Stray Travel Bus Tours
Home. Our Trips » New Zealand » Blake (Off-Peak)

Blake (Off-Peak)

Tour Highlights

This trip encompasses the very best parts of New Zealand in 3 weeks. Prepare to have the time of your life with a group of like-minded travellers and an energetic driver guide. Visit the famous hot water beach, beautiful waterfalls, the stunning beaches of the Abel Tasman National Park, see the milky way in Mount Cook National Park. You'll tick off all of the important ‘Bucket List’ activities!

"Trip was beyond our expectations- went Auckland through North Island- to South Island and ended at Christchurch....the pace and activities and places to stay were wonderful, and (except for 2 days slowed down by mountain weather, Mother Nature just doesn't cooperate sometimes) every thing went very well, including the mix of people. I highly recommend it."
Billy ODonnell

What's Included: 

All transport

You'll travel in our comfortable mid-sized coaches around New Zealand and your inter-island ferry transport is included too.

Stray Guide

Far more than just a driver - expect entertaining commentary, insight into local secrets and extra support from your guide. 

Strademark icon 7 Strademark Places

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.


20 nights’ accommodation in a variety of quality hostels, wilderness lodges and cabins.

trekkingTop rated activities

From wildlife cruises to scenic lakeside bike rides, there are so many awesome activity included:


  • 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:  Jet boat ride
  • Queenstown: Day trip to Doubtful Sound

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!

Blake (Off-Peak)



Due to COVID-19 all Stray trips are suspended until 1 November 2020. Please check our Service Updates page for more information.

Departs from: Auckland

Day: Tuesdays & Saturdays
Time: 7:30am

You can select your departure date and check availability at checkout. 

Auckland to Hahei (Off-Peak)

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 (tide dependent).

INCLUDED: Hahei Holiday Resort - Exclusive accommodation by the waterfront 

Hot Water Beach visit 

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 a fun photo op at a local landmark. 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.


INCLUDED: Comfortable central city hostel


OPTIONAL: White-water rafting, zorbing, adrenaline fuelled adventure park (big swings, bungees and more)


Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest walk, see the bubbling mud pools at Kuirau Park


Often labelled the adventure capital of the North Island, you have a full free day in Rotorua to discover a wealth of adventure activities and geothermal wonders. Go ziplining through native bush, zorbing or take a truly unique guided jet boat adventure to bathe in a hot waterfall. Looking to relax instead? Visit the hots pools and bubbling mud baths at one of Rotorua's geothermal parks or take in a Maori cultural performance. Film buffs may want to sign up for a guided tour through the world-famous Hobbiton Movie Set. The choice is yours!

INCLUDED: YHA Rotorua - Comfortable central city lodge 

OPTIONAL: River jet tour, white water rafting, ziplining, zorbing, geothermal attractions, Maori village and performance experience,  Hobbiton Movie Set tour. 

Walk around Ruakuri Reserve, Waitomo Valley Caves walk. 

There’s time to squeeze in one last Rotorua activity this morning before we head further off the beaten track to the remote area of Lake Aniwhenua for an exclusive cultural experience like no other. Your Maori host family will share with you their story and traditions, as well as their vision for making a difference in their remote community. You'll see sacred Maori rock art, play traditional stick games for hand-eye coordination and watch the preparation of a ground cooked 'hangi', before tasting it for yourself! (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.

INCLUDED: Kohutapu Lodge - Scenic lakefront lodge 

INCLUDED: Kohutapu ‘Strademark’ Experience – guided tour of sacred Maori rock carvings, introduction to the Murupara area, delicious ground cooked hangi feast, dessert and continental breakfast.

OPTIONAL: White water rafting, Zorbing, ziplining

After breakfast we depart and head to Taupo, where the bravehearted can opt to plunge from a plane to skydive over Australasia’s largest lake! If you're not up for an adrenaline hit, walk the Huka Falls Walkway track, or spend time exploring this popular lakeside town. 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 a top-rated stop. (B)

INCLUDED: Blue Duck Station and breakfast.

OPTIONAL: Skydiving!

Huka Falls, enjoy your hosts’ hospitality and stories on the local wildlife and history. 

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.

INCLUDED: Blue Duck Station - Country station lodge 

INCLUDED: Eco-Warrior 4WD farm tour.

OPTIONAL: Horse riding, clay pigeon shooting and pest hunting. 

Walk around the property, take in the lush scenery, walk to the Kaiwhakauka waterfall.

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 across a rocky plateau with dramatic volcanic peaks, craters and turquoise lakes that you’ll remember for a lifetime. 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.

INCLUDED: Snowy Waters Lodge - Historic residence with mountain views

OPTIONAL: Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Taranaki Falls walk, visit the Volcanic Centre. 

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.

INCLUDED: Nomads Capital - Central city hostel

Walk Oriental Parade, head up Mt Victoria for fantastic views, visit Te Papa National Museum.

We catch the early Bluebridge Ferry across the Cook Strait to the South Island where you meet the bus in Picton. 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.

INCLUDED: The Barn - Unique Stray accommodation on the edge of the national park

OPTIONAL: Wine tasting, skydiving.

INCLUDED: Ferry crossing from Wellington to Picton.

Free Activities: Swim, walk, mussel tasting around the fire. 

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.

INCLUDED: The Barn - Unique Stray accommodation on the edge of the national park.

OPTIONAL: Full day sailing trip, kayaking, skydiving, hang gliding, swimming

INCLUDED: Walk part of the Abel Tasman track and catch an Aqua Taxi home.

Buckle up for an awesome day driving down the incredibly scenic ‘wild’ West Coast, an area known for its untamed beaches and spectacular rain forest. 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 stop on our way down the coast to take a walk around the unique limestone rock formations known as the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and their fantastic blowholes. 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 famous Franz Josef Glacier.


INCLUDED: Rainforest Retreat - Lodge in the middle of the rainforest 

Buller Gorge, Cape Foulwind Seal Colony, Pancake Rocks and Blow holes, Hokitika greenstone store

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

INCLUDED: Base Wanaka - Central hostel

Lake Matheson walk, Ship Creek walk, Blue Pools walk, Thundercreek Falls walk, explore Wanaka

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 four 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: Today is up to you! If you enjoy hiking, there’s a plethora of hikes you could do. Start at the base of the Skyline Gondola and follow the 45-minute Tiki Trail to the top of Bob's Peak and witness the Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu from above. If you’re after something a little more challenging, you could continue to hike to the top of Ben Lomond, Queenstown's highest peak!  There’s plenty of optional adventure activities on offer as well as great cafes, shops and galleries if you feel like a more laid-back day.

Day 4: 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 overnight stop at the base of New Zealand’s highest mountain Aoraki/Mt Cook, arriving in the early afternoon.

INCLUDED: Mt Cook Backpacker Lodge - Stunning alpine lodge

OPTIONAL: Visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, 4WD Tasman Valley tour, Scenic flight.

Take photos of awe-inspiring scenery, do one of the many great short walks to the Hooker Glacial Lake. 

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 (winter only) 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 Christchurch, a city where old meets new, as the rebuild continues following the devasting 2011 earthquake. Spend your afternoon wandering the city streets and laneways to discover creative street art intended to bring cheer and colour to a city once buried in rubble.

INCLUDED: Central Christchurch Hostel

OPTIONAL: Tekapo Hot Springs, ice skating (April-Sept), snow tubing (June-Sept), stargazing (must hop off in Tekapo)

Visit Lake Tekapo, Church of the Good Shepherd, Mt John Observatory walk, explore Christchurch by foot, check out the Cardboard Cathedral and inner-city street art.

Blake (Off-Peak)



We've chosen high quality backpacker accommodation in a variety of hostels, wilderness lodges 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). Upgrades do not apply to Hahei accommodation (2 nights). 


  • Single Room: +$1140
  • Double/Twin Room: +$475 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). 

Please note: 

  • 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

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 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!

During the off-peak season (April to September) Stray Journeys tours are operated on the Freestyle Travel route. This means that some passengers on your trip who are travelling on flexible passes will be hopping on and off the bus but you will stick with the bus for the duration of your tour. 

Some key details...

  • Group Size: Small Group (Avg 15, Max 45)
  • Physical Rating:  Average - our tours include light hiking
  • Transport: Travel by private, air-conditioned bus (20-45 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 dorm-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 not included except for at Lake Aniwhenua (includes afternoon tea, dinner and breakfast).  If you have any dietary requirements, please let us know when you book.
  • 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 Tuesday and Saturday between April and September from Auckland City: 

  • YHA City (Go to Queen St) 7:20am
  • YHA International 7:20am
  • Base ACB (Corner of Queen St & Darby St) 7:30am
  • Oakley Shop (99 Queen St) 7:40am
  • Nomads Auckland (Go to Oakley Shop) 7:40am 

Travelling in Summer from October - April

Between October and April, a variation of this tour is available: Blake Tour

This tour follows a different itinerary to suit the season.