All about the The Bay and Back Pass

Explore the birthplace of our nation with a Bay of Islands tour. One of New Zealands most popular places to visit. 

Depart to the north of Auckland up to the Paihia the gateway to the Bay of Islands. Always a beautiful ride up from Auckland past small towns and wonderful forests. Then its time to be by the beach and experience culture at the Waitangi Treaty ground. Paihia can be a great night out with some funky bars and pubs. You can also try sandboarding! We see the big Kauri trees as we drive back down to Auckland on the third before saying goodbye to your new friends. 

Perfect adventure north in New Zealand.

The Bay and Back Pass Itinerary - 2 days

  • Day 1 Auckland to Paihia
    Haere mai (welcome)! Your Stray adventure kicks off in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland. We depart northbound for the relaxed seaside town of Paihia, gateway to the beautiful Bay of Islands. We stop en-route for a chance to swim at scenic Waipu Cove, before cruising up to Paihia for a relaxing afternoon in the stunning Bay of Islands. If the weather is unsuitable for a stop at Waipu, we will visit the Parry Kauri Forest Park to hug some of the world’s mightiest trees, the native kauri, on our way to Paihia.
    *Winter only: We stop to hug the kauri trees at Parry Kauri Forest Park, then express to Paihia.
    Accommodation: Hostel along from the beach.
    Optional paid activities: Catch the ferry to historic Russell (NZ’s former capital), skydiving, Hole in the Rock cruise, kayaking.
    Free activities: Swim at Waipu Cove (summer only), tree hugging huge kauri trees at Parry Kauri Forest (wet weather/winter option).
  • Day 2 Paihia to Auckland
    Enjoy a sleep in and morning at your leisure. Sail or cruise around the Bay, walk to nearby Haruru Falls or just hang out on the beach. Mid-afternoon we jump back onboard the Stray bus, destined for the bright lights of Auckland. We hope you had a blast on your Stray adventure!
    Optional paid activities: Sailing, swimming with dolphins, kayaking, fishing.
    Free activities: Walk around Paihia or Haruru Falls, go for a swim or relax on the beach.
Real Adventure Group Real People
Real Kiwi Says:
Hop off’ the bus anywhere along the route, even places in between the designated stops. Plan to hop off in advance or do it spur of the moment – it’s up to you! To hop back on, simply book your next travel dates and pickup location through Stray Mate. The buses run on a regular timetable with multiple departures a week. Passes are valid for up to 12 months from your first day of travel, meaning you can hop off and on as many times as you like for up to a year! Short on time? You are not required to hop off the bus – feel free to use your pass like a tour and complete the itinerary in its ‘minimum days’.

The Bay and Back Pass Price information
NZD per person



Tour code: Jack
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Departure information


Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from central Auckland accommodation

Minimum days: 2
Recommended days: 2


More information

Important Notes

Things you need to know about this tour

Travel pass which covers the entire Stray route - Stray is NOT an A to B bus service- Stray makes stops along the way to show you amazing things, like a beautiful waterfall, short scenic walk, local food tasting or breathtaking views
Ultimate travel flexibility – your pass is valid for up to 12 months from your first day of travel, so hop on and off as many times as you like
Driver Guide to provide invaluable knowledge, support and local insight and to assist with booking accommodation and activities at every destination (pay-as-you-go) - your first night's accommodation at each stop is always guaranteed.

Non travel days vary depending on departure day

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You can start and finish in Auckland, Christchurch or any other place around the circuit. You need about 4 weeks and it's an excellent way to really get to see and experience all of what NZ has to offer - the North of the North to the deep South! As always the longer you have the better so you can get off at your favorite places for a few more days (or weeks!).