Heading West from Christchurch, you'll travel though the Southern Alps on the scenic TranzAlpine train, to discover the West Coast taking in glaciers, lakes, snow capped peaks and overnighting on a boat in Doubtful Sound. Then you’ll loop back up through Queenstown, Wanaka and Mount Cook towards Christchurch. Kick back and relax as your knowledgeable guide shows you the best of New Zealand’s South Island and enjoy the comfort of having your accommodation and some activities and meals organised for you!
"I only had 9 days to discover the beauty of the Southern island of New Zealand, and because of the Stray ‘Haast’ tour, I’ve seen all the best places in the Southern Island! It was amazing to share my experiences with a group of 18 people, which is not too big and not too small so perfect!"
You'll travel in our comfortable mid-sized coaches around the South 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.
8 nights’ accommodation in a variety of quality hostels, wilderness lodges, cabins and an overnight cruise.
8 breakfasts and 4 dinners.
Top rated activities
From sea kayaking in the Doubtful Sound to a scenic bike tour around Lake Wanaka, there are so many awesome activity included:
- TranzAlpine train journey from Christchurch to Greymouth
- Walk around Lake Matheson
- Admire the stunning colours of the Blue Pools
- Thrilling Jet Boat Ride in Mt Aspiring National Park
- Overnight cruise on a custom designed ship in the Doubtful Sound - this is one of New Zealand's most premier off the beaten track experiences!
- Sea kayaking in Doubtful Sound
- Scenic bike ride around Lake Wanaka
- Tasman Valley walk, Mount Cook National Park
- Explore Lake Tekapo.
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!
Summer Departures: 17 October 2019 - 31 April 2020
Departs from: Christchurch Train Station
Time: 7.45am for check in. Departs 8:15am.
You can select your departure date and check availability at checkout.
Nau mai, haere mai (welcome)! Your adventure begins with one of the world’s greatest train journeys, a ride on the TranzAlpine train. Check-in at the Christchurch Railway Station, then sit back to watch the South Island’s most stunning scenery roll by just outside your window. You’ll travel across the vast Canterbury Plains, cross winding ice-fed rivers and traverse the majestic Southern Alps via Arthur’s Pass. Your train journey ends on the West Coast in the historic gold mining town of Greymouth, where you will meet your driver guide and coach. From there, we carry on to our overnight stop in the quaint little town of Franz Josef, home to the mighty Franz Josef Glacier. Includes dinner
Enjoy a free day to get out and explore the natural wonder of Franz Josef Glacier. Navigate the maze of ice and explore the incredible landscape on a Franz Josef Glacier guided tour which we highly recommend (own expense). There are also many excellent bush hikes available in the region. Tonight, you can self-cater in the communal kitchen at our accommodation or take the opportunity to dine at one of the local cafes or restaurants in town. Includes breakfast
Today we head further down the West Coast towards Mount Aspiring National Park, stopping to take in the breathtaking scenery at the amazing mirror-like 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 to experience the best in shallow water boating, skimming just inches from the riverbed, viewing pristine waterways, snow-capped peaks and native bush. Includes breakfast and dinner
Today we venture into Fiordland National Park, one of New Zealand’s most beautiful and untouched locations, with stunning ice-carved fiords, valleys, lakes and mountain scenery. Within Fiordland we visit the magnificent Doubtful Sound, deepest of all the fiords, for a truly magical cruise experience surrounded by towering peaks and unspoiled wilderness. We will board a purpose-built boat and enjoy complimentary afternoon tea while cruising past fur seals, penguins and dolphins on our way to tonight’s anchorage. There are sea kayaks available if you’re keen to paddle in the fiord. If it’s a clear night, make sure to go up to the upper deck after dinner for exceptional stargazing. 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 a wide variety of excellent restaurants, pubs and live music around town. Includes breakfast
You have two free days in Queenstown to fully explore everything on offer. With so many fantastic activity options, it’s a great place to spend a couple days, no matter what your past-time of choice is. Why not start your first free day with the heart pounding adrenalin rush of one of Queenstown’s adventure activities? Options include: bungy jumping, zipline tours, canyoning, jet boating, skiing and skydiving. Optional activities and meals not indicated are at your own expense. Includes breakfast
Make the most of your final free day doing any of the incredible activities still on your bucket list or simply spend the day further exploring this spectacularly scenic little town. If you haven’t already, we recommend riding the gondola or walking to the top of the hill for the best views of the town, lake and surrounding mountains. 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 cycling along some of the world’s most beautiful lakeside bike paths. 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 Tasman 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
You'll stay in high quality backpacker accommodation in a variety of hostels, wilderness lodge, cabins and even overnight on a boat in the middle of Doubtful Sound!
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: +$535
- Double/Twin Room: +$325 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 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.
Need to Know
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 Thursday from Christchurch Train Station between October and April
Travelling Off-Peak: May - September
Between May and September, a variation of this tour is available: Haast (Off-Peak) Tour.
This tour follows a different itinerary to suit the season.