This tour operates in our off-peak season between 5 May - 22 October 2019
View the Mackinnon Summer tour (departing 26 Oct 2019 - 2 May 2020)
Spend two weeks exploring the South Island with an awesome guide and a group of like-minded travellers. Take in the diverse and stunning landscapes and embrace those once in a lifetime experiences such as spotting marine life in Kaikoura, cruising through Doubtful Sound, jet boating around Mt Aspiring National Park and stargazing in Mount Cook…. Just to name a few things!
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: 14 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:
- Marahau/Abel Tasman: Aqua Taxi
- Wanaka: Scenic bike ride around the lake
- Queenstown: Jet boat ride
- Queenstown: Day trip to Doubtful Sound
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!
"The concept of Stray is really good for solo travelling! I was quite apprehensive about doing something alone, but found that this was a perfect mix of solo travellers and small friend groups. I felt too old to be doing Kiwi Experience and found the age range to be 24-31 with a few 35+ on the trip. Our group formed a really tight bond and we did almost all the activities together and no one was left alone. The driver was super organised and really engaging on the trip and she really ensured we got everywhere on time and equipped with information."
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.
- All rates are in NZD, per person, and are subject to change.
- A 115% 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: 5 May - 22 October 2019
Departs from: Christchurch International Airport.
Day: Tuesdays & Thursdays
You can select your departure date and check availability at checkout.
Haere mai (welcome)! Your adventure begins when we depart from the Christchurch International Airport this morning and enjoy a beautiful drive up the coast to seaside Kaikoura. You have the afternoon free for activities to check out the amazing marine wildlife that call this area home. Go on a whale and dolphin spotting tour, search for seals sunning themselves at Goose Bay or walk to the peninsula lookout for breathtaking views.
Leaving Kaikoura this morning, we wind our way up the rugged coastal roads for the top of the South Island. We arrive into Picton around midday so you have plenty of time to explore this charming port town – go for a walk to take in the stunning views of the Marlborough Sounds or kick back and relax in the spa at your accommodation.
Enjoy a free morning to relax and explore Picton. There’s time for you to take advantage of the free fishing gear and bikes on offer from the accommodation. You will meet your group at midday and we will cruise through the famous Marlborough vineyard area and the coastal town of Nelson on the way to our amazing overnight stop of Marahau, right on the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park.
You have the entire day free to explore this stunning coastal national park renowned for its golden sand beaches. An Aqua Taxi ride is included in your tour, but you are welcome to upgrade to sailing or kayaking. Hike, sail, kayak or skydive – Abel Tasman National Park is gorgeous no matter which option you choose.
Buckle up for an awesome day driving down the incredibly scenic ‘wild’ West Coast, an area known for its untamed beaches and spectacular rainforest. We’ll pass through Buller Gorge and down a stretch of road that was labelled one of the top ten drives in the world by Lonely Planet. We’ll view the seal colony at Cape Foulwind before continuing further down the coast to the geographic wonder of Punakaiki’s Pancake Rocks and blowholes. Here we’ll take a walk around these unique limestone rock formations and stop for a bite of lunch. Our next stop is the historic gold mining town of Greymouth to collect passengers connecting from Christchurch. From here we’ll continue on, via Hokitika, to the quaint township of Franz Josef, home to the mighty Franz Josef Glacier.
Enjoy a full free day to explore the glacier. Live your glacier walking dream with a guided tour through a world of ice on the glacier or hike from town to view it from below, then unwind in the relaxing spa pools afterwards.
Depart early to take a walk along the shores of the amazing mirror-like Lake Matheson, and then travel through the mountainous Haast Pass and Makarora with plenty of photo stops along the way. We pass by the beautiful Lake Hawea on our way to arrive in Wanaka by late afternoon
This morning, head out to cycle some of New Zealand’s most beautiful bike paths along the lake before we depart Wanaka and cruise down to the famous original A.J. Hackett bungy site, where you can take the plunge - if you dare! Then, it’s on to the ‘Adventure Capital of the World!’ Queenstown offers an optional big (make that huge) night out with a variety of excellent restaurants, pubs and live music.
With so much to see and do in and around Queenstown, you need three full days to take it all in! To get you started, a couple highlight activities are included in your package.
Day 1: You'll take an exhilarating jet boat ride amongst spectacular scenery in the morning and then have the afternoon free for more Queenstown fun.
Day 2: Depart early on a day long trip to the jaw dropping Doubtful Sound in stunning Fiordland National Park, where you'll take a three hour wilderness cruise and learn more about this incredible natural wonder. You will return to Queenstown in the evening. Lunch is not included (you can purchase sandwiches and snacks on the day), so make sure you bring lunch, snacks and water.
Day 3: Make the most of your final free day doing any of the other incredible activities on offer or further exploring Queenstown. If you haven’t already, we recommend riding the gondola or walking to the top of the hill for spectacular views of the town, lake and surrounding mountains.
Depart Queenstown early to drive over the Lindis Pass through the beautiful Mackenzie Country and past the vivid blue waters of Lake Pukaki. Then, we head north to our amazing stop at the base of New Zealand’s highest mountain Aoraki/Mt Cook, arriving in the early afternoon.
Leaving Mt Cook, we make our way through a landscape made famous in the Lord of the Rings films. We’ll stop to admire the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo and the Church of the Good Shepherd – a famous photo stop. Relax in the Tekapo hot pools, go snow tubing or ice skating or hike up to the Mt John observatory where you’ll witness stunning views of the lake from above. After lunch, we will continue to our overnight stop in Rangitata Peel Forest. Tonight, we’ll stay in one of Canterbury’s original sheep stations.
This morning, you will have the opportunity to sign up to a Lord of the Rings tour or to explore the stunning Peel Forest scenery on horseback. Tonight, we’ll stay in Christchurch where you can spend your afternoon exploring the city or getting involved in one of the activities on offer.
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).
- Single Room: +$775
- Double/Twin Room: +$395 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.
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 South 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.