This tour operates in our off-peak season between 29 April - 30 September 2019
View the Batten Summer tour (departing 6 October 2019 - 26 April 2020)
Start your tour from Auckland and take in all the highlights of the North Island from Paihia to Wellington, returning to Auckland. Enjoy quiet beaches, spot dolphins in the Bay of Islands, dig your own spa bath at Hot Water Beach and learn about Maori culture at the Tamaki Maori Village. To top it all off, you’ll be travelling with a knowledgeable guide and a small group of like-minded people who you'll be calling friends in no time!
All transport: You'll travel in our comfortable mid-sized coaches around New Zealand.
Experienced tour guide: Expect entertaining commentary, insight into local secrets and extra support from your tour guide.
Accommodation: 12 nights’ dorm-share accommodation in a variety of quality backpacker hostels, wilderness lodges and cabins. Upgrades to twin and single rooms are available - email [email protected] to book.
Top rated activities:
- Paihia: day trip to Cape Reinga
- Paihia: Hole in the Rock marine cruise
- Lake Aniwhenua: Kohutapu experience – guided tour of sacred Maori rock carvings, introduction to the Murupara area, Hangi and Maori bread cooking demonstration, delicious ground cooked hangi feast, dessert and continental breakfast.
- Whakahoro: Eco-Warrior 4WD farm tour
What's not included?
- Additional activities not specified as included on the itinerary. These can be booked via your guide, often at an exclusive Stray special price!
- No meals are included with Winter Itineraries except for at Lake Aniwhenua (includes afternoon tea, dinner and breakfast).
What to Bring
Sturdy walking shoes (ankle high), swimming gear, hat and sunscreen, motion sickness tablets, water bottle, towel and toiletries, warm clothing and waterproof jacket, insect repellent, camera.
During Winter our Stray Journeys are operated on our hop-on hop-off bus network. This means some passengers on your trip who are travelling on flexible passes will be hopping on and off the bus. Stray Journeys passengers will follow a fixed itinerary with specified inclusions. You can expect to travel on a modern comfortable bus (mid-coach) and to be led by a knowledgeable Driver Guide.
No meals are included with Winter Itineraries except for at Lake Aniwhenua (includes afternoon tea, dinner and breakfast). Winter itineraries are discounted to compensate for this.
All rates are in NZD, per person, and are subject to change.
A 15% discount off these rates is available for children aged between 7 - 17 years old. Children must travel with a parent or legal guardian and be booked in a private room with their parent or legal guardian. Stray Journeys are not suited to children under 7 years old. Please email [email protected] to book.
Not quite ready to buy, but don't want to miss out?
You can secure your seat with a 15% deposit, and you'll have six months to pay it off. Hit BOOK YOUR TRAVEL below and select from the payment options at checkout. Find out more.
Winter departures: 29 April - 30 September 2019
Departs from: Auckland
Day: Saturdays & Mondays
You can select your departure date and check availability at checkout.
Haere mai (welcome)! Your Stray adventure kicks off in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland. We depart northbound for the relaxed seaside town of Paihia, gateway to the beautiful Bay of Islands. On the way you’ll learn about the rich early European and Maori history of the region. After stopping to see giant kauri trees en-route, we continue on to Paihia. This afternoon you will do the famous ‘Hole in the Rock’ cruise and make an island stop in the bay. Keep a watchful eye out for playful dolphins and other marine life!
Today you travel to the northernmost point of the country, the spiritually significant Cape Reinga. Highlights of this day trip include a visit to 90 Mile Beach, dune surfing and seeing the clashing of two oceans! You have the option to sample some of the best fish and chips available on your way back to Paihia (own expense). Make sure you pack a lunch, snacks and enough water to fuel you through the day.
This morning you are free to explore this charming seaside town. You could view the 144 islands of the Bay of Islands from above with an exhilarating skydive, visit the nearby Waitangi Treaty Grounds, hop on the ferry to wander around Russell across the bay or just relax on the beach. We depart in the afternoon to head back to Auckland, where you have the evening free in the city.
Today you have a full free day to embrace the laid back Coromandel lifestyle. Get up early to catch the sunrise on the beach, then take a scenic coastal walk or opt to kayak to stunning Cathedral Cove. Another option is to take a guided boat tour through the cliffs and caves of the nearby marine reserve.
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.
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. Alternatively you can sign up for a guided tour through the world famous Hobbiton Movie Set.
Today we head further off the beaten track to the remote area of Lake Aniwhenua. A local Maori guide will share the area’s history and lead us to visit the area’s sacred archaeological sites. Tonight, your hosts will teach you how to prepare a traditional 'Hangi' (a feast cooked underground) and introduce you to a fun stick game to challenge your hand-eye coordination. For those visiting during school term, you will be both touched and inspired as you learn about a local community program in which Stray passengers are participating. (D)
Please note: The minimum number required to visit Lake Aniwhenua is 9 people. Groups that don’t meet minimum numbers will overnight in Taupo. Please contact Reservations if your group does not visit Lake Aniwhenua.
After breakfast we depart and head to Taupo to see the mighty Huka Falls, and for the brave we have time for skydiving! In the afternoon, we make our way to Blue Duck Station, an award-winning 7,200 acre high country farm that is both a working station and an environmental conservation leader. Settle in and spend the evening learning a little more about what makes this unique destination one of Stray’s top rated stops. (B)
Today you have a free day to explore this truly amazing and secluded location in depth. The included 4WD farm tour will give you a tantalising taste of life in remote, rural New Zealand. There are plenty of other optional farming and conservation-based activities for you to experience around the property as well.
We depart at 6am and head to the active volcanoes of the nearby 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. Be prepared for some epic scenery as you walk around the base of “Mt Doom” from the Lord of the Rings films. Tonight, you can soothe your tired muscles from the big walk in the spa pool at your accommodation or relax with a celebratory drink by the fire.
Today we head to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, via Ohakune, Taihape and Bulls. You have the afternoon to cruise around the shops and cafes along popular Cuba Street, discover the New Zealand wonders on display in Te Papa Museum or stroll along the waterfront.
We've chosen high quality backpacker accommodation in a variety of hostels, wilderness lodges and cabins. Dorm-share accommodation is included with your tour. You can choose to upgrade your accommodation to a single or twin/double private room (subject to availability). Upgrades do not apply to Hahei accommodation (2 nights).
- Single Room: +$660
- Double/Twin Room: +$365 per person
To request an accommodation upgrade for your whole tour please email us ([email protected]) to book.
Or you can choose to upgrade as you go and pay the difference directly to the operator when you arrive (subject to availability).
- Twin/Double upgrades are based on two people sharing and can only be booked if you are travelling with a companion.
- Please note that at some destinations your private room will include an ensuite bathroom and some it won't.
- The standard accommodation in Hahei is quad-share and upgrades are limited. If available you can upgrade on arrival and pay direct to the operator.
Need to Know
Stray Journeys are small group tours based on a fixed itinerary where you stay with the same guide and group of travellers.
Think of it as a road trip experience, where your guide takes you on a once-of-a-lifetime journey, with plenty of awesome stops along the way showing you the real New Zealand!
- Bus transport around the North Island
- Local knowledge, entertaining commentary and bookings service from your tour guide
- All accommodation, quad-share (summer) or dorm-share (winter) (upgrades available)
- Some meals and a selection of activities (as indicated on each tour's itinerary)
- Special deals on activities
What's not included?
Any additional activities not specified as included on the itinerary. These can be booked via your guide, often at an exclusive Stray special price!
If you would prefer to buy a bus pass only and pay-as-you-go for accommodation and activities, check out our Hop-on Hop-off passes.