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New Zealand
Starting From AU$827.71

Stray NZ: Short Ron pass (15 days minimum)

The "Short Ron" is the Ron without the Kaikoura sector, designed for travellers starting in Picton. The pass travels in an anti-clockwise direction around the Stray South Island network.

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.

SHORT RON PASS
South Island Hop-On Hop-Off Pass Itinerary

Start: Picton
Finish: Christchurch
Minimum Days: 14-15
Recommended Days: 16

 

Travel Day:                         Picton to Marahau (Abel Tasman)

Today meet your Stray group in Picton at midday before cruising through the famous Marlborough vineyard area and depending on the group we’ll stop for a bit of wine tasting.  We head through the coastal town of Nelson and stop at a supermarket in Motueka, before we making 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: Walk, mussel tasting around the fire, star-gazing.

 

Non-Travel Day:   Marahau (Abel Tasman)

You have the day at leisure to explore this stunning, coastal national park. This park is famous for being one of the sunniest spots in New Zealand and for its natural golden sand beaches. It’s a great place to hop off and explore via kayak, water taxi or go for a walk.

Accommodation: Unique Stray accommodation on the edge of the national park.
Optional paid activities: Full day sailing trip, kayaking, skydiving, water taxi, hang gliding, stand-up paddle boarding, canyoning.
Free activities: Walk in the national park, relax on one of the golden sand beaches, go for a swim!

 

Travel Day:                         Marahau (Abel Tasman) to Westport

This morning you get the chance to get involved and give something back by participating in our Tree Planting Project. Become an eco-warrior, get soil under your finger nails and plant a tree with the Otuwhero Wetland Trust. This is a fantastic opportunity to create life-long memories of your time in New Zealand, and you can come back and visit your tree in years to come!
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 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 if the weather is clear!

Accommodation: Charming character villa in the centre of town.
Optional paid activities: Surfing, horse riding, jet boating, caving.
Free activities: Westport seal colony, West Coast sunset, Truman Track walk.

 

Travel Day:                         Westport to Franz Josef

An early start takes us down the rugged West Coast to the spectacular Punakaiki limestone pancake rocks and blowholes. We’ll stop to take a short walk and grab refreshments at the café before we head for the historic gold mining town, Greymouth. We do pick-ups in Greymouth and make stops in Hokitika, before heading to the quaint little town of Franz Josef – home to the mighty Franz Josef Glacier.

Accommodation: Lodge in the middle of the rainforest.
Optional paid activities: Save some coin today.
Free activities: Punakaiki pancake rocks and the mighty blowholes; walk along the beach.

 

Non-Travel Day:   Franz Josef

Enjoy a free day and get out and explore the mighty Franz Josef Glacier. Navigate the maze of ice and explore the incredible landscape on a Franz Josef Glacier guided tour, or visit the glacial terminal face for some spectacular photos. There are also many excellent bush hikes available 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.

 

Travel Day:                         Franz Josef to Wanaka

We depart in the morning stopping for hostel pick-ups at Fox Glacier before heading for the amazing mirror Lake Matheson. We’ll travel through the mountainous Haast Pass and Makarora towards Wanaka. This is one of the most scenic drives you’ll ever do – 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 hostel.
Optional paid activities: Save some coin today!
Free activities: Mirror Lake walk; Ship Creek walk, Blue Pools walk, Thundercreek Falls walk, explore Wanaka.

 

Travel Day:                         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!  We cruise to Queenstown known as the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’ and the spiritual home of commercial bungy! Queenstown offers an optional big (make that huge) night out with excellent restaurants, pubs and live music.

Accommodation: Central hostel.
Optional paid activities: Puzzle World, skydiving, bungy jumping, 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!

 

Non-Travel Day:   Queenstown

Today is yours to explore. Queenstown is a great place to spend some extra time no matter what your past-time of choice is. Options include: zipline tours, canyoning, Shotover river jet boating, skiing, sky diving and local walks, or just enjoy the stunning scenery and do nothing. Obviously you can break your journey in Queenstown for as long as you want. Speak to your driver or hostel travel desk for Dunedin connection options.

Accommodation: Central hostel.
Optional paid activities: Any adventure activity that we mad Kiwis can dream up (bungy, swing, jet boating, skydiving, mountain biking, zipline, horse riding…), Milford Sound cruise.
Free activities: Sleep in, great walks; take in beautiful views from this cool resort town.

 

Travel Day:                         Queenstown to Gunn’s Camp

It’s an early start as we head for the breathtaking Milford Sound. Sit back, relax and enjoy one of the most scenic drives on the South Island Stray circuit, as we cruise past Lake Wakatipu and watch the landscape change from farmland to mountains, glacial carved valleys and fiords. This morning there is time to do the Milford Sound cruise, before we head for our unique Stray overnight stop, Gunn’s Camp. Located in the solitude of Hollyford Valley (and one of our top rated overnight stops), enjoy an evening under the stars, spot glow-worms and listen out for Kiwi bird calls. Keep your eyes peeled for Morris the Moose who the locals say has roamed the bush for the last 50 years.

Accommodation: Historic camp on the edge of the Hollyford Track in the heart of Fiordland National Park.
Optional paid activities: Milford Sound Cruise.
Free activities: Stunning views, Humbolt Falls walk, visit the historic museum or take in the incredible surroundings of a World Heritage National Park at Gunn’s Camp, Chasm walk.

 

Travel Day:                         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 rightly so as the landscape is spectacular and very photogenic. This afternoon we travel further South to Invercargill, next stop Stewart Island! Stewart Island has an abundance of activities such as fishing, kayaking, diving, bird watching and tramping tracks. There are also options for those not going to Stewart Island to stay in Invercargill.

Accommodation: Central hostel.
Optional paid activities: Ata Whenua – Shadowland, incredible movie of Fiordland National Park, Te Anau Wildlife Centre.
Free activities: Humbolt Falls Walk, Viewing Gantry walk.

 

Travel Day:                         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 always 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.
Optional paid activities: Stewart Island: fishing, hire a scooter, 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 100 year old Tuatara (Invercargill).

 

Travel Day:                         Queenstown to Aoraki/Mt Cook

Today we head over the Lindis Pass through the beautiful Mackenzie Country and past 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 Mt. Cook 4WD and 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 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).

 

Travel Day:                         Mt Cook to Rangitata

Leaving Mt Cook we make our way to the ‘Lord of the Rings’ landscape of Rangitata. We make a stop at the turquoise Lake Tekapo before heading onto Geraldine for an afternoon arrival and our overnight stop in Rangitata. Tonight spend the night in one of Canterbury’s original sheep stations, a great place to get outdoors, go horse trekking or wander through native bush in Peel Forest.

*Winter only: We stop longer at Lake Tekapo for ice-skating, snow tubing or a swim in the hot springs.

Accommodation: One of Canterbury’s original sheep stations.
Optional paid activities: Walk through Peel Forest, Rangitata River Rafting (late September – late March only).
Free activities: Take photos of stunning scenery, go for a walk.

 

Travel Day:                         Rangitata to Christchurch

It’s an early departure for an express haul across the Canterbury plains to Christchurch. For those whose Stray adventure is coming to an end you’ll arrive around mid-morning at the Christchurch International Airport, with the rest of the day free to enjoy this ever changing city.

 

DEPARTURES

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

From Picton: Tuesdays, Wednesday (Summer-only) Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays (Spring-only).