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New Zealand
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Stray NZ: Moe pass

Let us take you from Auckland to Christchurch in style! Discover the real New Zealand and get off the beaten track in both North and South Islands.

We recommend at least 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. 

Looking to do this pass in a loop, or start somewhere other than Auckland? Check out the Max Pass.

 

 

DESTINATION HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Stay at a wilderness lodge in the bush at Raglan – overlooking New Zealand’s premier surf beach.
  2. See glow-worms and do some amazing caving at Waitomo Caves.
  3. Overnight stay on a Marae (Maori meeting house) in Mourea includes your accommodation, hangi (dinner), breakfast and unique cultural experience all for only $80.
  4. Discover history and culture not yet touched by the hand of commercialism at our exclusive stop at Lake Aniwhenua. 
  5. Stop in at Rotorua to experience (smell) the geothermal activity and do extreme white water rafting.
  6. Tongariro National Park (home to the 'Lord of the Rings' volcanoes and NZ’s best one day walk the ‘Tongariro Alpine Crossing’).
  7. Stay at award-winning conservation stop Whakahoro for wild, wilderness activities!
  8. Wellington – NZ’s capital city, home to our national museum Te Papa.
  9. Unique overnight and a free day in Abel Tasman National Park (walks, sailing and kayaking options in this stunning area).
  10. Experience the remote and rugged West Coast.
  11. Majestic Franz Josef glacier with a free day to hike and explore it.
  12. Spend a few days in Queenstown - the adventure and party capital of NZ!
  13. The stunning fiord of Milford Sound and historic Gunn’s Camp.
  14. Stewart Island's natural untouched beauty and wildlife or the Catlins wilderness area for sealions and remote scenery.
  15. Stay at base of NZ's highest mountain Aoraki/Mt Cook.
  16. High country sheep station in Lord of the Rings scenery at Rangitata.

 

 

MOE Pass - Travel from 1st November

National Hop-On Hop-Off Pass Itinerary

Start: Auckland

Finish: Christchurch

Minimum Days: 23-25

Recommended: 4+ weeks


Auckland to Hahei

Haere mai (welcome)! Your Stray adventure kicks off in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland. We depart Auckland and head south, travelling to the Coromandel Peninsula via the old colonial town of Thames*.  The Coromandel Peninsula, which is renowned for its natural beauty and pristine swimming beaches, is the perfect place to kick back and relax for a couple days. We’ll get settled into our beachside accommodation in Hahei before heading over to Hot Water Beach (tidal dependent). This is an absolute ‘must do’ experience where you can dig your own natural spa bath in the sand and soak up the Coromandel surrounds.  Tonight you have the option to join a group dinner for a classic Kiwi BBQ.

 

* If you came to NZ looking for adventure, we recommend hopping off in Thames to go canyoning in the Sleeping God Canyon, one of the most exciting and challenging activities on offer. It’s not for the faint hearted!

 

Accommodation: Exclusive Stray accommodation by the waterfront.

Optional paid activities: Canyoning in Sleeping God Canyon* (hop off in Thames). 

Free activities: Visit Hot Water Beach for a natural beach spa (tide & weather dependent), walk to Cathedral Cove, explore old cultural sites or simply relax on the beach.

Hahei

Today you have a full free day to embrace the laid back lifestyle that makes this area such a popular NZ holiday destination. Make the most of this special place by taking a scenic walk or kayak to the nearby Cathedral Cove, a paradise-like beach that you might recognize from one of the Narnia films. If you prefer water sports, the coast off Hahei is part of the protected Te-Whanganui-a-Hei Marine Reserve, which is a prime place to go scuba diving, snorkelling or take a glass bottom boat tour.

 

Accommodation: Exclusive Stray accommodation by the waterfront.

Optional paid activities: Kayaking, scuba diving, bike hire, glass bottom boat tour.

Free activities: Walk to Cathedral Cove, watch the sunrise on the beach, go snorkelling in the marine reserve, explore old cultural sites or simply relax on the beach.

Hahei to Raglan

We leave Hahei early to travel to the mighty Waikato region. First up is a little adventure into Bridal Veil Falls, where a short walk through beautiful native bush leads to an impressive cascading waterfall. Our destination today is at the world-renowned surf town of Raglan. There’s no better place to learn to surf; but if you don’t fancy a splash in the waves, the afternoon is free to watch the surfers from the beach or enjoy a bush walk. Chill out or go hard in this arty surf town.

 

Accommodation: An eco-lodge, near the beach set in native bush.

Optional paid activities: Learn to surf, sunset cruise, dine on fresh fish and chips for dinner

Free activities: Walk to the waterfall, bush walk around Mt Karioi, beach walk, glow-worm spotting in the bush, West Coast sunset, Inspiration Point.

Raglan (via Waitomo) to Rotorua

Departing early, our first stop on route to Rotorua is at Waitomo, a small rural town where it’s main attraction is in fact underground. Don’t miss out on the opportunity for a seriously cool caving adventure that will have you wading, climbing, abseiling and tubing through Waitomo’s magnificent cave network. From here we continue on to Rotorua where you have the opportunity to make this a 10/10 day with a visit the world famous Hobbiton Movie Set. Explore the hills, gardens and houses that were home to Frodo and Bilbo in Peter Jackson’s epic trilogies. Those not interested in Hobbiton will continue on to Rotorua and be joined by the Hobbiton goers early evening.

  

Accommodation: Comfortable central city hostel

Optional paid activities: Waitomo ‘must-do’ caving options or a glow-worm tour, Hobbiton, Tamaki Village

Free activities: Walk around Ruakuri Reserve, Waitomo Valley Caves walk

Rotorua to Lake Aniwhenua

We depart at midday, leaving the morning free to get involved in one of the many adventure activities on offer in Rotorua.  This afternoon our trip takes us further off the beaten track into the remote area of Lake Aniwhenua, voted as one of Stray’s top overnight stops. As we drive into the Kaingaroa Forest we will meet up with a respected Maori elder who will guide the group to a sacred archaeological site to view some of NZ’s oldest Maori rock carvings. As we approach the small township we will visit the local Marae (a Maori meeting house), where we will receive a traditional welcome and spend time learning about the Maori’s cultural beliefs, song and dance while sharing some ‘kai’ (afternoon tea). Tonight while staying in the tranquil oasis of Kohutapu Lodge, you will learn how to cook a traditional ‘Hangi’ (a feast cooked underground). Opt into one of the many activities on offer or simply enjoy a sunset drink at the Taniwha Bar overlooking the lake. You will be both touched and inspired as you learn about the beneficial community program to which Stray travellers are contributing.

Unique Stray Experience: The Lake Aniwhenua overnight experience is $95, which includes comfortable lodge accommodation, a guided tour to sacred Maori rock carvings, a Marae experience, afternoon tea, delicious ‘Hangi’ dinner and buffet breakfast, participation in an altruistic community program.

Accommodation: Scenic lakefront lodge, including afternoon tea, a Hangi dinner and breakfast
Optional paid activities: Night eeling, flax weaving

Lake Aniwhenua to Whakahoro

After breakfast we’ll depart to drop lunch packs off at a nearby school as part of an inspiring community project that brightens the lives of local school children (dependent on school timetable and holiday schedule). Then it’s on to Taupo to visit mighty Huka Falls with the option to plunge from a plane on an adrenaline fuelled skydive over NZ’s largest lake! Our destination this evening is regularly rated by passengers as one of Stray’s #1 overnight stops and you’ll soon see why. Located in Whakahoro, one of the most remote parts of the North Island, Blue Duck Station is a sprawling 7,200 acre high country farm that is both a working station and an environmental conservation leader. Once you arrive, settle in to learn a little about daily life at Blue Duck, then relax and chill out around an evening fire.

 

Accommodation: Country station lodge.

Optional paid activities: Taupo: skydiving, bungy.

Free activities: Huka Falls, Spa Road walk.

Whakahoro

Today is yours to fully explore this incredible location. Jump on a 4WD and travel up farm roads, over hilly peaks and through native bush to learn about the station’s interesting settlement history and their current conservation efforts. Don your cowboy hat and explore the farm by horseback or kayak on the river through bush clad valleys and lush green hills. Visit the Kaiwhakauka waterfall or assist with the farm’s pest control efforts and bring back tonight’s dinner.

 

Accommodation: Country station lodge.

Optional paid activities: An eco-warrior 4WD tour, a one day horse trek, clay bird shooting, kayaking, jet boating, pest control.

Free activities: Walk around the truly amazing property at Whakahoro and take in the lush scenery, walk to the Kaiwhakauka waterfall, enjoy your hosts’ fantastic hospitality and stories of the local wildlife and history.

Whakahoro to National Park

We’ll be up at the crack of dawn for an early departure to make our way to the UNESCO Dual World Heritage Site, Tongariro National Park. Today you get the chance to do what is rated as one of the world’s top ten one-day walks and a definite NZ ‘must do’: the epic Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Trek through dramatic natural scenery, past volcanic peaks, vast craters and stunning turquoise lakes on one of the most spectacular walks in New Zealand. The Crossing is open to walk year round (alpine gear and guide are required in winter), but subject to the weather conditions.

 

Accommodation: Alpine lodge.

Optional paid activities: The Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

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

National Park to Wellington

After breakfast we head around the mountains via the rural towns of Ohakune, Taihape and Bulls towards the bottom of the North Island. Today is mostly an express day to get to Wellington, our capital city and home to New Zealand’s parliament and the iconic Beehive government building. Also known as the ‘coolest little capital in the world’ thanks to Lonely Planet, Wellington is a great place to check out the lively arts, craft beer and café culture scenes or do some shopping. The afternoon is yours to explore the sights, and we recommend wandering down Oriental Parade or visiting Te Papa National Museum.

 

Accommodation: Central city hostel.

Optional paid activities: Check out some of the great cafes and bars.

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

Wellington to Marahau (Abel Tasman)

We catch an early Bluebridge Ferry across the Cook Strait to the South Island where you meet the Stray bus in Picton. Once on the bus, we cruise through the world famous Marlborough vineyard area and, depending on the group, may stop for a bit of wine tasting 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 and remote overnight stop 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.

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 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.

Marahau (Abel Tasman) to Westport

Today we head south towards the ‘wild’ West Coast passing through Buller Gorge and down a stretch of road that was recently rated one of the top ten drives in the world by Lonely Planet. We stop for a walk at Cape Foulwind to visit the seal colony and then head for the historic coal mining town, Westport. 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, Truman Track walk.

Westport to Franz Josef

 An early start takes us further down the rugged West Coast to the spectacular limestone Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and blowholes. We’ll stop to take a short walk around these unique rock formations before we head for the historic gold mining town, Greymouth. We do pick-ups in Greymouth and make a stop in Hokitika on our way to the quaint little town of Franz Josef, home to the mighty Franz Josef Glacier.

 

Accommodation: Lodge in the middle of the rainforest.

Optional activities: Save some coin today!

Free activities: Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and the mighty blowholes, walk along the beach.

Franz Josef

Enjoy a free day to get out and experience the Franz Josef Glacier, a true 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 always ranks as a favourite activity amongst Stray travellers. Other options include visiting the glacial terminal face for some spectacular photos or one of the many excellent bush hikes in the region.

 

Accommodation: Lodge in the middle of the rainforest.

Optional paid activities: The ‘Ice Explorer’ Trip – a short heli-hop onto the glacier followed by an educational tour (entry to hot pools included), kayaking, skydiving.

Free activities: Many excellent bush hikes (but we recommend a guided one for safety). Relax in one of NZ’s largest spa pools at your accommodation.

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. 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 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.

Optional paid activities: Save some coin today!

Free activities: Lake Matheson walk, Ship Creek walk, Blue Pools walk, Thundercreek Falls walk, explore Wanaka.

Wanaka to Queenstown

We depart around mid-morning, giving you time to check out amazing views of the lake either by skydiving or taking a walk up Mt Iron. Then, we cruise along 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, for your chance to take the big plunge. Queenstown offers an optional big (make that huge!) night out with lots of excellent restaurants, pubs and live music to check out.

 

Accommodation: Central hostel close to all the action.

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

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

Queenstown

You need at least one free day in Queenstown to make the most of the range of activities on offer, but it’s also a great place to hop off and spend extra time no matter what you choose to do. Options include: bungy or swing, zipline tours, canyoning, jet boating, skiing, skydiving and 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, great walks, take in beautiful views from this cool resort town.

Queenstown to Gunn’s Camp

It’s an early start as we head for breathtaking Fiordland National Park and NZ’s most famous destination Milford Sound, sometimes called the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’. Sit back and enjoy one of the most scenic drives on the South Island circuit as we cruise past Lake Wakatipu and watch the landscape change from farmland to mountains, glacier carved valleys and fiords. There is time to do a cruise around Milford Sound before 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 and listen out for kiwi bird calls.

 

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.

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 soak up the spectacular landscape around you. This afternoon we travel further south via Te Anau to Invercargill, next stop Stewart Island! NZ’s third-largest island, Stewart Island has an abundance of activities 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.

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. 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: Explore the island, amazing birdlife, walks through the native parkland (Stewart Island); visit the start/end point for State Highway 1, sea-lion, penguin, dolphin spotting, find Burt Munro’s World’s Fastest Indian, Bluff Hill walk,  visit Henry the 118-year-old tuatara (Invercargill).

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).

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 before heading on to Geraldine, where we will drop off the 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.


Accommodation: Purpose built backpackers near the city centre.
Optional paid activities: Rangitata River rafting (late September – late March only).
Free activities: Take photos of stunning scenery, go for a walk around central Christchurch.
 

View this pass online @ www.straytravel.com/moe-pass

DEPARTURES

See the Timetable tab for all other departure days and times.

From Auckland: Please see our website.

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