This tour operates in our off-peak season between 2 May - 9 Oct 2018
View the Blake Summer tour (departing 10 Oct 2017 - 1 May 2018)
The Blake tour is named after Sir Peter James Blake - a New Zealand yachtsman who won a series of prestigious titles including the Whitbread Round the World Race, the Jules Verne Trophy, successive victories in the America’s Cup from 1994 to 1997 as well as setting the fastest time around the world as co-skipper of ENZA New Zealand. Blake was passionate about getting on the water and on this tour you'll have plenty of chance too! Go jetboating in Queenstown, cruise the fiord of Doubtful Sound and zip through the Abel Tasman National Park on a speedboat.
Winter Tour Highlights
Scroll through the gallery below to see some of the highlights!
Winter Tour Inclusions
All transport: You'll travel in our comfortable mid-sized coaches around New Zealand and your inter-island transport between the North and South Island is included too.
Experienced tour guide: Expect entertaining commentary, insight into local secrets and extra support from your tour guide.
Accommodation: 21 nights’ dorm-share accommodation in a variety of quality backpacker hostels, wilderness lodges and cabins. Upgrades to twin and single rooms are available - email firstname.lastname@example.org to book.
Top rated activities:
- 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
- Marahau/Abel Tasman: Aqua Taxi
- Wanaka: Scenic bike ride around the lake
- Queenstown: Shotover Jet
- 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!
- 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 travelling with a parent or legal guardian. Please email email@example.com to book. Stray Journeys are not suited to children under 7 years old.
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Winter departures: 2 May - 9 Oct 2018
Departs from: Auckland
Day: Tuesdays & Thursdays
You can select your departure date and check availability at checkout.
Summer Departures: 10 October 2017 - 1 May 2018 - Summer itineraries differ so if you're interested in booking the Blake Journey in the summer season click here.
Depart Auckland in the morning and head south to the Coromandel Peninsula via the old colonial town of Thames. We’ll settle into our accommodation in Hahei before heading to Hot Water Beach, where you can dig your own natural spa pool in the sand (tidal dependent).
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 to travel towards the mighty Waikato River. Our destination is the world-renowned Raglan surf beach, with plenty of dairy cow spotting and a walk to Bridal Veil Falls on the way. Chill out on the beach or go hard surfing the waves in this funky surf and arts town.
Head to the rural town of Waitomo this morning for the chance to explore its famous cave systems and see the twinkling glowworms. We then carry on towards our overnight stop Rotorua, where you can spend the afternoon touring the Hobbiton Movie Set or checking out this popular tourist town known for its Maori culture and geothermal activity.
The morning is free to try one of the many adventure activities on offer in Rotorua, before we depart at midday to drive into 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)
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 catch the 8am Bluebridge Ferry (check-in 7am) across the Cook Strait to Picton on the South Island and meet the Stray bus. We will cruise through the famous Marlborough vineyard area and the coastal town of Nelson on our 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.
Today we head south towards the ‘wild’ West Coast passing through Buller Gorge and down a stretch of road that was rated one of the Top 10 drives in the world by Lonely Planet. We stop at Cape Foulwind to visit the seal colony and then head for the historic coal mining town, Westport. The sunset from our accommodation tonight is a must see if the weather is clear!
An early start takes us further down the rugged West Coast to the spectacular limestone Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and blowholes. We’ll stop to take a short walk and grab refreshments at the café before we head for the historic gold mining town, Greymouth. We do pick-ups in Greymouth and make a stop in Hokitika before reaching the quaint little town 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 Shotover Jet Boat ride through the spectacular Shotover River Canyons 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.
Today we make our way through a landscape made famous by the Lord of the Rings films. First, we head to turquoise Lake Tekapo, where we stop for ice skating, snow tubing or a swim at the hot springs. In the early afternoon we pass through Geraldine, and then continue through to spend the night in the heart of the Rangitata Peel Forest.
Depart early for an express haul across the Canterbury plains to Christchurch, arriving at the Christchurch International Airport at 9.40am, where your journey officially comes to an end. If you have more time to explore, we recommend checking out some of the city’s highlights, such as the Re:Start Mall, Quake City exhibition, Canterbury Museum or the gorgeous Botanical Gardens. We hope you’ve had a blast!
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We've chosen high quality backpacker accommodation in a variety of hostels, wilderness lodges, cabins and historic hotels. Quad-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: +$990
- Double/Twin Room: +$455 per person
To request an accommodation upgrade for your whole tour please email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
How It Works
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 New Zealand
- Inter-island transport between North and South Island (for National Tours)
- 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.