A perfect way to get a taste of New Zealand by exploring the beautiful Bay of Islands in three days and two nights. These sub-tropical islands, 140 in total are a taste of New Zealand nature and culture for those who only have a short time to travel in New Zealand.
All about the 21 Day North to South Auckland to Christchurch Winter Tour
Experience Northern and Southern New Zealand this Summer on this action-packed 22-day winter tour that will take you through bustling cities, serene nature and fascinating culture.
This New Zealand tour is an off the beaten track adventure, some bus companies will take you straight from A to B with barely a toilet break in between but, with us, you will experience great stops and inclusions en route to your next destination. A typical travel day can see you stopping off for a short walk to a waterfall, climbing to a lookout for a photo opportunity, pausing at an unusual piece of New Zealand art along the roadside, or stopping to check out a wild fur seal colony. You’ll fit so much more into your NZ road trip!
We know we live in an incredible country, and we are committed to playing our part, as an environmentally sustainable tourism operator, to keep it that way! We have been awarded the Enviro-Gold accreditation from Qualmark which is the highest accolade for quality, sustainably operated tourism operators in New Zealand. Qualmark recognizes businesses that a focused on protecting what makes New Zealand unique and special and at Stray, protecting our beautiful natural environment, enhancing local communities and delivering a high quality, safe experience for our passengers are things we feel extremely passionate about!
Travel in a small group with all transport by mini-bus or coach and inter-island transport between the North and South Island. We include all accommodation in quad share style rooms or upgraded if requested. We have selected top- rated activities to include on this tour. You will be fully guided on tour with entertaining commentary by an expert including a few local secrets and plenty of support as you travel our wonderful country. You will stay with the same group on tour, meaning you will make lifelong friends while ticking off those bucket list destinations!
We are continually hunting out and creating our own authentic, off the beaten track, stop-overs and activities that aren’t in the guidebooks or on TripAdvisor.
Get the most out of your travels through New Zealand!
21 Day North to South Auckland to Christchurch Winter Tour Itinerary - 21 days
Auckland to Hahei
Depart Auckland at 7:30am and head south to the Coromandel Peninsula via the old colonial town of Thames. We’ll settle into our accommodation in Hahei before heading to Hot Water Beach, where you can dig your own natural spa pool in the sand (tidal dependent).
Accommodation: Exclusive accommodation by the waterfront
Included Activities: Hot Water Beach visit
Day in Hahei
Today you have a full free day to embrace the laid back Coromandel lifestyle. Get up early to catch the sunrise on the beach, then take a scenic coastal walk or opt to kayak to stunning Cathedral Cove. You can also take a guided boat tour through the cliffs and caves of the nearby marine reserve.
Accommodation: Exclusive accommodation by the waterfront
Optional Activities: Kayaking, guided boat tour
Free Activities: Walk to Cathedral Cove, sunrise on the beach
Hahei to Rotorua
Our drive today will take us through the Waikato region to Rotorua. You will have to option to a guided tour through the world famous Hobbiton Movie Set. Even if you’re not a fan, this truly unique experience which explores a whimsical garden village, home to Frodo and Bilbo in Peter Jackson’s epic trilogies is loved by all. If this is not for you, then you can continue on to Rotorua where there are plenty of other activities on offer. The Hobbiton goers will return early evening.
Accommodation included: Comfortable central city hostel
Optional activities: Hobbiton Movie Set tour, white-water rafting, zorbing, adrenaline-fuelled adventure park (big swings, bungees and more) Free activities: Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest walk
Often labelled the adventure capital of the North Island, you have a full free day in Rotorua to discover an area rich in Maori heritage, adventure activities and bubbling geothermal wonders. There are plenty of exciting local activities to get the adrenaline pumping, such as whitewater rafting, ziplining through native bush, zorbing or a truly unique guided jet boat adventure up to bath in a hot waterfall. You can opt to visit the incredible Waitomo Caves, or head out on the highly regarded White Island tour. The choice is yours!
Accommodation included: Comfortable central city hostel
Optional activities: Waitomo caving trip, White Island tour, river jet tour, zip lining, zorbing, geothermal parks, luging, Maori village & performance experience
Rotorua to Lake Aniwhenua
The morning is free to try one of the many adventure activities on offer in Rotorua. We depart Rotorua at midday and drive into the remote area of Lake Aniwhenua. We will meet a local Maori guide who share the area’s history and take us to visit sacred archaeological sites. At the lodge, our hosts will show you how to prepare the traditional Hangi that will be tonight’s dinner and share the stories about their local legends around the fire. (D)
Accommodation: Scenic lakefront lodge
Included Activities: Kohutapu Experience – guided tour of sacred Maori rock carvings, introduction to Murupara area history, delicious ground cooked hangi feast and breakfast.
Optional Activities: White water rafting, Zorbing, ziplining
Lake Aniwhenua to Whakahoro
After breakfast we depart and head to Taupo to see Huka Falls and the impressive great lake. For the brave hearted, we have time for skydiving! At 10 am we make our way to Blue Duck Station, a 7,200 acre high country farm that is both a working station and an environmental conservation leader. Settle in and learn a little more about what makes this destination so special. Spend the evening listening to tales from this unique region. (B)
Accommodation: Country station lodge
Optional Activities: Skydiving
Free activities: Huka Falls, enjoy your hosts’ hospitality and stories on the local wildlife and history.
Day in Whakahoro
Today you have a free day to explore this truly amazing and secluded location in depth. The included 4WD farm tour will give you just a taste of life in remote, rural New Zealand. There are plenty of other farming and conservation-based activities for you to experience around the property as well.
Accommodation: Country station lodge
Included Activities: Eco-Warrior 4WD farm tour
Optional Activities: Horse riding, clay pigeon shooting and goat hunting
Free activities: Take in the lush scenery with a walk to the Kaiwhakauka waterfall.
Whakahoro to Raetihi
We depart at 6 am and head to the active volcanoes of the nearby dual World Heritage Site of Tongariro National Park. Today you get a chance to do one of the world’s best one day walks: the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Be prepared for some epic scenery as you walk over active volcanos and around the base of “Mt Doom” from the Lord of the Rings films. Tonight, you can soothe your tired muscles from the big walk in the spa pool at your accommodation or relax with a celebratory drink by the fire.
Accommodation: Historic residence with mountain views
Optional Activities: Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Free activities: Taranaki Falls walk, visit the Volcanic Centre.
Raetihi to Wellington
Depart 8 am. We head to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, via Ohakune, Taihape and Bulls. You have the afternoon to cruise around the shops and cafes along popular Cuba Street, explore the New Zealand wonders found in Te Papa Museum or stroll along the waterfront.
Accommodation: Central city hostel
Free Activities: Walk Oriental Parade, head up Mt Victoria for fantastic views, visit Te Papa National Museum.
Wellington to Marahau
We catch the 8 am Bluebridge Ferry (check-in 7am) across to Picton on the South Island and meet the Stray bus. We will cruise through the famous Marlborough vineyard area and the coastal town of Nelson, before heading through Motueka to our amazing overnight stop of Marahau, right on the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park.
Accommodation: Unique accommodation on the edge of the national park
Included: Ferry crossing from Wellington to Picton
Optional Activities: Wine tasting, skydiving
Free activities: Swim, walk, mussel tasting around the fire
Day in Marahau
You have the entire day free to explore this stunning coastal national park. Whether by land, sea or air, there are tons of fantastic options for getting around. An Aqua Taxi ride is included in your tour, but you are welcome to upgrade to sailing or kayaking.
Accommodation: Unique accommodation on the edge of the national park.
Included Activities: Walk part of the Abel Tasman track and catch an Aqua Taxi home.
Optional Activities: Full day sailing trip, kayaking, skydiving, hang gliding.
Marahau to Franz Josef
Buckle up for an awesome day driving down the incredibly scenic ‘wild’ West Coast, an area known for its untamed beaches and spectacular rainforest. We’ll pass through Buller Gorge and down a stretch of road that was labelled one of the top ten drives in the world by Lonely Planet. We’ll view the seal colony at Cape Foulwind before continuing further down the coast to the geographic wonder of Punakaiki’s Pancake Rocks and blowholes. Here we’ll take a walk around these unique limestone rock formations and stop for a bite of lunch. Our next stop is the historic gold mining town of Greymouth to collect passengers connecting from Christchurch. From here we’ll continue on, via Hokitika, to the quaint township of Franz Josef, home to the mighty Franz Josef Glacier.
Accommodation included: Lodge in the middle of the rainforest
Free activities: Buller Gorge, Cape Foulwind Seal Colony, Pancake Rocks and Blow holes, Hokitika greenstone store
Day in Franz Josef
Enjoy a full free day to explore the glacier. Live your glacier walking dream with a guided tour through world of ice on the glacier or hike from town to view it from below, then unwind in the relaxing spa pools afterwards.
Accommodation: Lodge in the middle of the rainforest
Optional Activities: Guided Glacier Heli-hike, Glacier Valley Walk
Free Activities: Many bush walks in the area
Franz Josef to Wanaka
Depart at 8am. We head to Lake Matheson for a walk at the amazing mirror-like lake, stop at Fox Glacier for pick-ups, and then travel through the mountainous Haast Pass and Makarora with plenty of photo stops along the way. We pass by beautiful Lake Hawea and arrive in Wanaka by late afternoon.
Accommodation: Central hostel
Free Activities: Lake Matheson walk, Ship Creek walk, Blue Pools walk, Thundercreek Falls walk, explore Wanaka.
Wanaka to Queenstown
This morning, head out to cycle some of New Zealand’s most beautiful bike paths along the lake before we depart Wanaka at 10.30am and cruise down to the famous A.J. Hackett bungy site, where you can take the plunge - if you dare! Then, it’s on to the ‘Adventure Capital of the World!’ Queenstown offers an optional big (make that huge) night out with plenty of excellent restaurants, pubs and live music.
Accommodation: Central hostel
Included Activities: Scenic bike ride (suitable for all levels)
With so much to see and do in and around Queenstown, you need three full days to take it all in! To get you started, a couple highlight activities are included in your package. Today, you'll take an exhilarating jet boat ride through the spectacular Shotover River Canyons in the morning and then have the afternoon free for more Queenstown fun. Accommodation included: Central hostel
Activities included: Jet boat ride
Depart early on a day long trip to the jaw dropping Doubtful Sound in stunning Fiordland National Park, where you'll take a three-hour wilderness cruise and learn more about this incredible natural wonder. You will return to Queenstown in the evening. Lunch is not included (you can purchase sandwiches and snacks on the day), so make sure you bring lunch, snacks and water.
Accommodation included: Central hostel Activities included: Doubtful Sound day trip
Make the most of your final free day doing any of the other incredible activities on offer or further exploring Queenstown. If you haven’t already, we recommend riding the gondola or walking to the top of the hill for spectacular views of the town, lake and surrounding mountains.
Accommodation included: Central hostel
Optional activities: Any adventure activity that we mad Kiwis can dream up (bungy, swing, jetboating, skydiving, mountain biking, zipline, horse riding...), trip to Milford Sound.
￼￼Queenstown to Aoraki/Mt Cook
Depart Queenstown early to drive over the Lindis Pass through the beautiful Mackenzie Country and past the vivid blue waters of Lake Pukaki. Then, we head north to our amazing stop at the base of New Zealand’s highest mountain Aoraki/Mt Cook, arriving in the early afternoon.
Accommodation included: Stunning alpine lodge
Optional activities: Visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, scenic flights, 4WD Tasman Valley tour
Free activities: Take photos of awe-inspiring scenery, do one of the many great short walks to the Hooker Glacial Lake
Mt Cook (via Tekapo) to Rangitata
Leaving Mt Cook, we make our way through a landscape made famous in the Lord of the Rings films. We’ll stop to admire the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo and the Church of the Good Shepherd – a famous photo stop. Relax in the Tekapo hot pools, go snow tubing or ice skating or hike up to the Mt John observatory where you’ll witness stunning views of the lake from above. After lunch, we will continue to our overnight stop in Rangitata Peel Forest. Tonight, we’ll stay in one of Canterbury’s original sheep stations.
Accommodation included: One of Canterbury’s original sheep stations
Optional activities: Tekapo Hot Springs, Ice skating (April-Sept), Snow tubing (June-Sept) Free activities: Visit Lake Tekapo, Mt John walk, Rangitata forest walks
Rangitata to Chirstchurch
This morning, you will have the opportunity to sign up to a Lord of the Rings tour or to explore the stunning Peel Forest scenery on horseback. We’ll arrive in Christchurch late afternoon, where your tour comes to an end - we hope you had a blast on your New Zealand journey!
￼￼￼￼Optional paid activities: LOTR tour, horse trekking
Free activities: Explore Christchurch by foot, check out the Re-Start Mall, Cardboard Cathedral and inner-city street art
Tuesdays from Auckland 7 May 2019 to 10 September 2019
Travelling from 18 September to 29 April? Check out our 17 Day North to South Auckland to Christchurch Summer Tour.
Important NotesThings you need to know about this tour
Itinerary is subject to change due to cultural or seasonal conditions
Winter tours will operate in conjunction with the Stray Travel Network allowing all Real Kiwi winter departures to be 100% guaranteed. Clients will still have a set itinerary with included accommodation and activities however less meals are included and the guide and group may change during the tour.
Standard accommodation is quad share in hostels, cabins and lodges except at Blue Duck Station which is six share
Upgrades to twin/double and private rooms are available subject to availability
Room upgrades do not apply in Hahei
Luggage is limited one backpack, bag or case per person with a maximum weight of 15kg plus￼a daypack
Trips are not suited to children aged 6 years or under. 7 – 17 year old's may travel if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian
A basic level of fitness is required for medium length walks
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