te Kaha (Arrive) 14:00 14:00

Te Kaha to Tatapouri (Gisborne)

Te Kaha (Depart) 09:00 09:00
Tatapouri (Gisborne) (Arrive) 17:00 17:00

Tatapouri (Gisborne) to Rotorua

Tatapouri (Gisborne) (Depart) 12:00 12:00
Whakatane (Depart) 15:15 15:15
Rotorua (Arrive) 17:00 17:00

How It Works

Stray's operates a private transport network using comfortable air conditioned 24 - 48 seater buses. The buses are driven by qualified, knowledgeable Driver Guides who will lead you on a true adventure around our carefully though out route, offering the mix of iconic 'hot spots' and super special 'off the beaten track' destinations we refer to as STRADEMARK places. Best of all you have total freedom to hop on and off the bus at destinations along the way so you can spend more time in the places you love.

How do you hop on and off the bus?

‘Hop off’ the bus anywhere along the route, even places in between the designated stops. Either plan to hop off in advance or do it spur of the moment – it’s up to you!

To hop back on, simply book your next travel date and pickup location through Stray Mate, our online Trip Manager. 

The buses run on a regular timetable with multiple departures a week

Your pass is valid for up to 12 months from your first day of travel, meaning you can hop on and off as often as you like for up to a year!

Short on time?

You are not required to hop off the bus – feel free to use your pass like a tour and complete the itinerary in its ‘minimum days’. Either way you'll have a great time!

What about accommodation?

At all of Stray's overnight stops along the route, you'll have a dorm bed reserved at our preferred accommodation. Simply confirm with your Driver Guide each day and pay on arrival. Its that easy. 

If you choose to hop-off and stay a few nights, it is your responsibility to book those extra nights in. 

If you'd like a private room, ask your Driver, but note, these are subject to availability on the day.  

What activities can I do?

We are all about ensuring you have the best possible experience in New Zealand. To do that you need to experience some of the amazing adventure activities on offer around the regions. 

Whether you are a hiker, a biker, a Lord of the Rings fan or an adrenaline junkie we have a range of activities we can recommend at each destination. You can start getting inspired by checking out our comprehensive Destination Guides. 

Your Driver will give you good advice on what to do, where and what it all costs. They can even get you booked in. You simply pay the operator on arrival.