Heading West from Christchurch, you'll travel though the Southern Alps to discover the West Coast taking in glaciers, lakes, snow capped peaks and Doubtful Sound (Fiordland). Then you’ll loop back up through Queenstown, Wanaka and Mount Cook towards Christchurch. Kick back and relax as your knowledgeable driver guide shows you the best bits of New Zealand’s South Island and enjoy the comfort of having your accommodation and activities organised for you!
You'll travel in our comfortable mid-sized coaches around the South Island and you'll also travel on world famous TranzAlpine train journey between Christchurch and Greymouth.
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.
9 nights’ accommodation in a variety of quality hostels, wilderness lodges and cabins.
Top rated activities
- Christchurch to Greymouth: Highly regarded TranzAlpine Scenic Train
- 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!
Due to COVID-19 all Stray trips are suspended until 1 November 2020. Please check our Service Updates page for more information.
Departs from: Christchurch Train Station (Troup Drive)
Day: Wednesdays & Saturdays
Time: 7:45am for check in.
You can select your departure date and check availability at checkout.
You’ll start your Stray trip, crossing the beautiful Southern Alps on route to the West Coast town of Greymouth to meet up with your Driver Guide and group. From here you’ll continue on with the Stray group to the town of Franz Josef, home of the mighty Franz Josef Glacier. Your Southern Alps transfer will be on the highly regarded TranzAlpine Scenic Train.
Please note: The first travel sector of this day is an transfer on a partner service. Please contact the Stray office at least 48 hours before departure to confirm departure details.
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 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.
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.
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: +$535
- Double/Twin Room: +$300 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
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 (May to October) 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 TranzAlpine Train from Christchurch to Greymouth and then on our Stray private, air-conditioned buses (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 so you have the flexibility to choose your own.
- 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 and Saturday between May and October from Christchurch Train Station.
Travelling in Summer from October - April
Between October and April, a variation of this tour is available: Haast Tour