The Sheppard tour is not named after the occupation, despite the fact that New Zealand has seven times more sheep than humans. No, it's actually named after Kate Sheppard, the key person to help New Zealand women win the right to vote in 1893 and make us the first country in world to introduce universal suffrage. Go Kate! Just as she was a key part of New Zealand's history, on our Sheppard tour, you'll see all the key parts of the country that make New Zealand what it is today; from the far north which was once the capital of New Zealand, to Queenstown which has become the Adventure Capital of the World, and all the beautiful landscape in between!
Departures in Nov/Dec/Jan are filling up fast. Don't miss out! Book your seat today with a $10 Deposit
Scroll through the gallery below to see some of the highlights!
"I booked the Stray Journeys tour around both the south and north islands and loved every minute of it! The guides were super helpful and knowledgeable. The itinerary was well thought out and allowed for some time to relax but it also felt like there was always something to do. The optional activities were great fun but there was always something that could be done instead for free. I really recommend the Stray Journeys as it takes all the hassle out of traveling and you can see a big portion of NZ in just 3 weeks!"
SUMMER 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: 20 nights’ quad 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.
Meals: 18 breakfasts, 12 dinners
Top rated activities:
- Tree hugging at Parry Kauri Forest
- Swim at scenic Waipu Cove
- Bay of Islands Wildlife Cruise
- Ferry ride across Hokianga Harbour
- Sand boarding
- Visit Waipoua Forest and Tane Mahuta (NZ’s largest Kauri tree).
- Swim at Kai Iwi Lakes
- Walk to the world famous Cathedral Cove.
- Visit Hot Water Beach
- See bubbling hot mud pools in Rotorua.
- Experience Maori culture at Tamaki Maori Village
- See the mighty Huka Falls
- 4WD eco-wilderness farm tour
- Tongariro Alpine Crossing
- Take the Bluebridge Ferry across the Cook Strait to the South Island.
- Wine tasting at a vineyard cellar door
- Hike Abel Tasman National Park. You can choose to take a water taxi ride or hire a stand up paddle board
- Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa
- Seal spotting in Kaikoura
- Visit a Pounamu jade factory
- Walk around Lake Matheson
- Admire the stunning colours of the Blue Pools
- Thrilling Jet Boat Ride in Mt Aspiring National Park
- Overnight cruise on the Doubtful Sound
- Sea kayaking in Doubtful Sound
- Scenic bike ride around Lake Wanaka
- Walk the Hooker Valley Track
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!
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.
- Stray Journey Summer itineraries are October – April. Stray Journeys Winter tours operate from May - September and follow a different itinerary from the Summer tour. View the Sheppard Winter Journey.
- All rates are in NZD, per person, and are subject to change.
- A 15% discount off these rates is available for children 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.
- At Whakahoro standard accommodation is six share.
- Luggage should be restricted to 15kg in a single bag, plus a small day pack.
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Summer Departures: 7 October 2017 - 28 April 2018
Departs from: Auckland
You can select your departure date and check availability at checkout.
If you're interested in travelling in the winter season between May - September click here.
Nau mai, haere mai (welcome)! Your journey kicks off in New Zealand’s largest city Auckland. Pick-ups start at your accommodation bright and early, before we head north to the seaside town of Paihia. We stop en-route to hug some of the world’s mightiest trees, the native Kauri, enjoy a hike to a beautiful waterfall and stop for lunch and a swim at scenic Waipu Cove. This is followed by a trip to the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds (own expense), before settling into our accommodation where you’ll have a group meal and the evening free to relax. Includes dinner
This morning we take a scenic cruise around the beautiful Bay of Islands, a collection of 144 islands bursting with marine life, and there’s no better way to see it than by boat. Keep a watchful eye out and you may see wild dolphins!
In the afternoon it’s off to the Hokianga Harbour, where we will see the huge sand dunes. Tonight you have the option to take part in a Maori-guided twilight encounter, where you’ll visit the Waipoua Forest, learn about Maori legends and the spiritual inhabitants of the forest, and visit the largest Kauri tree in the world, the “God of the Forest” Tane Mahuta (own expense). Finish the day with a Kiwi classic for dinner, traditional fish and chips. Includes breakfast and dinner
We start the morning with a ferry ride across the Hokianga Harbour to go sand boarding down massive dunes (weather dependant); before we start to make our way south through the mighty Waipoua Forest. Here we will have the opportunity to visit NZ’s largest Kauri trees. We visit the idyllic Kai Iwi Lakes for a swim in the beautiful crystal clear waters surrounded by a pure white sandy beach, before returning to the ‘big smoke’ for a late afternoon arrival. Includes breakfast
We depart Auckland and head south east stopping for a walk to the famous Cathedral Cove. Accessible only by foot or boat, you’ll discover some of New Zealand’s most spectacular scenery and stunning views in this beautiful coastal spot. Cathedral Cove is a ‘must see’ on the Coromandel Peninsula.
Afterwards we’ll drive to Hot Water Beach, a unique surf beach where you dig a hole in the sand and sit in your own personal spa pool (tide dependent). In the afternoon there will be time for a kayaking tour (own expense) before we feast on a delicious BBQ for dinner. Includes dinner
Today we head for Rotorua, arriving around midday, to discover an area well-known for its Maori heritage, adventure and geothermal activity. Here you will get the chance to do some great optional activities, such as a visit to Hobbiton.
This evening you will be welcomed into the authentic Tamaki Maori Village, where you will discover Maori art, ancient rituals and traditions. Tonight we dine on a delicious hangi (Maori feast), enjoy an interactive cultural performance and the company of our Maori hosts. Includes breakfast and dinner
We start the day by visiting some bubbling mud pools before stopping at the powerful Huka Falls, NZ’s most photographed natural attraction. Our destination today the most remote parts of the North Island by road. We’re heading for the award winning Blue Duck Station in Whakahoro, a 7,200 acre high country farm that is both a working sheep and beef station and an environmental conservation leader. This afternoon you get the opportunity to take part in a 4WD Bush Safari and farm adventure, where you’ll explore this vast land and the New Zealand native bush, discover the remains of an unbelievable local history, and learn about the farm’s conservation efforts. Your dinner is all cooked using local produce. Includes breakfast and dinner
Today we make our way to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tongariro National Park, where you’ll get the chance to do what is rated as one of the world’s best one day walks, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.Trek through dramatic natural scenery, past volcanic peaks, vast craters and stunning turquoise lakes on one of the most spectacular treks in New Zealand. Alternatively you can go on one the shorter walks around this volcanic region or visit the Volcanic Centre Museum (own expense). Includes breakfast and dinner
We depart early to arrive into Wellington around midday. Wellington is known as the ‘coolest little capital in the world’ thanks to Lonely Planet, and it’s a great place to check out the lively arts, shopping and craft beer and café culture scene. As New Zealand’s capital city, it is home to New Zealand’s parliament and the iconic Beehive government building. This afternoon, you have the option to tour the world famous Weta Workshop, marvel at the wonders of Te Papa National Museum or wander along the Oriental Parade. Includes breakfast
Leaving Wellington we’ll travel across the Cook Strait on the Bluebridge Ferry to the South Island’s coastal town of Picton. Here we meet our coach and cruise through the famous Marlborough wine region. We visit the cellar door shop at a local vineyard to sample New Zealand’s world famous Sauvignon Blanc before heading to the spectacular Abel Tasman National Park. Tonight we enjoy some delicious seafood and a BBQ dinner at our exclusive campsite accommodation. Includes breakfast and dinner
Today is a free day to experience the incredible Abel Tasman National Park. Explore this stunning, coastal area famous for being one of the sunniest spots in New Zealand. Walk the coastal track and discover some of New Zealand’s best natural golden beaches or choose an optional activity like sailing or sea kayaking (own expense). Tonight you can self-cater and use the BBQ facilities at our accommodation on the edge of the national park. Includes breakfast
Today you’ll travel through beautiful scenery in the Kahurangi and Nelson National Parks where we’ll stop for a picnic lunch, before heading to the peaceful town of Hanmer Springs. This afternoon you are free to enjoy this alpine setting. Spend the afternoon surrounded by mountains and forest as you relax in the thermal hot pools. Tonight is a group dinner. Includes breakfast and dinner
Today we head for the East Coast and the coastal village of Kaikoura, famous for a huge array of natural wonders from land to sea. We arrive in Kaikoura early, so you are free to experience all this location has to offer. Why not go out on the water and experience one of Kaikoura’s famous dolphin and whale spotting tours (own expense), see seals sitting right beside the road at Goose Bay or wander around the peninsula and check out the breath-taking views from the lookout. After the afternoon’s activities, we make our way to the city of Christchurch. Check out the city sights as you make your way to your accommodation in the city centre. Includes breakfast
We depart Christchurch this morning for a stunning journey across the Canterbury Plains and over the famous Arthur’s Pass to the West Coast. Around almost every corner there is a picturesque backdrop to enjoy so have your camera ready as we stop often for walks and photo opportunities. We visit Hokitika, famous for pounamu (jade), before our day ends in the quaint little West Coast town of Franz Josef, home to Franz Josef Glacier. Includes dinner
Enjoy a free day and get out and explore the mighty Franz Josef Glacier. Navigate the maze of ice and explore the incredible landscape on a guided glacier tour, which we highly recommend (own expense). There are also many excellent bush hikes available in the region. Tonight you self-cater, giving you the opportunity to dine at one of the many local cafes and restaurants in town or make use of the self-catering kitchen at our accommodation. Includes breakfast
Today we head down the West Coast towards Mount Aspiring National Park, stopping to take in some breathtaking scenery at the amazing mirror Lake Matheson, NZ’s most photographed lake. See waterfalls as we travel through the mountainous Haast Pass towards Makarora then visit the stunning Blue Pools. On arrival in Mount Aspiring National Park we go jet boating, experience the best in shallow water boating skimming just inches from the riverbed, see pristine waterways, snow-capped peaks and native bush. Includes breakfast and dinner
Fiordland National Park is one of New Zealand’s most beautiful locations, with stunning ice-carved fiords, valleys, lakes and mountain scenery; it is our first port of call today. Within Fiordland we visit Doubtful Sound, the deepest of all the fiords, surrounded by towering peaks and huge waterfalls. We will board a purpose built boat and enjoy complimentary afternoon tea while cruising past fur seals, penguins and dolphins. There are also sea kayaks to explore the fiord. Includes breakfast and dinner
We depart Doubtful Sound around midday, leaving behind the stunning Fiordland to head for the ‘adventure capital of the world’ Queenstown. Queenstown offers an optional big (make that huge) night out with excellent restaurants, pubs and live music. Includes breakfast
You have two free days to fully explore everything on offer. Queenstown is a great place to spend a few days, no matter what your past-time of choice is. Options include: bungy jumping, zipline tours, canyoning, Shotover River jet boating, skiing, sky diving or walk Ben Lomond or Queenstown hill for amazing views, or just enjoy the stunning scenery and do nothing. Optional activities and meals not indicated are at your own expense. Includes breakfast
We’ll jump back on the bus for a short drive to Wanaka, where we’ll spend the morning biking some of New Zealand’s most scenic lakeside trails. After lunch, we head over the Lindis Pass through the picturesque Mackenzie region to the base of the country’s highest mountain, Aoraki/Mt Cook. There is time for a hike through the Hooker Valley for breathtaking views of the dramatic mountain landscape, or opt to take an alpine scenic flight (own expense). This is also one of the best places in New Zealand to join an evening stargazing tour. Includes breakfast and dinner
Today we make our way through a landscape made famous in the 'Lord of the Rings' films. We’ll take a break for a stroll around Lake Tekapo, iconic for its historic church and turquoise waters. Between Tekapo and Christchurch there is an option for thrill seekers to hop-off and join a top-notch Grade 5 white water adventure on the Rangitata River (own expense). Those not rafting will continue on to Christchurch, where your driver guide will point out the highlights of the South Island’s largest city. The rafters will rejoin the group in Christchurch this evening. This is where your tour comes to an end – we hope you had a blast on your New Zealand journey! Includes breakfast
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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).
- Single Room: +$1250
- Double/Twin Room: +$560 per person
To request an accommodation upgrade, please email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) to book.
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 the Coromandel and on the Doubtful Sound Cruise 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.