Jerry is perfect for you if you want to get off the beaten track in the central North Island and immerse yourself in New Zealand culture. Click here to see the route!
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Flexible bus transport
Travel on our comfortable private buses and hop-on hop-off anywhere along the route.
Far more than just a driver, Stray Driver Guides are invaluable sources of local knowledge and support.
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!
Add on the Beach Hopper
To Upgrade: Select "+ Beach Hopper" from the Options.
- Stay at an eco-lodge, built in native bush in Raglan – overlooking New Zealand’s black sand, premier surf beach.
- Explore an underground cave network at Waitomo Caves
- Visit Mount Maunganui, a local favourite holiday spot with an expansive white sand beach, hip cafes and boutique shops.
This section of the pass must be travelled between 5 October 2018 - 29 April 2019. The rest of the pass is valid for a year.
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 North 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 flexibility to start and finish anywhere?
The Jerry Freestyle Pass is a 'sweet as' choice for you!
Want a tour with accommodation and activities included? Check out our Stray Journeys tours.
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 Hahei beach, an idyllic spot in the Coromandel, within walking distance to Cathedral Cove.
- Stay at an eco-lodge, built in native bush in Raglan (included when you add on the Beach Hopper).
- Hike the majestic Mount Maunganui and admire miles of white sand coastline from above (included when you add on the Beach Hopper).
Get inspired and start planning your trip!
Travel smarter and safer - Stay covered on your adventures!
Get your trip off to a hassle free start with 2 nights’ accommodation at Nomad's Auckland.
Short on cash but don't want to miss out?
Deposit option available. Hit BOOK YOUR TRAVEL below and select from the payment options at checkout. Find out more.
This is a loop pass, which means you can start and finish anywhere!
Auckland is the most popular start location for this pass.
Please Note: The Beach Hopper section of this pass is an optional upgrade. The Rotorua to Auckland section of this pass is operated by a third-party bus company. Please confirm your booking with our reservations team 24 hours before to secure your seat. 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.
Nau mai, haere mai (welcome)! Your Stray adventure kicks off in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland. We depart for the beautiful Bay of Islands, bound for the relaxed seaside town of Paihia often called the ‘gateway to the Bay.’ We stop en-route to visit the Parry Kauri Forest Park and hug some of the world’s mightiest trees, the native kauri, on our way to Paihia.
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 walk to the nearby 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.
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 (tide 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.
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.
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). This afternoon you’ll have free time to explore the sights and smells of Rotorua.
Departing early from Rotorua, our first stop of the day is Waitomo, where the main attraction is underground! Don’t miss out on the opportunity for some seriously cool caving adventures. You choose your pace, from a serene boat journey to check out thousands of glowworms, to adrenalin fuelled abseiling, blackwater rafting, and ziplining through the cave network. If you’d rather stay above ground, you can stroll the scenic 45 minute Ruakuri Bush Walk, through native forest to a large cave.
Next, we will set off on a little adventure to Bridal Veil Falls, where a short walk through beautiful native bush leads to the impressive 55m cascading waterfall, before arriving at our overnight accommodation in Raglan. Watch the sunset, or join the yoga or Zumba class at the aptly named Inspiration Point. Then spend your evening chilling around the fire, enjoying the hostel sauna or searching for glowworms in the nearby bush.
There’s no better place to learn to surf than Raglan’s legendary left-hand surf break, so we recommend making the most of your opportunity to take a class this morning! If surfing isn’t for you, then you can cheer your mates on from the beach or head into town and check out what this rad little surfer’s paradise has to offer. Around midday, the surfers will head to town to grab a bite and meet up with the rest of the group.
From here we begin our journey to Mount Maunganui, located in the magnificent Bay of Plenty region. Along the way we make a couple of stops to admire the scenery. First we observe the Waikato landscape at the Kaimai Mamaku lookout, followed by a longer pit stop at McLaren Falls park, where you can explore the rockpools and spectacular waterfalls. Arriving at “The Mount”, you will have the afternoon free to relax, explore the local area, and try a New Zealand delicacy - local fish and chips on the beach. Make sure to soak up the laid-back, surfer vibes downtown this evening or just kick back on the beach under the stars.
Get ready for an action-packed day! Seize the morning with a sunrise hike up Mount Maunganui where you’ll be able to see the entire Western Bay of Plenty and admire the white sand coastline. Those who struggle to get up before the sun can rise a little later to enjoy a scenic hop-on hop-off cruise to the secluded Matakana Island. For a more hair-raising wake up, book in a morning sky dive in Tauranga.
We’ll re-join forces and hop on the bus to Rotorua around midday, stopping to enjoy some epic sights along the way – including the stunning Okere Falls and the striking Lake Tikitapu (known by the locals as Blue Lake). You’ll be able to snap some Insta-worthy photos from the viewpoints, get up close and personal with nature.
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. The choice is yours!
Today is an express day back to the ‘City of Sails’ via an intercity bus. N.B Please confirm your bus booking with reservations 24 hours before as this part of the journey is not operated by Stray. With an early evening arrival into Auckland, 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!
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.
Jerry Hopper: The Hopper section of this pass must be completed between 1st October and 29th April.
Auckland to Paihia
|Whangarei - Info Centre (Depart)||11:00||11:00||11:00||11:00||11:00|
Paihia to Auckland
|Whangarei - Info Centre (Depart)||15:00||15:00||15:00||15:00||15:00|
Auckland to Hahei
|Hahei (Non-Travel Day)||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free|
Hahei to Rotorua
Rotorua (via Waitomo) to Raglan (*Beach Hopper)
Raglan to Mt Maunganui (*Beach Hopper)
|Raglan - Karioi Lodge (Depart)||10:00||10:00||10:00|
|Raglan - Fire Station (Depart)||12:00||12:00||12:00|
|Mount Maunganui (Arrive)||16:30||16:30||16:30|
Mt Maunganui to Rotorua (*Beach Hopper)
|Mount Maunganui (Depart)||12:00||12:00||12:00|
|Rotorua (Non-Travel Day)||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free|
Need to Know
Some key details...
- Transport - Travel by private, air-conditioned bus (14-48 seats).
- Guides - Your Guide is also your driver - expect entertaining commentary, to learn some interesting facts about New Zealand and to hear a crazy story or two.
- Validity - This Freestyle Pass is valid for 12 months from your first day of travel.
- Hopping on/off - Hop on and off as much as you like along the travel route.
- Minimum Days - You don't need to hop off if you're short on time - you can travel your pass in the "Minimum Days". There are non-travel days throughout the route so you will not be travelling everyday.
- Departures - Buses run to a seasonal timetable at least 3x a week.
- Booking Buses - Use the Stray Mate app to manage your trip - you'll receive log in details in your Booking Confirmation email. If you're on a short timeframe, we recommend booking all your buses in advance.
- Accommodation - Book Stray preferred accommodation as you go via the Stray Mate app - there will be a dorm bed allocated to you at each overnight stop providing you book via the app 24 hours before.
- Activities - Book activities as you go via the Stray Mate app.
- Stray Travellers - Our travellers are from all over the world, are energetic, adventurous and mainly aged between 20-35. 75% of our travellers are travelling solo.