East Cape - Stingray Feeding
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East Coaster

There are no further departures scheduled at this time. 

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.   

The East Coaster can be booked on its own, or added to any National or North Island 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
  • Explore the bays by kayak 
  • Spend time swimming and sunbathing
  • Optional guided fishing trip, crayfish tour, stingray feeding and an active volcano visit.

"Stingray feeding is the most unreal experience ever! #putitonyourbucketlist"
Holly Blundell

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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 Maraehako Bay

We depart from Rotorua in the morning 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, with a stop for supplies and a picnic lunch in Whakatane. Our destination this afternoon is a remote hostel located directly on the waterfront. It’s the perfect spot to go kayaking or swimming in the local bay just outside your door. If you’re keen on a fresh seafood dinner tonight, sign up to take a boat tour to gather crayfish from their pots or a fishing trip with your host to some of his favourite fishing spots.

Picturesque ocean side retreat

Guided fishing trip, crayfish boat tour.

Kayaking, swimming, waterfront walks.

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.

Base 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: TBD

Operating dates: October 2018 - April 2019

Timetables are subject to change but our team will email you if this happens whilst you are travelling.


Rotorua to Maraehako Bay

Rotorua (Depart)
Whakatane (Depart)
Maraehako Bay (Arrive)

Maraehako Bay to Tatapouri (Gisborne)

Maraehako Bay (Depart)
Tatapouri (Gisborne) (Arrive)

Tatapouri (Gisborne) to Rotorua

Tatapouri (Gisborne) (Depart)
Whakatane (Depart)
Rotorua (Arrive)
EastCoaster - East Cape Tour

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 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?

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 pay the operators on arrival. 

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.