Stray Pukeko Tour will take you on a North Island adventure from Auckland to Wellington, exploring all the top sights, from the geothermal "Sulphur City" - Rotorua, to their favourite place to chill, Blue Duck Station. If you’re short on time and want to see the best of the North, the Pukeko has got you covered.
Hike some of New Zealand's best tracks, dig a spa pool in the sand, taste a delicious traditional hangi meal, see bubbling mud pools in Rotorua, try to spot a rare Blue Duck at Blue Duck Station and finish the tour with a night out in Wellington.
The new season twin share price is updated to NZD$2,965.00 per adult for booking September '23 departures onwards.
✔️ All Pukeko Tour departures up until June 2023 are GUARANTEED
Book with confidence
✔️ Money-back guarantee: full refund if the tour doesn't go ahead.
✔️ Flexibility: no fee to make changes.
Scroll through to see what you'll get up to or watch the video
High quality twin share rooms are included. You'll stay in comfy 3-4 star hotels for most of nights and high country farm or scenic lodges close to waterfront or national park in our unique destinations. Hotel rooms are with ensuite, while shared facilities are in Strademark places.
During the journey, you will experience the fantastic NZ by joining activities in the North Island.
- Cycle the Old Coach Road Heritage Trail for incredible scenery and NZ history
- Jump on the high country 4WD Eco Safari in remote Blue Duck Station
Lake 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!
A mixture of cooked and continental breakfasts are included for every morning of your tour. We've also included other meals here and there, be sure to check your itinerary for details.
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.
We are fun and multi-cultural small group tours with a maximum of 24 passengers plus a driver guide per bus. Most travellers on our Journey Tours are aged between 20-50 although we have no maximum age because we believe age doesn't matter - it's all about attitude!
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!
- 8 June (guaranteed!)
- 13 July
2023 - New Season
- 7 & 21 September
- 5 & 19 October
- 2, 16 & 30 November
2024 - New season
- 11 & 25 January
- 8 & 22 February
- 7 & 21 March
- 4 April
What our customers say:
"I loved the trip so much that I did it twice. The Morepork (now Ruru) takes you around most of New Zealand. You meet the most awesome people and has the best guide on the planet. I would even go on a third trip!"
- Christina, December 2020 & April 2021
"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!"
- Jacob, June 2021
"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, March 2022
What we're all about...
We're locals who support locals. We're not about mass-produced tourism.
We're all about finding one-of-a-kind experiences and supporting small communities.
We 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.
Our 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!
Travel is about creating lasting connections and sharing experiences.
Stray travellers are open-minded adventurers who make the most of every moment.
We 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.
Auckland Departure Info
7:30AM, 31 Wellesley Street West, Auckland CBD (outside Attic Backpackers)
*Subject to change. Please be ready at the pickup 15 minutes prior to the departure.
DOWNLOAD FULL PDF ITINERARY
Auckland to Rotorua
Kia Ora (hello) and welcome to your New Zealand adventure. Our tour begins in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland), the largest city in New Zealand and home to over 2 million people and around 50 volcanoes.
We’ll head out bright and early this morning and travel down to Rotorua, the North Island’s geothermal hotspot and probably second only to Queenstown in terms of its adventure activity offerings. Fondly known as ‘Roto-vegas’ due the high volume of tourists it receives, Rotorua is a hive of activity and culture.
We’ll stop at the Whakarewarewa Forest for a walk through the giant California Redwoods which were planted over 100 years ago before checking in at our hotel, the Distinction Rotorua. Centrally located and home to a spa, swimming pool and unlimited wifi (not the norm here in New Zealand) it’s a great base to explore from.
Rotorua Free Day
Today we have a free day in Rotorua. Have breakfast at the hotel and then head off to an activity of your choice. Go white water rafting down the kaituna river, zipline through the trees on an eco tour, zorb through rolling hills or just relax at a geothermal spa. If you’d like to see some geothermal activity for free, head to Kuirau Park to see boiling mud pools and steaming lakes.
Rotorua to Lake Aniwhenua
After a couple of days in a major tourist destination like Rotorua, you’ll probably want some time to recharge the batteries and experience a more authentic slice of New Zealand culture. After breakfast, we’ll venture ‘off the beaten track’ to the shores of Lake Aniwhenua and the incredible Kohutapu Lodge. Owned by a local Maori family who are passionate about showcasing their Maori tribal heritage, the lodge is a pillar of the local community.
We’ll be taken to see sacred Maori rock carvings, play a traditional game of Mau Rakau and watch the preparation of a ground cooked 'hangi'. We’ll enjoy an afternoon tea of freshly made fried bread as we speak with the team at Kohutapu Lodge and practice our weaving and haka skills. In the evening, we’ll sit down to enjoy our lovingly prepared hangi feast - this will probably be the best meal you’ll eat in New Zealand, or, dare we say, your lifetime.
Exclusive experience includes:
- Welcome to the tribal lands and a guided tour to sacred Maori rock carvings
- Introduction to to the Murupara area, its people, history and challenges
- Afternoon tea
- Mau Rakau (Maori stick games)
- Weaving Lesson
- Haka Lesson
- 1 night’s accommodation at the serene lakeside Kohutapu Lodge
- Full traditional hangi buffet dinner & dessert
- Storytelling around the fire pit
- Continental breakfast
Lake Aniwhenua to Blue Duck Station
We’ll tuck into our buffet breakfast and say goodbye to our wonderful hosts at the lakeside lodge before we depart this morning to Kerosene Creek – a naturally hot river and the perfect place for a morning soak. Afterwards we’ll drive on to Taupo to see Australasia’s largest lake and the frothy Huka Falls before heading inland to Blue Duck Station for an immersive and off the grid experience. Blue Duck Station is a 7,200-acre high country farm and is the most sustainable high country sheep and cattle station in New Zealand, the team have made it their mission to protect their native environment for its namesake, the rare blue duck. On arrival, we’ll 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 relaxing around the bonfire.
Blue Duck Station Free Day
Good news - we have a full free day to explore the station, a ruggedly charming destination that’s as far as we can get from the ocean by road. Options for entertainment today are horseback riding over rolling green hills or a 4WD eco tour through native bush to the ‘Top of the World’ where we can see the three peaks of Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe. To explore on foot, hike to the Kaiwhakauka waterfall and try to spot a rare blue duck in the flesh. So much to do and a whole day in which to do it - today is about our love affair with this lush kiwi paradise, ah those holiday romances.
Blue Duck Station to Ohakune
This morning we’re up nice and early to head straight to Tongariro National Park where we’ll 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 us across a rocky plateau with dramatic volcanic peaks, craters and turquoise lakes that we (and our 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 us from doing the Crossing, there are other awesome short-walks in the area. Tonight, we’ll unwind after a big day at our accommodation, the Powderhorn Chateau. Styled like a log cabin, this boutique accommodation is so cosy and even has an indoor heated pool where we can rest our weary bones after our hard days work - after all, we’re on holiday aren’t we?
Ohakune to Wellington
This morning after breakfast we’re going for a scenic bike ride along the Old Coach Road, an easy but epic 4-hour unguided bike trail. We’ll cycle on a unique cobbled road, past historic Viaducts and limestone cliffs and there’ll be plenty of stops along the way to take photos for the ‘gram. This is a great way to spend a morning learning about New Zealand history and seeing some pretty spectacular views as we go.
Afterwards, we’re heading down to Wellington, the ‘coolest little capital in the world’! Wellington packs a lot of character into its downtown district, with interesting restaurants and bars along Cuba Street and Courtenay Place. We’ll have an afternoon to browse through the exhibits at Te Papa National Museum, grab a craft beer at a 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, we are happy to say that Wellington’s coffee culture and cafe scene is considered one of (if not THE) best in New Zealand.
Wellington Departure Day
Today your adventure comes to an end. Say goodbye (or see you soon) to your mates and go your separate ways for now. We hope you had a blast and remain close with your Stray Mates for 4ever!
You'll stay in comfy 3-4 star hotels for most of nights and high country farm or scenic lodges close to waterfront or national park in our unique destinations. Hotel rooms are with ensuite, while shared facilities are in Strademark places. Upgrade to solo occupancy may be possible and subject to availability.
You can choose to upgrade your accommodation to a solo occupied private room (subject to availability).
- Single Room: +$1110
To request an accommodation upgrade, please choose Solo Traveller - Private Room from the drop-down menu, before you click BOOK YOUR TRAVEL button. Please email us to check availability before your booking: [email protected]
- At some destinations, such as Lake Aniwhneua or Blue Duck Station, your private rooms may not be with ensuite, but shared bathroom or kitchen facilities.
- We cannot guarantee room upgrade within 31 days of each departure. All requests will be subject to availability. If you wish to upgrade rooms after your trip starts, please ask accommodations at check in. You can be upgraded based on the availability and pay for the difference directly with the accommodations.
Pre or Post Accommodation
We recommend high quality pre or post accommodations if you need. Most of them are easy to get your Stray pickups by foot. Check out more information from the FAQs (Accommodation Tab) or contact our Reservations Team directly for a quote if you want to book with us.