Stray NZ: Tom pass (7 days minimum)
Tom is the Jill Pass, but without Wellington. Perfect for you if you want to get off the beaten track in the North Island.
Starting and finishing in Auckland*, this trip will suit you if you just have a week to focus on the North Island. There is a good focus on Maori culture and unique scenery, including Tongariro National Park.
*You can alternatively finish in National Park. If you want to include Wellington, check out our Peter and Jill Passes.
We recommend at least 1-2 weeks to get the most out of your trip and to allow some time to hop-off and explore your favourite destinations for longer.
- Stay at a wilderness lodge in the bush at Raglan – overlooking New Zealand’s premier surf beach.
- See glow-worms and do some amazing caving at Waitomo Caves.
- Overnight stay on a Marae (Maori meeting house) in Mourea includes your accommodation, hangi (dinner), breakfast and unique cultural experience all for only $80.
- Stop in at Rotorua to experience (smell) the geothermal activity and do extreme white water rafting.
- Stay next to NZ’s largest lake - Lake Taupo (great for skydiving).
- Tongariro National Park (the 'Lord of the Rings' volcanoes and NZ’s best one day walk the ‘Tongariro Alpine Crossing’).
- Stay at award-winning conservation stop Whakahoro for wild, wilderness activities!
TOM Pass - Travel from 1st November
North Island Hop-On Hop-Off Pass Itinerary
Minimum Days: 7-8
Recommended: 1+ week
*This Pass can start or finish anywhere on this route, however most people start/finish in Auckland.
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.
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 Taupo
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! If you can stay longer in Taupo, we strongly recommend booking to do the epic Tongariro Alpine Crossing in nearby Tongariro National Park. It’s rated as one of the world’s Top 10 one-day walks and will take you past volcanic peaks, vast craters and stunning turquoise lakes – a definite NZ ‘must do’ activity!
Accommodation: Comfortable hostel in the middle of town.
Optional paid activities: Skydiving, bungy, connection to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
Free activities: Huka Falls, Spa Road walk, walk along the Lake Taupo waterfront.
Taupo to Auckland
This is an express day from Taupo heading back to New Zealand’s largest city Auckland. You can hop off anywhere along the way. With an early evening arrival, there’s still time to wander the streets of Auckland, visit the waterfront, do some souvenir shopping and hang out in some of Auckland’s lively cafes and bars. We hope you had a blast on your Stray adventure!
View this pass online @ www.straytravel.com/tom-pass
Most travellers start this pass in Auckland. See the Timetable tab for all other departure days and times.
From Auckland: Please see our website.