New Zealand Xplorer

A Journey Of Discovery Through New Zealand



The Xtreme New Zealand Xplorer  (Our Awsome New Zealand Travel pass) enompasses all of the xtreme highlights of NZ, bungee jumping, rafting, glacier trekking, volcano walking, as well as taking you way off the beaten track to isolated hill stations, glacial lakes, massive surf breaks, golden beaches and big blue skies.


New Zealand Xplorer: Trip Highlights


New Zealand wow.  Two amazing islands That will simply take your breath away.  This awesome flexible adventure will take you to some of the following places:

  • Hang out with surf dudes staying in a Lodge at Raglan – overlooking New Zealand’s Best surf beach.
  • Go with the globe.  Hang out with glowworms and go caving in Waitomo Caves.
  • Overnight stay on a Marae (Maori meeting house) in Mourea includes your accommodation, hangi (dinner), breakfast and unique cultural experience (Optional $80).
  • Go Xtreme in Rotorua. Geysers, the worlds highest white water rafting drop and bungee!
  • Discover history and culture  at Lake Aniwhenua.
  • Tongariro National Park Do the crossing and it will change your life.  (If you don’t fall in Mount doom).
  • Indulge in Animal conservation in Whakahoro for wild, wilderness activities!
  • Have you ever seen a massive squid?  Well you can in Wellington – NZ’s capital city, home to our national museum Te Papa.
  • Unique overnight and a free day in Abel Tasman National Park. Go sailing or walking or rent a kayak if you’re feeling adventurous.
  • The West Coast is the best coast. Get experienced in  Punakaikiand.
  • Majestic Franz Josef glacier with a free day to hike and explore it. Grab an acts and strap on your crampons it’s time to explore.
  • Spend a few days in Queenstown – the adventure and party capital of NZ! Feeling extra bold add-on the Queenstown adrenaline overload!
  • The stunning fiord of Milford Sound and historic Gunn’s Camp. New Zealand at its beautiful best.
  • Stewart Island’s natural untouched beauty and wildlife or the Catlins wilderness area for seals and remote scenery.
  • The Head for the hills and stay at base camp. NZ’s highest mountain Aoraki/Mt Cook.
  • High country sheep station in Lord of the Rings scenery at Rangitata. Home to some of museums best whitewater rafting.
  • Visit Kaikoura, for the awe-inspiring whale watching and wildlife spotting.

New Zealand Xplorer Photos





New Zealand Xplorer: Full Details


Places are the places you’re less likely to find in the guide book but the ones you’ll be talking about long after the adventure has ended.

  • Stay at Hahei beach, an idyllic spot in the Coromandel, within walking distance to Cathedral Cove.
  • Stay at an eco-lodge, built in native bush in Raglan – overlooking New Zealand’s black sand, premier surf beach.
  • Spend two nights at Blue Duck Station, an award-winning conservation farm and get hands-on with some wilderness activities!
  • Discover history and culture not yet touched by the hand of commercialism at Lake Aniwhenua – it’s also your chance to try a traditionally cooked hangi dinner.
  • Stay beachfront on the golden sands at the edge of Abel Tasman National Park.
  • See the stunning fiord of Milford Sound and stay at historic Gunn’s Camp.
  • Stay at the base of New Zealand’s highest mountain, Mount Cook/Aoraki.
  • This pass is a loop – you can start and finish anywhere.
  • Pass valid for 12 months
  • Start date is fully flexible
  • Pay-as-you-go for accommodation & activities


Itinerary


North Island: AUCKLAND TO HAHEI

We depart Auckland and head south, travelling to the Coromandel Peninsula via the old colonial town of Thames. Renowned for its natural beauty and pristine swimming beaches, the Coromandel Peninsula has plenty to offer the active traveller, but is also a great place to kick back and relax in a pretty coastal setting. On arrival into Hahei, a small beachside village, we’ll get settled into our accommodation 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.
Hahei Holiday Resort – Exclusive Stray accommodation on the waterfront.
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.

North Island: HAHEI

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 take a guided coastal boat tour or fully immerse yourself with a snorkelling excursion.
Hahei Holiday Resort – Exclusive Stray accommodation by the waterfront.
Kayaking, bike hire, guided boat tour, seafood cooking class.
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.

North Island:  HAHEI TO RAGLAN

We leave Hahei early to travel through the rural Waikato region, known for its many dairy farms and the mighty Waikato River. We’ll start with a little adventure to Bridal Veil Falls, where a short walk through beautiful native bush leads to the impressive 55m cascading waterfall. Our destination today is the world-renowned surf town of Raglan. There’s no better place to learn to surf than Raglan’s legendary left-hand surf break. If you don’t fancy a splash in the waves, the afternoon is free to watch the surfers from the beach, enjoy a bush walk or watch the sunset from the aptly named Inspiration Point. Chill out or go hard in this arty surf town – it’s up to you!

North Island: RAGLAN (VIA WAITOMO) TO ROTORUA

Departing early, our first stop of the day is Waitomo, a small rural town where its 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 can make this a real 10 out of 10 day with a visit to 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 in the early evening.

North Island:  ROTORUA TO LAKE ANIWHENUA

We depart at midday, leaving the morning free to get involved in one of the many amazing 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 guide who will lead the group to a sacred archaeological site to view NZ’s oldest Maori rock carvings. Tonight, you will have the opportunity to learn more about Maori traditions, including the entertaining stick games traditionally used to teach hand-eye coordination, as well as how to prepare a ‘Hangi’, a sumptuous feast cooked underground. Sign up for one of the cultural activities on offer or simply enjoy a sunset drink at the Taniwha Bar overlooking the lake. For those visiting during school term, you will be both touched and inspired as you learn about a local community program in which Stray passengers are actively participating.

North Island: LAKE ANIWHENUA TO BLUE DUCK STATION

After breakfast we’ll make a special visit to the local school to deliver packed lunches for kids that often  go without and participate in a beneficial program aimed at driving cross-cultural education in an otherwise isolated part of NZ (dependent on school timetable). Then it’s on to Taupo to visit the mighty Huka Falls. The brave hearted can opt to plunge from a plane on an adrenaline fuelled skydive over NZ’s largest lake! Our destination this evening is often rated by passengers as one of  our #1 overnight stops and you’ll soon see why. Located in Whakahoro, one of the most remote parts of the North Island, Blue Duck Station is a sprawling 7,200 acre high country farm that is both a working station and an environmental conservation leader. On arrival, we will settle in to learn a little about daily life at Blue Duck, then relax and chill out around an evening fire

North Island:  BLUE DUCK STATION

Today is yours to fully explore this truly incredible location. Jump on a 4WD and travel up farm roads, over hilly peaks and through native bush to learn about the station’s interesting settlement history and their current conservation efforts. Don your cowboy hat and explore the farm by horseback or kayak on the river through bush clad valleys and lush green hills. Visit the Kaiwhakauka waterfall or assist with the farm’s pest control efforts and bring back tonight’s dinner. It doesn’t matter which option you choose, just get outdoors and enjoy all that Blue Duck has to offer!

North Island: BLUE DUCK STATION TO RAETIHI

We’ll be up at the crack of dawn for an early departure to make our way to the UNESCO Dual World Heritage Site, Tongariro National Park. Today you get the chance to tick off one of the most popular activities in New Zealand by hiking the epic Tongariro Alpine Crossing, considered one of the top one-day walks in the world. This 19km walk will take you across a rocky plateau with Mars-like vistas, dramatic volcanic peaks (including the real ‘Mt Doom’), craters and turquoise lakes that you’ll remember for a lifetime. The Crossing is open to walk year round (alpine gear and guide are required in winter), but subject to the weather conditions. Ensure you pack a day pack with plenty of supplies and clothing for all conditions. If the weather prevents you from doing the Crossing, there are a couple shorter walks in the area, as well as bike tracks that are well worth doing. Tonight we will stay in a homely historic Nurses Home in Raetihi, with friendly farm animals, a pamper room and spa bath with mountain views to enjoy at the end of an active day.

North Island: RAETIHI TO WELLINGTON

This morning we travel towards the bottom of the North Island via the rural towns of Ohakune, Taihape and Bulls. Today is mostly an express day to get to Wellington, our capital city and home to New Zealand’s parliament and the iconic Beehive government building. Also known as the ‘coolest little capital in the world’ thanks to Lonely Planet, Wellington is a great place to check out the lively arts, craft beer and café culture scenes or do some shopping. The afternoon is yours to explore the sights, and we recommend wandering down Oriental Parade or viewing the excellent exhibits on display at Te Papa National Museum.
Nomads Capital – Central city hostel.
Wellington Movie Tours, check out some of the great cafes and bars.
Walk Oriental Parade, head up Mt Victoria for fantastic views, visit Te Papa National Museum, gumboot (welly) throwing.

South Island: WELLINGTON TO MARAHAU (ABEL TASMAN)

We catch an early Bluebridge Ferry across the Cook Strait to the South Island where you meet the Stray bus in Picton. Once on the bus, we’ll cruise through the world famous Marlborough vineyard area and, depending on the group, we may stop for a wine tasting to sample the region’s specialty Sauvignon Blanc before heading to the coastal town of Nelson. We make a supermarket stop in Motueka to stock up on supplies for the next couple days and then make our way to our amazing overnight destination Marahau, right on the edge of the spectacular Abel Tasman National Park.

South Island: MARAHAU (ABEL TASMAN)

With a full day at your leisure, don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore this stunning, coastal national park on foot, by sea or from the air. Abel Tasman is famous for being one of the sunniest spots in New Zealand and, as home to one of NZ’s Great Walks, is a popular place to hop off for hiking enthusiasts. Even those short on time can still use this free day to hike, kayak, sail or take a water taxi to get a taste of the park’s natural golden sand beaches and brilliant blue waters.

South Island: MARAHAU (ABEL TASMAN) TO WESTPORT

Today we head south towards the ‘wild’ West Coast, an area known for its beautiful untamed beaches and stunning sunsets. We pass through Buller Gorge and down a stretch of road that was once labelled one of the top ten drives in the world by Lonely Planet. We stop for a walk along the craggy cliffs at Cape Foulwind to view the seal colony at Tauranga Bay and then head for the historic coal mining town of Westport. This is the best place on the South Island to hit the waves with a surf lesson, and the sunset from our accommodation tonight is a ‘must see’ if the weather is clear.

South Island: WESTPORT TO FRANZ JOSEF

An early start takes us further down the rugged West Coast to the geographic wonder of Punakaiki’s Pancake Rocks and blowholes. We’ll stop to take a short walk around these unique limestone rock formations before we head for the historic gold mining town, Greymouth. We do pick-ups in Greymouth and make a stop in Hokitika, one of the best places to pick up a piece of NZ greenstone. Then, we’re on our way to our next overnight stop in the quaint little town of Franz Josef, home to the mighty Franz Josef Glacier.

South Island: FRANZ JOSEF

Enjoy a free day to get out and experience the Franz Josef Glacier, an iconic highlight of the West Coast. The best way to navigate the maze of ice and explore the incredible landscape on the Franz Josef Glacier is with a guided tour, which consistently ranks as a favourite activity amongst Stray travellers. The most popular trip features a short heli-hop onto the glacier with a guided educational tour on the ice and includes entry to the hot pools afterwards. Other options include visiting the glacial terminal face for some spectacular photos or doing one of the many excellent bush hikes in the region.

South Island: FRANZ JOSEF TO WANAKA

It’s time to leave the West Coast behind. We stop in the morning for pick-ups at Fox Glacier before heading to the amazing mirror-like Lake Matheson to stretch our legs with a short walk. Then, we’ll travel inland through the mountainous Haast Pass and Makarora towards Wanaka. This is one of the most scenic drives you’ll ever do and we’ll stop for plenty of photo ops along the way as we drive 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.

South Island: WANAKA TO QUEENSTOWN

Kick start your day with a brisk walk up Mt Iron, an early morning skydive or learn to fly a stunt plane over Wanaka. At mid-morning we’ll pack up and make our way to Queenstown, known in New Zealand as the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’ and the spiritual home of bungy jumping. We stop on our way into town at Kawarau Bridge, the first commercial bungy jumping site in the world, for your chance to take the big leap of faith. Queenstown offers an optional big (make that huge!) night out with plenty of excellent restaurants, pubs and live music to check out.

Tip. Bolt on the adrenaline fueled Queenstown adrenaline overload to this trip to experience a wildtime!

South Island: Queenstown

You need at least one free day in Queenstown to make the most of the wide range of activities on offer. With a buzzy night life, beautiful mountain scenery and an exciting outdoor lifestyle, it’s easy to understand why our passengers often hop off here to spend extra time exploring.

Options include: bungy or swing, zipline tours, canyoning, jet boating, skiing, skydiving, local bush walks, or just enjoy the stunning scenery and do nothing.

Tip. Bolt on the adrenaline fueled Queenstown adrenaline overload to this trip to experience a wildtime!

South Island: QUEENSTOWN TO GUNN'S CAMP

Today you are in for a treat. It’s an early start as make our way to Milford Sound, one of NZ’s most famous destinations, sometimes referred to as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’. You won’t want to nap on this leg of the journey as we drive past Lake Wakatipu and watch the landscape change from farmland to mountains, glacier carved valleys and fiords. There is time to do an afternoon boat cruise around Milford Sound to soak up this untouched world. Known for its rich marine ecology, it’s likely you’ll spot a few wild dolphins, seals and penguins. Next, 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 in the bush and listen out for kiwi bird calls in the night.

South Island: 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 marvel at the spectacular surrounding landscape. This afternoon we travel further south via Te Anau to Invercargill and on to Bluff, where you can catch a ferry to Stewart Island. NZ’s third largest island, Stewart Island, has an abundance of activities for the outdoor enthusiast, such as fishing, kayaking, diving, bird watching and tramping tracks. Those not going to Stewart Island will spend the night in Invercargill.

South Island: 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 in the Catlins. 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.

South Island: 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).

South Island: 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 to view the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd. Next, we head on to Geraldine, where we will drop off any thrill seekers wanting to raft the top notch Grade 5 white water on the RangitataRiver. 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.

South Island: CHRISTCHURCH TO KAIKOURA

We stop briefly to do pick-ups and drop-offs at the Christchurch International Airport as we depart early this morning for a beautiful drive up the coast to Kaikoura. Arriving in Kaikoura around midday, you will have the afternoon free for activities to experience the incredible marine world just off shore. Get out on the water and experience one of Kaikoura’s famous dolphin and whale spotting tours, see seals sitting right beside the road at Goose Bay or wander around the peninsula and check out the breathtaking views from the lookout.

South Island: KAIKOURA (VIA PICTON) TO WELLINGTON

Leaving Kaikoura in the morning we wind our way up the rugged coastal roads towards the top of the South Island. For those that choose to hop off in the port town of Picton, check out the Queen Charlotte Sound view walk and take advantage of the free fishing gear and pushbikes at the Picton accommodation. Those heading to Wellington will catch the afternoon Bluebridge Ferry across the Cook Strait (from Picton to Wellington). The evening in Wellington is free so why not explore this funky town’s nightlife at any of the bars and restaurants along Cuba Street.

North Island: WELLINGTON (VIA RAETIHI) TO AUCKLAND

We depart in the early morning. This is an express day via Raetihi heading back to the ‘City of Sails’, Auckland. For those who may have missed out on hiking the Tongariro Crossing, you have the option to hop off in National Park and try again. With an early evening arrival, there’s still time to wander the streets of Auckland, visit the Viaduct, do some souvenir shopping or hang out with new friends and share stories about your recent adventures. If you are hanging around Auckland for another day or two, don’t miss your chance to jump off the Harbour Bridge or Sky Tower, skydive, or take a wildlife cruise around the Hauraki Gulf. We hope you had a blast on your Stray adventure!


Accommodation


Accommodation is not included in the pass, but our driver guides can book this for you as you go.

Price

12 Month - recommended 35 days

USD 869




What's Included?


  • All transport through New Zealand in one continuous loop
  • Funky drivers and guides
  • predeparture support and advice

What's Excluded?


  • Airport transfers
  • Accommodation
  • Extra activities not included on itinerary
  • Travel insurance

 


Frequently Asked Questions



  • Accommodation is not included in the New Zealand Xplorer.  Why?  Well let’s just think about this.  New Zealand is an incredible place with so much to see and do and has lots of places that you will want to stay for longer.   As this is not a set tour with specific day-to-day itinerary, you can stay longer in certain places should you wish.  So we do not include accommodation to allow the trip to be flexible.  That doesn’t mean you will be stranded, we can pre-book accommodation for you as you go (the guide will sort that out for you on the bus).


  • As a bare minimum you can do this in 23 days.  But that really is pushing it, we would recommend spending four weeks


  • Then you should definitely join.  Most of our travellers are solo travellers looking to join a group.  The New Zealand Xplorer is designed to help you meet people easily.  Backpacking in New Zealand is highly social, but this really makes it easy.


  • Most people start in Auckland although you can start in Christchurch as well.


  • We would work on the basis of about £30 per day.  You will need to cover your hostel bed for the night and food.  Also if you wish to do any adrenaline activities as you travel these can be fairly expensive, be sure to budget enough for some skydiving bungeejumping!


  • Just talk to us, hit the e-mail button and send us your question, we are experts at sending people backpacking New Zealand.


New Zealand Xplorer Trip Dates


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