NZ - Stray - Ron

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NZ - Stray - Ron

640.00 857.00

Want to concentrate on the South Island? The "Ron" is for you – whether you have 2-3 weeks or 12 months, this includes our full South Island travel network.

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Description

We recommend at least 2-3 weeks to get the most out of your trip and to allow some time to hop-off and explore your favourite destinations for longer. 

 

DESTINATION HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Unique overnight and a free day in Abel Tasman National Park (walks, sailing and kayaking options in this stunning area).
  2. Experience the remote and rugged West Coast.
  3. Majestic Franz Josef glacier with a free day to hike and explore it.
  4. Spend a few days in Queenstown - the adventure and party capital of NZ!
  5. The stunning fiord of Milford Sound and historic Gunn's Camp.
  6. Stewart Island's natural untouched beauty and wildlife or the Catlins wilderness area for sealions and remote scenery.
  7. Stay at base of NZ's highest mountain Aoraki/Mt Cook.

Itinerary

Day 1 : Christchurch to Kaikoura

Haere mai (welcome)! Your Stray adventure kicks off in the South Island’s largest city, Christchurch. We depart from the Christchurch International Airport in the morning for a beautiful drive up the coast to Kaikoura. Enjoy an afternoon free for activities. Get out on the water and experience one of Kaikoura’s famous dolphin and whale spotting tours, see seals sitting right beside the road at Goose Bay or wander around the peninsula and check out the breathtaking views from the lookout. Accommodation: Warm modern hostel. Optional paid activities: Whale watching, swimming with dolphins (pre-booking is advised in summer for dolphin swimming). Go fishing and eat your catch or try the amazing fresh fish and chips! Free activities: Walk around the peninsula and up to the lookout.  

Meal(s) included : None

Day 2 : Kaikoura to Picton

Leaving Kaikoura in the morning we wind our way up the rugged coastal roads, with stops for photos and to visit a seal colony en-route. Your overnight stop tonight is the port town of Picton, where you have the afternoon free to check out the Queen Charlotte Sound walk or take advantage of the free fishing gear and mountain bikes at the accommodation. The spa pool at the accommodation is the perfect place to unwind at the end of the day. Accommodation: Cosy villa. Free activities: Seal colony, Queen Charlotte Sound walk, go fishing, bicycle around town, relax in the accommodation’s spa pool.  

Meal(s) included : None

Day 3 : Picton to Marahau (Abel Tasman)

Enjoy a leisurely morning getting to know charming Picton. You’ll meet your Stray group at the accommodation at midday. Once on the bus, we’ll cruise through the world famous Marlborough vineyard area and, depending on the group, we may stop for a wine tasting to sample the region’s specialty Sauvignon Blanc before heading to the coastal town of Nelson. We make a supermarket stop in Motueka to stock up on supplies for the next couple days and then make our way to our amazing overnight destination Marahau, right on the edge of the spectacular Abel Tasman National Park. Accommodation: Unique Stray accommodation on the edge of the national park. Optional paid activities: Wine tasting, skydiving. Free activities: Walks, mussel tasting around the fire, stargazing.  

Meal(s) included : None

Day 4 : Marahau (Abel Tasman)

With a full day at your leisure, don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore this stunning, coastal national park on foot, by sea or from the air. Abel Tasman is famous for being one of the sunniest spots in New Zealand and, as home to one of NZ’s Great Walks, is a popular place to hop off for hiking enthusiasts. Even those short on time can still use this free day to hike, kayak, sail or take a water taxi to get a taste of the park’s natural golden sand beaches and brilliant blue waters. Accommodation: Unique Stray accommodation on the edge of the national park. Optional paid activities: Full day sailing trip, kayaking, skydiving, water taxi, stand-up paddle boarding, canyoning, hang gliding, scenic microlight flight. Free activities: Walk in the national park, relax on one of the golden sand beaches, go for a swim.  

Meal(s) included : None

Day 5 : Marahau (Abel Tasman) to Westport

Today we head south towards the ‘wild’ West Coast, an area known for its beautiful untamed beaches and stunning sunsets. We pass through Buller Gorge and down a stretch of road that was once labelled one of the top ten drives in the world by Lonely Planet. We stop for a walk along the craggy cliffs at Cape Foulwind to view the seal colony at Tauranga Bay and then head for the historic coal mining town of Westport. This is the best place on the South Island to hit the waves with a surf lesson, and the sunset from our accommodation tonight is a ‘must see’ if the weather is clear. Accommodation: Charming character villa in the centre of town. Optional paid activities: Surfing, caving, craft brewery tour. Free activities: Westport seal colony, West Coast sunset.  

Meal(s) included : None

Day 6 : Westport to Franz Josef

An early start takes us further down the rugged West Coast to the geographic wonder of Punakaiki’s Pancake Rocks and blowholes. We’ll stop to take a short walk around these unique limestone rock formations before we head for the historic gold mining town, Greymouth. We do pick-ups in Greymouth and make a stop in Hokitika, one of the best places to pick up a piece of NZ greenstone. Then, we’re on our way to our next overnight stop in the quaint little town of Franz Josef, home to the mighty Franz Josef Glacier. Accommodation: Lodge in the middle of the rainforest. Free activities: Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and the mighty blowholes, Truman Track walk, walk along the beach in Hokitika.  

Meal(s) included : None

Day 7 : Franz Josef

Enjoy a free day to get out and experience the Franz Josef Glacier, an iconic highlight of the West Coast. The best way to navigate the maze of ice and explore the incredible landscape on the Franz Josef Glacier is with a guided tour, which consistently ranks as a favourite activity amongst Stray travellers. The most popular trip features a short heli-hop onto the glacier with a guided educational tour on the ice and includes entry to the hot pools afterwards. Other options include visiting the glacial terminal face for some spectacular photos or doing one of the many excellent bush hikes in the region. Accommodation: Lodge in the middle of the rainforest. Optional paid activities: Glacier heli-hike (entry to hot pools included), kayaking, skydiving. Free activities: Many excellent bush hikes (we recommend a guided one for safety), relax in one of NZ’s largest spa pools at your accommodation.  

Meal(s) included : None

Day 8 : Franz Josef to Wanaka

It’s time to leave the West Coast behind. We stop in the morning for pick-ups at Fox Glacier before heading to the amazing mirror-like Lake Matheson to stretch our legs with a short walk. Then, we’ll travel inland through the mountainous Haast Pass and Makarora towards Wanaka. This is one of the most scenic drives you’ll ever do and we’ll stop for plenty of photo ops along the way as we drive from rainforests to mountains, through beech forest and past great lakes. We’ll pass by the beautiful Lake Hawea and arrive in Wanaka late-afternoon in time to enjoy this picturesque lakeside town. Accommodation: Central Wanaka hostel. Free activities: Lake Matheson walk, Ship Creek walk, Blue Pools walk, Thunder Creek Falls walk, explore Wanaka.  

Meal(s) included : None

Day 9 : Wanaka to Queenstown

Kick start your day with a brisk walk up Mt Iron, an early morning skydive or learn to fly a stunt plane over Wanaka. At mid-morning we’ll pack up and 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 on our way into town at Kawarau Bridge, the first commercial bungy jumping site in the world, for your chance to take the big leap of faith. Queenstown offers an optional big (make that huge!) night out with plenty of excellent restaurants, pubs and live music to check out. Accommodation: Central hostel close to all the action. 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. Free activities: Walk Mt Iron, watch people jumping off a bridge!  

Meal(s) included : None

Day 10 : Queenstown

You need at least one free day in Queenstown to make the most of the wide range of activities on offer. With a buzzy night life, beautiful mountain scenery and an exciting outdoor lifestyle, it’s easy to understand why Stray passengers often hop off here to spend extra time exploring. Options include: bungy or swing, zipline tours, canyoning, jet boating, skiing, skydiving, local bush walks, or just enjoy the stunning scenery and do nothing. Accommodation: Central hostel close to all the action. Optional paid activities: Any adventure activity that we mad Kiwis can dream up (bungy, swing, jet boating, skydiving, mountain biking, zipline, horse riding…). Free activities: Sleep in, fabulous walks, take in beautiful views from this cool resort town.  

Meal(s) included : None

Day 11 : Queenstown to Gunn’s Camp

Today you are in for a treat. It’s an early start as make our way to Milford Sound, one of NZ’s most famous destinations, sometimes referred to as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’. You won’t want to nap on this leg of the journey as we drive past Lake Wakatipu and watch the landscape change from farmland to mountains, glacier carved valleys and fiords. There is time to do an afternoon boat cruise around Milford Sound to soak up this untouched world. Known for its rich marine ecology, it’s likely you’ll spot a few wild dolphins, seals and penguins. Next, we head for our unique Stray overnight stop, Gunn’s Camp, located in the solitude of Hollyford Valley. There’s no better place to enjoy an evening under the stars, spot glow-worms in the bush and listen out for kiwi bird calls in the night. Accommodation: Historic camp in the heart of Fiordland National Park. Optional paid activities: Milford Sound cruise (ask the driver about the special Milford Sound + Stewart Island combo). Free activities: Stunning views, visit the historic museum or take in the incredible surroundings at Gunn’s Camp, Chasm walk.  

Meal(s) included : None

Day 12 : Gunn’s Camp to Invercargill/Stewart Island

We start the morning with a short riverside stroll through beech forest on the Viewing Gantry walk. Fiordland is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site Te Wahipounamu (which incorporates four national parks including Mt Cook, Mt Aspiring, Westland and Fiordland) and you’ll understand why as you marvel at the spectacular surrounding landscape. This afternoon we travel further south via Te Anau to Invercargill and on to Bluff, where you can catch a ferry to Stewart Island. NZ’s third largest island, Stewart Island, has an abundance of activities for the outdoor enthusiast, such as fishing, kayaking, diving, bird watching and tramping tracks. Those not going to Stewart Island will spend the night in Invercargill. Accommodation: Stewart Island backpackers or central hostel in Invercargill. Optional paid activities: Te Anau Wildlife Centre, catch the ferry to Stewart Island (ask the driver about the special Milford Sound + Stewart Island combo). Free activities: Humboldt Falls walk, Viewing Gantry walk.  

Meal(s) included : None

Day 13 : Invercargill/Stewart Island to Queenstown

The morning is yours to explore the island, meet the locals, go fishing or enjoy some of the walks. We catch an afternoon ferry back to the mainland. For those who chose not to venture onto Stewart Island your bus departs mid-morning to head out to Waipapa Point, Curio Bay and Porpoise Bay for some sea lion, penguin and dolphin spotting in the Catlins. On the chance we can’t find any wildlife, we can visit the 180 million-year-old fossilized forest and grab a milkshake. Afterwards we return to Bluff Hill to meet up with the island-goers before we express back to Queenstown. Accommodation: Central hostel close to all the action. Optional paid activities: Stewart Island: fishing, Village & Bays tour, go to Ulva Island. Free activities: Stewart Island: explore the island, amazing birdlife, walks through the native parkland. Invercargill: visit the start/end point for State Highway 1, sea lion, penguin, dolphin spotting, find Burt Munro’s World’s Fastest Indian, visit Henry the 118-year-old tuatara.  

Meal(s) included : None

Day 14 : Queenstown to Aoraki/Mt Cook

Today we head over the Lindis Pass through the beautiful Mackenzie Country and past picturesque Lake Pukaki on the way to our amazing stop at the base of New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki/Mt Cook. We arrive in the early afternoon with time to do a 4WD & Argo Tour, check out the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre or do one of the many great short walks in the park. If you want to hop off the bus for a few days there are some incredible longer walks you can do (we’d recommend leaving climbing Mt Cook to the experienced mountaineers though). Accommodation: Stunning alpine lodge. Optional paid activities: Argo tour of alpine region, visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre. Free activities: Take photos of awe-inspiring scenery, do one of the many great short walks to the Hooker glacial lake (weather dependent), stargazing  

Meal(s) included : None

Day 15 : Mt Cook to Christchurch

Leaving Mt Cook we make our way through a landscape made famous in the Lord of the Rings films. We make a stop at turquoise Lake Tekapo to walk along the lake and visit the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd. Next, we head on to Geraldine, where we will drop off any thrill seekers wanting to raft the top notch Grade 5 white water on the Rangitata River. Those not rafting will continue on to Christchurch for a mid-afternoon arrival, giving you time to explore parts of the South Island’s largest city. The rafters will rejoin the group at the accommodation in Christchurch this evening. We hope you had a blast! *Winter only: We stop longer at Lake Tekapo for ice-skating, snow tubing or a swim in the hot springs. Accommodation: Purpose built backpackers near the city centre. Optional paid activities: Rangitata River rafting (1 October – end of April only). Free activities: Visit Lake Tekapo, explore Christchurch by foot.  

Meal(s) included : None

DEPARTURES

Start where you like, but most people begin in Christchurch, Picton or Queenstown. 

From Christchurch: 

May-Sept: Tues/Thurs/Sun

From Picton: 

May-Sept: Tues/Thurs/Sat

Departure Day(s)

Tuesday
Thursday
Saturday
Sunday

Departure Frequency : Weekly