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New Zealand
Starting From AU$716.73

Stray NZ: Willy pass (12 days minimum)

"Willy" travels in a loop, showcasing the very best of the South Island. It includes our entire South Island travel network without the Far South.

We recommend at least 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. 

 

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. Stay at base of NZ's highest mountain Aoraki/Mt Cook.
  6. High country sheep station in Lord of the Rings scenery at Rangitata.
  7. Visit Kaikoura, for the awe-inspiring whale watching and wildlife spotting. 

WILLY PASS
South Island Hop-On Hop-Off Pass Itinerary

Start: Anywhere
Finish: Anywhere
Minimum Days: 12-14
Recommended Days: 15

 

Travel Day:                         Christchurch to Kaikoura

We depart Christchurch International Airport in the morning for a beautiful drive up the coast to Kaikoura. Enjoy a free afternoon for activities. Get out on the water and experience one of Kaikoura’s famous dolphins and whale spotting tours, see seals sitting right beside the road at Goose Bay or wander around the peninsula and check out the breath-taking views from the lookout.

Accommodation: Warm modern hostel.
Optional paid activities: Whale watching, swim with dolphins (pre-booking is advised in summer for dolphin swimming). Go fishing and eat your spoils or try the amazing fresh fish and chips!
Free activities: Walk around the peninsula and up to the lookout.

 

Travel Day:                         Kaikoura to Picton

Leaving Kaikoura in the morning we wind our way up the rugged coastal roads, with stops for photos and a seal colony en-route. Tonight we stay in the port town of Picton, where you can do the Queen Charlotte Sound walk, and enjoy the free fishing gear and mountain bikes at our Picton accommodation.

Accommodation: Cozy villa.
Optional paid activities: Vineyard tour.
Free activities: Seal colony; Queen Charlotte Sound View walk, mountain biking, fishing or relax in the spa where we stay.

 

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 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 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

Most people start this pass in Christchurch. See the Timetable tab for all other departure days and times.

From Christchurch: Mondays (Summer-only), Tuesdays, Thursday, Fridays (Spring-only) and Sundays.