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Short Q Pass

The "Short Q" travels an anti-clockwise loop in the centre of the South Island. You can see it all in 10 days or take 2+ weeks and spend longer in your favourite places. Click here to see the route!


What's included:

Flexible bus transport

Travel on our comfortable private buses and hop-on hop-off anywhere along the route.


Driver-guide

Far more than just a driver, Stray Driver Guides are invaluable sources of local knowledge and support.


Reserved Accommodation

Have a bed reserved for you at every Stray overnight stop. Book and pay via our Stray Mate app.


12 month travel pass

Your pass is valid for 12 months from the first day of travel.


Not included: The cost of your accommodation and activities is not included in a hop-on hop-off pass. You have the flexibility to choose what suits your budget and pay-as-you-go. These can be booked via the Stray Mate app, often at an exclusive Stray price!


Christchurch to Greymouth Sector

This section of your trip is unguided.

You'll travel cross-country, from Christchurch to Greymouth crossing the beautiful Southern Alps to meet up with your Driver Guide and group outside the Greymouth Train Station at 1.15pm. From here you’ll continue on the Stray bus to the town of Franz Josef, home of the mighty Franz Josef Glacier. 

The Christchurch to Greymouth Atomic Shuttle is included with your pass but you have the option to upgrade to the highly regarded TranzAlpine Scenic Train (+$99). 


Is this trip right for you?

 Do you want to explore with a group of like-minded travellers?


✓ Do you want to take the pressure off, kick back relax and let someone else do the driving?


 Do you want to get off the beaten track in the central South Island and visit some of those harder to reach, remote destinations?


 Do you want exclusive Stray discounts on accommodation and activities?


 Do you want the option to travel on the famous TranzAlpine scenic train?

 

The Short Q Freestyle Pass is a 'sweet as' choice for you!

 Want a tour with accommodation and activities included? Check out our Stray Journeys tours.

 


Highlights:


STRADEMARK PLACES 

ShortQ Strademark route 2018 194

Our mission is to get you off the beaten track amongst authentic local culture and our experienced crew has chosen some incredible destinations so you can see more and do more! 'Strademark' Places are the places you're less likely to find in the guide book but the ones you'll be talking about long after the adventure has ended. 

  • Stay at the base of New Zealand's highest mountain, Mount Cook/Aoraki.
  • Enter Middle Earth territory! Be surrounded by the breathtaking mountains and dense native bush, and have the chance to go white water rafting in Rangitata.

Want more? 

New Zealand Destination Guides 

Get inspired and start planning your trip!


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Deposit option available. Hit BOOK YOUR TRAVEL below and select from the payment options at checkout. Find out more.

Short Q Pass

$755
$0

Total

$755

Itinerary

This is a loop pass, which means you can start and finish anywhere!
Christchurch is the most popular start location for this pass.

Please Note: The cost of accommodation is not included in your travel pass but under each day we have described our recommended accommodation, along with some free and paid activity suggestions. Given the spontaneous nature of our trips and lack of control over New Zealand's weather(!), what we do each day might occasionally vary.

Christchurch to Franz Josef (via Greymouth)

You’ll start your Stray trip, crossing the beautiful Southern Alps on route to the West Coast town of Greymouth to meet up with your Driver Guide and group. From here you’ll continue on with the Stray group to the town of Franz Josef, home of the mighty Franz Josef Glacier. Your Southern Alps transfer will be on the Atomic Shuttle Bus, unless you've opted to upgrade to the highly regarded TranzAlpine Scenic Train. 

Please contact the Stray office at least 48 hours before departure to confirm your transfer details and departure times. 

Rainforest Retreat - Lodge in the middle of the rainforest.

TranzAlpine scenic train (+$99)

Chill out in the spa pool at your accommodation. 

Enjoy a free day to get out and experience the Franz Josef Glacier, an iconic highlight of the West Coast. The best way to navigate the maze of ice and explore the incredible landscape on the Franz Josef Glacier is with a guided tour, which consistently ranks as a favourite activity amongst Stray travellers. The most popular trip features a short heli-hop onto the glacier with a guided educational tour on the ice and includes entry to the hot pools afterwards. Other options include visiting the glacial terminal face for some spectacular photos or doing one of the many excellent bush hikes in the region.

Rainforest Retreat - Lodge in the middle of the rainforest.

Glacier heli-hike (entry to hot pools included), kayaking, skydiving.

Many excellent bush hikes (but we recommend a guided one for safety). Relax in one of NZ’s largest spa pools at your accommodation.

It’s time to leave the West Coast behind. We stop in the morning for pick-ups at Fox Glacier before heading to the amazing mirror-like Lake Matheson to stretch our legs with a short walk. Then, we’ll travel inland through the mountainous Haast Pass and Makarora towards Wanaka. This is one of the most scenic drives you’ll ever do and we’ll stop for plenty of photo ops along the way as we drive from rainforests to mountains, through beech forest and past great lakes. We’ll pass by the beautiful Lake Hawea and arrive in Wanaka late-afternoon in time to enjoy this picturesque lakeside town.

Base Wanaka - Central Wanaka hostel.

Lake Matheson walk, Ship Creek walk, Blue Pools walk, Thunder Creek Falls walk, explore Wanaka.

Kick start your day with a brisk walk up Mt Iron, an early morning skydive or learn to fly a stunt plane over Wanaka. At mid-morning we’ll pack up and make our way to Queenstown, known in New Zealand as the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’ and the spiritual home of bungy jumping. We stop on our way into town at Kawarau Bridge, the first commercial bungy jumping site in the world, for your chance to take the big leap of faith. Queenstown offers an optional big (make that huge!) night out with plenty of excellent restaurants, pubs and live music to check out.

Central hostel close to all the action.

Puzzling World, skydiving, mountain biking, pilot your own stunt plane or learn to fly and take a friend for free, bungy jumping.

Walk Mt Iron, watch people jumping off a bridge!

You need at least one free day in Queenstown to make the most of the wide range of activities on offer. With a buzzy night life, beautiful mountain scenery and an exciting outdoor lifestyle, it’s easy to understand why Stray passengers often hop off here to spend extra time exploring. Options include: bungy or swing, zipline tours, canyoning, jet boating, skiing, skydiving, local bush walks, or just enjoy the stunning scenery and do nothing.

Central hostel close to all the action.

Any adventure activity that we mad Kiwis can dream up (bungy, swing, jet boating, skydiving, mountain biking, zipline, horse riding…).

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

Today we head over the Lindis Pass through the beautiful Mackenzie Country and past picturesque Lake Pukaki on the way to our amazing stop at the base of New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki/Mt Cook. We arrive in the early afternoon with time to do a 4WD & Argo Tour, check out the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre or do one of the many great short walks in the park. If you want to hop off the bus for a few days there are some incredible longer walks you can do (we’d recommend leaving climbing Mt Cook to the experienced mountaineers though).

Mt Cook Backpacker Lodge - Stunning alpine lodge.

Argo tour of alpine region, visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre.

Take photos of awe-inspiring scenery, do one of the many great short walks to the Hooker glacial lake (weather dependent), stargazing.

Leaving Mt Cook we make our way through a landscape made famous in the Lord of the Rings films. We make a stop at turquoise Lake Tekapo for a photo op before heading through Geraldine to get to our overnight stop in Rangitata Peel Forest. Arriving in the afternoon, there is plenty of time for thrill seekers to raft the top notch white water on the Rangitata River. Tonight spend the night in one of Canterbury’s original sheep stations, a great place to get outdoors, go horse trekking or wander through the native bush of Peel Forest. 

*Winter only: We stay longer in Tekapo for ice skating, snow tubing and visiting the relaxing hot springs.

One of Canterbury's original sheep stations.

Walk through Peel Forest, Rangitata River Rafting (late September – late March only).

Take photos of stunning scenery, go for a walk.

This morning, you will have the opportunity to sign up to a top-notch grade 5 white water rafting experience on Rangitata River under the foot of the Southern Alps or to explore the stunning Peel Forest scenery on horseback. Tonight, we’ll stay in Christchurch - a city where old meets new, as an enormous rebuild continues following the devastating 2011 Earthquake. You will find some of New Zealand’s most modern architecture nestled next to some of our oldest buildings. Wander the city streets and laneways to discover creative street art intended to bring cheer and colour to a city once buried in rubble. Spend your afternoon exploring the city or getting involved in one of the activities on offer.

Comfortable, modern backpackers near the city centre

White water rafting, horse trekking

Explore Christchurch by foot, check out the Re-Start Mall, Cardboard Cathedral and inner-city street art

Short Q Pass

$755
$0

Total

$755

Timetable

The days and times shown below are for the current season. For future seasons, please refer to our Bus Timetables page.

Timetables are subject to change but our team will email you if this happens whilst you are travelling. You can also see your confirmed departure times in the Stray Mate app.

Note: Transport from Christchurch to Greymouth operates 7 days a week; however the Stray bus connections to Franz Josef are limited to 3-5 days per week. If you want a same day connection plan your trip accordingly. 

Christchurch to Franz Josef (via Greymouth)

  MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
Christchurch (Depart) 08:15 08:15 08:15 08:15
Greymouth (Depart) 14:30 14:30 14:30 14:30
Franz Josef (Arrive) 18:00 18:00 18:00 18:00

Franz Josef

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

Franz Josef to Wanaka

  MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
Franz Josef (Depart) 08:30 08:30 08:30 08:30 08:30
Fox Glacier (Depart) 09:00 09:00 09:00 09:00
Wanaka (Arrive) 16:30 16:30 16:30 16:30 16:30

Wanaka to Queenstown

  MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
Wanaka (Depart) 09:45 09:45 09:45 09:45 09:45
Queenstown (Arrive) 15:00 15:00 15:00 15:00 15:00

Queenstown

  MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
Queenstown (Non-Travel Day) 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 08:40
Mt Cook (Arrive) 13:30 13:30 13:30 13:30 13:30

Mt Cook to Rangitata

  MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
Mt Cook (Depart) 10:00 10:00 10:00 10:00 10:00
Tekapo (Depart) 13:30 13:30 13:30 13:30 13:30
Rangitata (Arrive) 16:00 16:00 16:00 16:00 16:00

Rangitata to Christchurch

  MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT SUN
Rangitata (Depart) 12:00 12:00 12:00 12:00 12:00
Christchurch (Arrive) 15:00 15:00 15:00 15:00 15:00

Short Q Pass

$755
$0

Total

$755

Short Q route 2018 19 01

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 thought 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‘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, your online Trip Manager (you'll receive log in info after you've booked). 

The buses run on a regular timetable with multiple departures a week so you can plan ahead too. 

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?

Where you sleep NZAt all of Stray's overnight stops along the route, you'll have a dorm bed reserved at our preferred accommodation. Simply book via the Stray Mate app. Its that easy. 

If you choose to hop-off and stay a few nights, you can book these nights via the app too.  


What activities can I do?

Activities NZThere are over 150+ activities on offer! Whether you are a hiker, a biker, a Lord of the Rings fan or an adrenaline junkie you can start getting inspired by checking out our comprehensive Destination Guides. 

 

Once you're on the bus, your Driver will recommend activities, let you know what they cost, even help you plan your budget so you can do as much as possible! 

 

You simply choose what you want to do, as you travel, and book via the Stray Mate app.

Who travels with Stray? 

Whos onboardOur travellers are an energetic outgoing crowd who share a common objective: to have a great time! Most are aged between 18 - 30 although we have no maximum age because we believe age doesn't matter - it's more about having a thirst for adventure! We get a wide range of nationalities from all over the world with the majority from UK, Europe and America. 75% of our travellers are travelling solo and some travel as part of a couple or group of friends.