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Haere Mai - South Island

Discover the best of the South Island - Hike some of New Zealand's best tracks, see dolphins in their natural habitat, bungy jump (if you dare) and be mesmerised by some of the bluest lakes you've ever seen.



DEPARTURE DATES: 

15 October (Picton)

Want to travel after October? Check out our Fantail 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! 


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 - South Island

$1,499

Itinerary

Bluebridge ferry from Wellington can be added to this tour for $54.

Picton to Marahau (Abel Tasman)

We depart Picton around midday from Picton Villa, before setting off through the picturesque Marlborough region where we'll stop to sample what the region is most famous for: Sauvignon Blanc wine! Then it's onwards to Marahau, situated right on the edge of the spectacular Abel Tasman National Park.

 

Accommodation: The Barn, waterfront accommodation

Optional paid activities: Wine tasting (usually $5-10)

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

Free activities: Mussel tasting, stargazing

Count yourself lucky - you have a full day to explore New Zealand’s most popular national park. From our accommodation you can hike straight into the park (no water taxi required!). It’s a cool 12kms to Anchorage and you’ll see the park’s natural golden sand beaches and brilliant blue waters along the way. The walk is approx. 4 hours each way but there’s enough photo stops en-route to spend an entire day exploring. Enjoy a picnic on the beach before checking out Cleopatra’s Pools, moss lined fresh water pools with a natural water slide.

Accommodation: The Barn, waterfront accommodation

Optional paid activities: Kayaking, skydiving, water taxi, canyoning

Meal options: Pack a picnic lunch and lots of snacks for your hike, Self-cater in the kitchen or use the BBQs

Free activities: Hike in the national park, relax on the golden sand beaches, see Cleopatra’s Pools

Buckle up for an awesome day driving down the incredibly scenic ‘wild’ West Coast, an area known for its untamed beaches and spectacular rainforest. Through Buller Gorge and down a stretch of road named one of the top drives in the world by Lonely Planet, there’s not much cell phone reception but you are NOT gonna need it – we dare you to peel your eyes away from the window for even just a second. We’ll stop at Cape Foulwind and the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and blow holes to explore this unique part of coastline before continuing on to the quaint township of Franz Josef, set amongst the rainforest.

Accommodation: Rainforest Retreat

Meal options: Pizza Party (optional), local restaurants or self-cater in the hostel kitchen

Free activities: Cape Foulwind, Buller Gorge, Pancake Rocks and blowholes, Hokitika

Ice, ice baby! Get ready to experience the Franz Josef Glacier, an iconic highlight of the West Coast. Take a short drive to the beginning of the track. Hike through native bush and across glacial streams to the terminal face of the glacier for spectacular photos or just hang out at the Retreat and relax in one of NZ’s largest spa pools.

Accommodation: Rainforest Retreat

Optional paid activities: Shuttle to the track

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

Free activities: Glacier hike, bush tracks, soak in the spa

It’s another scenic journey today with plenty of photo stops – your Mum isn’t gonna be the only one who thinks your travel photos are world-class! First up is the amazing mirror-like Lake Matheson for a short walk. We travel inland through the mountainous Haast Pass and alongside beautiful Lake Hawea to arrive in Wanaka late-afternoon. It’s the perfect time to get your own photo of the famous Wanaka Tree set against a sunset backdrop. Dreamy!

Accommodation: Central Wanaka hostel

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

Free activities: Lake Matheson walk, Ship Creek walk, Blue Pools walk, Thunder Creek Falls walk

Kick start your day with a brisk walk up Mt Iron or have a sleep in (we know they’re necessary sometimes!). Mid-morning we’ll make our way to Queenstown, known in New Zealand as the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’ and the spiritual home of bungy jumping. We stop at Kawarau Bridge on our way into town a.k.a. the first commercial bungy jumping site in the world. If you’re feeling brave you can tick the bungy off your bucket list or if you’d prefer to just watch then you can cheer your mates on from the viewing platform!

Accommodation: Central Queenstown hostel

Optional paid activities: Puzzling World, skydiving, mountain biking, pilot your own stunt plane or learn to fly and take a friend for free, bungy jumping

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

Free activities: Walk Mt Iron, watch people jumping off a bridge!

Yaaaasssss Queen(stown)! You’ve got 3 full days in the adventure capital. With a buzzy night life, beautiful mountain scenery and plenty of outdoor activities, it’s easy to understand why so many backpackers refuse to leave this place.

Accommodation: Central Queenstown hostel

Optional paid activities: Any adventure activity that we mad Kiwis can dream up (bungy, swing, jet boating, skydiving, mountain biking, zipline, horse riding…)

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

Free activities: Hike Ben Lomond, the Queenstown Hill, or Bob’s Peak

Today we let our adrenaline levels return to normal as we head over the Lindis Pass through the Mackenzie region and past Lake Pukaki before arriving into our overnight destination: Lake Tekapo.  We arrive in the early afternoon with enough time to do the Mount John Observatory walk and witness incredible views of this electric blue lake and the Southern alps. Or if you'd rather just have a ‘self-care’ afternoon, then the Tekapo Hot Springs are the perfect place to relax and soak up the scenery. Tonight, if skies are clear, head outside to experience one of the best stargazing spots in the country.

Accommodation: YHA Tekapo

Optional paid activities: Tekapo Hot Springs, Ice Skating, Snow tubing

Meal options: Self catering in the hostel kitchen or local bars and restaurants

Free activities: Mount John Observatory Hike, Church of the Good Shepherd, stargazing

Our next stop is the Garden City of Christchurch, a city where old meets new, as the rebuild continues following the devastating 2011 earthquake. Spend your afternoon wandering the city streets and laneways to discover creative street art and hidden eateries.  See how Christchurch earned its nickname as the Garden City by visiting the Botanic Gardens. Take a walk down Hereford St to see the ‘Cardboard’ Cathedral and the earthquake memorial of 185 White Chairs. 

Accommodation: All Stars Inn

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

Free activities: Explore Christchurch by foot, check out the Cardboard Cathedral and inner-city street art, the new Riverside Market, Botanic Gardens, Canterbury Museum and 185 White Chairs memorial. 

Start your day with a freshly roasted coffee and an artisanal pastry from the Riverside Market then take yourself on a walking tour of Christchurch. Visit the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and see how Christchurch earned its nickname as the Garden City. Visit Canterbury Museum to learn about the past, present and future of the region. Walk down Hereford St to see the ‘Cardboard’ Cathedral then to the memorial of 185 White Chairs. Wrap up your tour by treating yourself to a burger at Smash Palace (an inner-city icon) – you deserve it after a big day of exploring!

Accommodation: All Stars Inn

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

Free activities: City sightseeing: Riverside Market, Botanic Gardens, Canterbury Museum, Cardboard Cathedral, 185 White Chairs

Wakey wakey! We’ve got an early morning start for a beautiful drive up the coast to Kaikoura. Arriving in Kaikoura around midday, you will have the afternoon free to explore.  See the Kekeno (NZ fur seal) colony near Goose Bay and hike around the peninsula to check out the breathtaking views from the lookout. You’re likely to see sea birds, seals and maybe even whales or dolphins if you’re lucky!

Accommodation: Warm modern hostel

Optional paid activities: Whale watching by boat or by plane, swimming with dolphins, guided fishing trip

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

Free activities: Visit a fur seal colony, walk around the peninsula and up to the lookout

This morning we’ll hop on the bus and wind our way up the coastal roads towards the top of the South Island back to Picton where your trip comes to an end. We hope you had an incredible adventure! 

Haere Mai - South Island

$1,499

Haere Mai South

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]