Stray NZ: Stew pass
The "Stew" is your ticket to the Far South of New Zealand to see amazing scenery, remote areas and wildlife plus learn about the early settlers' history.
We recommend at least a week to get the most out of your trip and to allow some time to hop-off and explore your favourite destinations for longer.
- The stunning fiord of Milford Sound and historic Gunn's Camp.
- Stewart Island's natural untouched beauty and wildlife or the Catlins wilderness area for sealions and remote scenery.
- Stay at base of NZ's highest mountain Aoraki/Mt Cook.
South Island Hop-On Hop-Off Pass Itinerary
Minimum Days: 6-8
Recommended: 1+ weeks
Queenstown to Gunn’s Camp
Haere mai (welcome)! 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. We hope you’ve had a blast!
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/stew-pass
See the Timetable tab for all other departure days and times.
From Queenstown: Please check our website.