The ultimate North Island holiday - this tour will take you to the very best spots including Hahei, Rotorua, Tongariro National Park and Blue Duck Station. You’ll also have the chance to explore the North Island’s two largest cities: Auckland and Wellington. Jump on the bus, meet your guide and get ready to hike volcanic craters, witness the stunning beauty of Cathedral Cove and learn all about Maori culture at the Tamaki Maori Village... just to name a few things!
"This was without a doubt one of the best experiences of my life. I recently quit my job and decided to travel for a while (alone), and I was looking for a tour where I could meet people while also covering a lot of ground. Stray did not disappoint. I did the Beetham tour of the North Island, and it was truly life-changing. I met incredible people and saw/did things that I will remember forever."
You'll travel in our comfortable mid-sized coaches around the North Island.
Far more than just a driver - expect entertaining commentary, insight into local secrets and extra support from your guide.
These are the special off-the-beaten-track destinations on the route that make Stray's tours stand out from the crowd. You can see them marked with a heart on the map because they're the places our travellers love.
6 nights’ accommodation in a variety of quality hostels, wilderness lodges, cabins and an overnight cruise.
6 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 4 dinners
Top rated activities
From hiking across volcanic plateaus to soaking in natural hot pools on the beach, there are so many awesome activity included:
- 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
- 4WD eco-wilderness farm tour
- Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Your Guide can help you book any additional activities you want to do that are not included in the itinerary, often at a special discounted Stray price!
Due to COVID-19 all Stray trips are suspended until 1 November 2020. Please check our Service Updates page for more information.
Summer Departures: November 2020 - April 2021
Departs from: Auckland
You can select your departure date and check availability at checkout.
- Download itinerary: Beetham Summer 20-21 (PDF)
Nau mai, haere mai (welcome)! Your journey kicks off in New Zealand’s largest city Auckland. We depart Auckland and head south east to the pristine sands of Hahei Beach, from which you can access the famous Cathedral Cove. Accessible only by foot, boat or kayak, you’ll discover some of New Zealand’s most spectacular scenery and stunning sea views in this beautiful coastal spot. Cathedral Cove is a ‘must see’ on the Coromandel Peninsula. We’ll also pay a visit to Hot Water Beach, a unique surf beach where you can dig a hole in the sand to create in your own personal spa pool (tide dependent). Includes dinner
Today, we’ll make our way towards the North Island's main tourism hub of Rotorua. 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.
You have a full free day in Rotorua to discover an area well-known for its Maori heritage, adventure and geothermal activity. Here you have the chance to do some great optional activities, such as a visit to the Hobbiton Movie Set, white water rafting, ziplining through native bush, mountain biking and more. A great option to finish the day is to spend the evening soaking in the hot pools at the luxurious Polynesian Spa. Includes breakfast
After your big day of hiking, you get a chance to sleep in and we won’t depart until midmorning. Our destination today is one of 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 cooked using local produce. Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner.
After your big day of hiking, you get a chance to sleep in because we won’t depart until mid-morning. Our destination today is one of the most remote parts of the North Island accessible 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 tonight is cooked using local produce. Includes breakfast and dinner.
We depart early to arrive into Wellington by early afternoon. 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 scene, shopping, craft breweries and café culture. 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 marvel at the wonders of Te Papa National Museum or wander along the Oriental Parade for excellent views of the city. Includes breakfast.
Today is an express day, via National Park back to New Zealand’s largest city Auckland. We stop along the way for photo opportunities and have lunch in National Park village, before heading back to Auckland for a late afternoon arrival. We hope you had a blast on your New Zealand journey! Includes breakfast
You'll stay in high quality backpacker accommodation in a variety of hostels, wilderness lodge and cabins.
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: +$499
- Double/Twin Room: +$289 per person (can only be booked if you are travelling with a companion).
To request an accommodation upgrade, please email us before you book to check availability: [email protected]
At some destinations your private room will include an ensuite bathroom and some it won't.
The standard accommodation at Hahei is quad-share and upgrades are limited. If available, you can upgrade on arrival and pay direct to the operator.
At Blue Duck Station the standard accommodation is six-share.
Need to Know
Due to COVID-19 all Stray trips are suspended until 1 November 2020. A new timetable will be available 1 August 2020. Please check our Service Updates page for more information.
Stray Journeys are small group tours designed to take you on a once-of-a-lifetime journey, with plenty of awesome stops along the way showing you the real New Zealand!
Some key details...
- Group Size: Small Group (Max 24, Avg 18)
- Physical Rating: Average - our tours include light hiking, biking and kayaking in addition to walking.
- Transport: Travel by private, air-conditioned minibus (14-24 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.
- Accommodation: Standard accommodation is quad-share. Upgrades may be available on request.
- Activities: Top-rated activities are included. If you want to do any additional activities, not specified in the itinerary, these can be booked via your guide, often at special Stray price.
- Meals: Meals are included in this tour. Any dietary requirements or allergies must be advised upon booking.
- Stray Journeys Travellers: Our travellers are from all over the world, they are energetic, adventurous and mainly aged between 22-35 years old. 70% of our travellers are travelling solo.
- Children: While not common, children aged between 7 - 17 are permitted to travel on this tour providing they are travelling with a parent or legal guardian and are booked to stay in a private room together. A 15% discount off these rates is available for children. Please email [email protected] to enquire about availability.
What to Bring:
Sturdy walking shoes/boots, swimming gear, hat and sunscreen, motion sickness tablets, water bottle, towel and toiletries, warm clothing and waterproof jacket, insect repellent, camera.
Luggage should be restricted to 15kg in a single bag or suitcase, plus a small day pack.
Every Wednesday from Auckland between October and April
Pick up locations and times:
Waterloo Quadrant (10 Waterloo Quadrant) - 7.30am
70 Queen Street (by Bank of NZ) - 7.35am
YHA City (Go to corner of Queen St outside Bus Stop 7062) - 7.45am
YHA International - 7.45am
Base (Corner of Queen and Darby Street) - 7.55am