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Haere Mai - North Island Tour

Explore the very best of the North Island. Visit volcanic plateaus and vibrant cities, immerse yourself in local Maori culture and relax on some of the best beaches New Zealand has to offer.



DEPARTURE DATES: 

6 October (Auckland)

Want to travel after October? Check out our Whio Tour.


Tour Highlights:

Scroll through to see what you'll get up to...



What's included:

  Accommodation

Dorm Style Accommodation (4-10 beds) is included. You'll stay in comfortable backpacker hostels, cabins and lodges. All accommodation facilities have self-catering kitchen facilities. 


 Private coach transport

Take the pressure off, kick back, relax, soak up the scenery and let someone else do the driving. You'll travel by private, air-conditioned bus. 


 Stray Guide

Expect entertaining anecdotes, great recommendations, extra support and local insider knowledge from your charismatic guide. They know every inch of this country. You can't get this from a google search!


Strademark iconLake Aniwhenua - Strademark Experience 

This experience is an introduction to modern day Maori culture. You’ll be hosted by a local Maori family, taken on a guided tour to a sacred archaeological site, be introduced to the local Maori stories and games and be treated to a delicious hangi dinner, cooked under the ground.


What our customers say:

Are you thinking about joining an upcoming tour?
 
Here's why our passengers chose to travel the Stray way...

"I couldn't ask for a better group with so many amazing warm-hearted people. Thank you so much for making this adventure so magical. The goodbyes are only hard because it was such a great time!"
- Tim, Haere Mai Tour June 2020

"This trip was the happiest 24 days of my 6 months in New Zealand. Thank you for adding so much joy to this journey!"
- Monica, Haere Mai Tour June 2020

"I'd say that the last few weeks were the best time for me in New Zealand and probably the best time of my life as well. This trip was incredibly awesome!"
- Mischa, Haere Mai Tour June 2020


What we're all about...

tick for website 01We're locals who support localsWe're not about mass produced tourism.
We're all about finding one-of-a kind experiences and supporting small communities. 


tick for website 01We spearheaded the 'off the beaten track' movement in New Zealand. 
Stray are the original experts in seeking out secluded destinations, taking our travellers off the grid since 2002.


tick for website 01Our Stray Guides are next level and will, no doubt, play a starring role in your travel stories. 
Read our reviews and you'll see what we mean!


tick for website 01Travel is about creating lasting connections and sharing experiences. 
Stray travellers are open minded adventurers who make the most of every moment.


tick for website 01We aim to leave New Zealand better than we found it, protecting our environment for future generations.
Travel with us and together we can make a positive change.

Haere Mai - North Island Tour

$1,069

Itinerary

Auckland to Hahei

Today’s the day we say ‘haere rā’ to Auckland and ‘kia ora!’ to the trip of a lifetime! First stop, Hahei Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula. This gorgeous little place will capture your heart (and have you calculating how much it would cost to move to NZ’s coast eternally). When the tides are right, we’ll drive over to the nearby Hot Water Beach and dig ourselves an all-natural hot pool in the sand. Who said backpackers can’t do luxury?

Accomodation: Cabin accommodation by the beach

Meal options: We’ll stop at a supermarket to stock up on supplies en-route - Self-cater or join the optional group BBQ dinner

Free activities: Dig a hot pool at Hot Water Beach

If you don’t believe in magic yet you might just change your mind after watching a sunrise on Hahei Beach. It’s worth the 7am alarm – trust us – but don’t even think about going back to bed afterwards. Instead, grab a coffee, pack a picnic and ‘carpe diem’ by hiking to the hidden paradise we like to call Cathedral Cove. Walk to the north end of Hahei Beach, up the coastal track and along the cliffs to discover heaps of cool little coves and bays!

Accommodation: Cabin accommodation by the beach

Optional paid activities: Kayaking, guided boat tour.

Meal options: Self-catering available (Kitchen and BBQs), Fish and Chips at the pub

Free activities: Hike to Cathedral Cove, explore Hahei or relax on the beach

It’s just a short trip to Rotorua and, let’s just say, the ‘unusual’ sulphur smell will be a telltale sign that you’ve arrived! Known as the North Island’s geothermal hot spot and hub for all the very best adventure activities, Rotorua is 100% one of the best places to explore… even if your nostrils tell you otherwise! We’ll stop at the Whakarewarewa Forest for a walk amongst the giant California Redwoods planted over 100 years ago before checking in at our hostel. If you want to see some geothermal activity for free, head across the road to Kuirau Park to see boiling mud pools and steaming lakes.

Accommodation: YHA Rotorua

Meal options: Local restaurants or self-cater in the hostel kitchen

Free activities: Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest walk, Kuirau Park

There’s so much to see and do around Rotorua, the hard part will be deciding what to do with your free day. You could hire a mountain bike, go ziplining through native bush, try zorbing, go whitewater rafting or hop on the gondola and race your mates down a mountain on a luge. If you’re looking to relax instead, have no fear! Visit the thermal pools, sample all the food on Eat Street or explore the lake front area and the Government Gardens.

Accommodation: YHA Rotorua

Optional paid activities: Hire a bike, Whitewater Rafting, River jet tour, Skyline Luge, ziplining, zorbing, geothermal attractions

Meal options: Local restaurants or self-cater in the hostel kitchen

Free activities: Explore the lake front and the Government Gardens

After hanging out in a major tourist destination like Rotorua, you’ll probably feel ready to experience a more authentic slice of New Zealand culture. Today we venture off the beaten track to the shores of Lake Aniwhenua. Kohutapu Lodge is owned by a local Maori family who are passionate about showcasing their Maori tribal heritage. You'll see sacred Maori rock carvings, play traditional stick games and watch the preparation of a ground cooked 'hangi', before tasting it for yourself! Prepare your tastebuds - this will probably be the best meal you eat in New Zealand, or maybe even in your lifetime!

Exclusive experience includes:

  • 1 night’s accommodation at the serene lakeside Kohutapu Lodge
  • Full traditional hangi buffet dinner & dessert
  • Continental breakfast
  • Guided tour to sacred Maori rock carvings
  • Introduction to the Murupara area, its people, history and challenges.

Accommodation: Scenic lakefront cabins

Optional paid activities: Learn the Haka, Maori flax weaving ($10 each)

Meal options: Full traditional hangi dinner and dessert included

Free activities: Maori rock carvings, volleyball, Maori cultural games

Rise and shine, strayers! Enjoy your buffet breakfast and get ready for a day of jam-packed adventure. Keep your togs (swimwear) handy, because our first stop is Kerosene Creek – a naturally hot river and the perfect place for a morning soak. Then it’s on to Taupo to see Australasia’s largest lake and the mighty Huka Falls before venturing about as far off the beaten track as you can get in the North Island! Blue Duck Station is a sprawling 7,200-acre high country farm that is both a working station and an eco-conservation pioneer dedicated to protecting the native environment for its namesake, the rare blue duck. On arrival, we will settle in to learn a little about daily life at Blue Duck, the station’s interesting settlement history and their sustainability efforts before cooking some dinner and chilling out around the bonfire.

Accommodation: Country station lodge

Optional paid activities: Skydiving or bungy in Taupo

Meal options: Breakfast included. We’ll stop at a supermarket to stock up on supplies - Self-cater or join the optional group dinner

Free activities: Huka Falls, Spa Park walk Taupo

Good news - You have a full free day to explore this ruggedly charming destination. For entertainment, you have the option to go horseback riding over rolling green hills, or jump on a 4WD and travel through native bush to the ‘Top of the World’ where you can see the three peaks of Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe. If you’d prefer to explore on foot, hike to the Kaiwhakauka waterfall and see if you can spot a rare blue duck in the flesh. Whatever you decide, we have no doubt this will be the start of your love affair with this lush kiwi paradise. Those holiday romances, aye!

Accommodation: Country station lodge

Optional paid activities: 4WD farm tour, half-day horse trek

Meal options: Self-cater in the lodge kitchen

Free activities: Hike to Kaiwhakauka waterfall

Limber up! Today you get the chance to tick off one of the most popular hikes in New Zealand, the epic Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Considered one of the world’s top one-day walks, this 19km hike takes you across a rocky plateau with dramatic volcanic peaks, craters and turquoise lakes that you (and your Instagram feed) will remember for a lifetime. The Crossing is open to walk year-round (alpine gear and guide are required in winter), but it is subject to the weather conditions. If the weather prevents you from doing the Crossing, there are other awesome short-walks in the area. Tonight, unwind after a big day in a cosy historic lodge in Raetihi – complete with a pamper room, spa bath and mountain views.

Accommodation: Historic restored lodge with mountain views

Optional paid activities: The Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Meal options: Pack a lunch & plenty of snacks and water. Group dinner (approx. $15)

Free activities: Taranaki Falls walk, visit the Volcanic Centre, Tawhai Falls (Gollum’s pool)

Onwards to Wellington, the ‘coolest little capital in the world’! Wellington packs a lot of character into its downtown district, with funky restaurants and bars along Cuba Street and Courtenay Place. Fill your afternoon by browsing through the exhibits at Te Papa National Museum, grab a craft beer at an edgy brewery, climb to the top of Mt Victoria for panoramic views or take a stroll along the waterfront and Oriental Parade. Oh and, most importantly for those who seek 24/7 caffeination, you’ll be glad to know that Wellington’s coffee culture and cafe scene is considered one of the best in NZ.

Accommodation: Central city hostel

Meal options: Local restaurants or self-cater in the hostel kitchen

Free activities: Walk Oriental Parade, head up Mt Victoria for fantastic views, visit Te Papa National Museum, Gumboot (welly) throwing

Today your adventure comes to an end. We hope you had a blast! 

If you have some time at the end of your trip, why not stay a few extra days in Wellington and explore the capital city. 

Haere Mai - North Island Tour

$1,069

Whio 10Day North Map

Need to Know

COVID-19 Health and safety measures 

We will ensure that we adhere strictly to government guidelines for tourism operators to minimise risk to our travellers, staff and operators. 

What this will mean: 

  • We will be doing everything we can to reduce the risk of transmission and we will be playing it safe. 
  • Travellers will be required to sign a declaration of health prior to beginning the tour 
  • Handrails and surfaces inside the bus will be wiped down daily 
  • Disinfectant will be used on the air conditioning filters in the bus daily
  • Hand sanitizer will be available on the bus 

If you would like a copy of our full WorkSafe COVID-19 Safety Plan, please email [email protected]