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Short Bret

The Short Bret Pass

Christchurch to Auckland on limited time! Loop the awe-inspiring South Island's top destinations before heading North to Auckland and explore the highlights of the North Island (a.k.a. sandy beaches, glowworm caves, Maori culture, bubbling geysers).
Departs: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
Town / City
Auckland City
Age Restrictions
Stray operates an adventurous product and is not suitable for children under the age of 5 years old. Children aged 5 -16 years of age may travel if accompanied with an adult and must be restrained with a seatbelt or an approved childseat. They are entitl
The Short Bret Pass Itinerary

1. Travel Day: Picton to Marahau (Abel Tasman).
We catch the 8am Bluebridge ferry (check-in at 7am) to the South Island where we meet the Stray bus. We then cruise through the famous Marlborough vineyard area and the coastal town of Nelson, before heading onto Motueka and our amazing night stop of Marahau, right on the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park.

Accommodation: Unique Stray accommodation on the edge of Abel Tasman National Park.
Optional paid activities: Ferry $50-75, wine tasting, skydiving, microlighting!
Free activities: Swim, walk, mussel tasting around the fire.

2. Non Travel Day: Marahau (Abel Tasman).
You have the day at leisure to explore this stunning, coastal national park.

Accommodation: Unique Stray accommodation on
the edge of the national park.
Optional paid activities: Full day sailing trip, kayaking, skydiving, water taxi, horse riding or hang gliding.
Free activities: Walk in the national park or just relax on one of the golden sand beaches! Plant a tree!

3. Travel Day: Marahau to Punakaiki.
Depart Marahau at 8.30am. We head for the ‘wild’ West Coast passing through the Buller Gorge before stopping off at Cape Foulwind to see the seal colony. We head on to our exclusive Stray stop, nestled amongst the native bush in Paparoa National Park. The sunset is a must if the weather is clear.

Accommodation: Lodge in the middle of the rainforest with ocean views.
Optional paid activities: Save some coin today.
Free activities: Westport seal colony, West coast sunset, walk the Truman Track walk, meet some of the quirky locals.

4. Travel Day: Punakaiki to Franz Josef.
You have the morning free for activities, then at midday we head into the heart of the West Coast – where time almost stands still. We do pick-ups at Greymouth, make a stop in Hokitika then head to Franz Josef, a town squashed between the Tasman Sea and the mighty Franz Josef glacier.

Accommodation: Lodge in the middle of the rainforest.
Optional paid activities: Bone or jade carving
Free activities: Punakaiki pancake rocks and their mighty blowholes, walk along the beach, sleep in.

5. Non Travel Day: Franz Josef.
A free day to explore the glacier and take an Ice Explorer trip.

Accommodation: Central lodge surrounded by the rainforest.
Optional paid activities: Guided heli-hike (Ice Explorer $299), go ice climbing, relax in the local hot pools.
Free activities: Many excellent bush hikes (but we recommend a guided one for safety). Warm up and relax after all this in one of NZ’s largest spa pools at your accommodation.

6. Travel Day: Franz Josef to Wanaka.
Depart at 9am. We head to Lake Matheson for the amazing mirror lake; stop at Fox Glacier for pickups then travel through to the mountainous Haast pass and Makarora. We pass by the beautiful Lake Hawea and arrive in Wanaka with an afternoon to enjoy this picturesque lakeside town.

Accommodation: Central hostel.
Optional paid activities: Puzzle World, fly a plane!
Free activities: Mirror Lake walk, Ship Creek walk, Blue Pools walk, Thundercreek Falls walk, explore Wanaka.

7. Travel Day: Wanaka to Queenstown.
Depart 11.30am. This morning you have the opportunity to check out amazing views of the lake either by skydiving or walking up Mt Iron! We cruise into Queenstown with a stop at the famous A.J. Hackett Nevis bungy site and then head to the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’! Queenstown offers an optional big (make that huge) night out with excellent restaurants, pubs and live music.

Accommodation: Central hostel.
Optional paid activities: Skydiving, bungy jumping.
Free activities: Walk Mt Iron, watch people jumping off a bridge!

8. Recommended Non Travel Day: Queenstown.
Today is yours to explore. Obviously you can break your journey in Queenstown for as long as you want. If you’re not doing the ‘Burt’, look at doing a one day trip to Milford Sound before you go. 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, jetboating, rafting, skydiving, mountain biking, zipline, horse riding…), trip to Milford Sound.
Free activities: Sleep in, great walks, take in beautiful views from this cool resort town.

9. Travel Day: Queenstown to Aoraki/ Mt Cook.
Departures from 8.40am. Onwards we head over the Lindis Pass through the beautiful Mackenzie Country past Lake Pukaki, then head north to our amazing stop at the base of New Zealand’s highest mountain Aoraki/Mt Cook, arriving in the early afternoon. If you want to hop off the bus for a few days there are some incredible longer walks (we’d recommend leaving climbing Mt Cook to the mountaineers though).

Accommodation: Stunning alpine lodge inside the National Park.
Optional paid activities: Take a boat to check out the Tasman glacier and icebergs, visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre.
Free activities: Take photos of awe-inspiring scenery, do one of the many great short walks through the Hooker Valley.

10. Travel Day: Mt Cook to Rangitata.
Depart at 8am. We make our way to the ‘Lord of the Rings’ landscape of Rangitata. We head past scenic Lake Tekapo, with time for photos of the turquoise lake and the picturesque Church of the Good Shepherd. We arrive late morning in Geraldine, and then head through to spend the night at Rangitata.

Accommodation: One of Canterbury’s original sheep stations.
Optional paid activities: Do an amazing rafting trip, go for a mountain bike, walk or horse ride through Peel Forest.
Free activities: Take photos of stunning scenery, food tasting at Geraldine.

11. Travel Day: Rangitata to Kaikoura.
Depart at 7.30am. It is an express haul across the Canterbury plains to Christchurch where we make pick ups and drop offs at the International Airport. Departing there at 9.45am, we have a beautiful drive up the coast to Kaikoura. You have the afternoon free for activities.

Accommodation: Modern and spacious central Hostel
Optional paid activities: Whale watching, swimming with seals, swimming with seals or dolphins (pre-booking is advised in summer for dolphin swimming). Try the amazing fresh crayfish!!
Free activities: Walk around the peninsula and up to the lookout.

12. Travel Day: Kaikoura to Picton or Wellington.
Depart 8.30am. We wind our way up the rugged coastal roads with stops for photos and a seal colony. Those not heading north to Wellington on the ferry will stay in the port town of Picton for the night.

Accommodation: Central hostel (Wellington), Cozy villa (Picton).
Optional paid activities: Vineyard tour (Picton), Ferry ($50-75).
Free activities: Seal colony; Queen Charlotte Sound View walk, mountain biking, fishing or relax in the spa/ enjoy the gym where we stay (Picton); explore the city (Wellington).

13. Travel Day: Wellington north (via National Park) to Auckland.
Depart at 6:40am. This is an express day via National Park to Auckland. You can hop off anywhere along the way.

14. Travel Day: Auckland to Hahei Beach (The Coromandel).
Depart Auckland from 7.30 am. Onwards we head south travelling to the Coromandel Peninsula via the old colonial town of Thames. You have the afternoon free for activities. Tonight there is the group option of a classic Kiwi BBQ for dinner.

Accommodation: Campsite right on the stunning beach.
Optional paid activities: Kayak around beautiful bays to Cathedral Cove.
Free activities: Walk to Cathedral Cove, dig your own hot pool in the sand at Hot Water Beach (tide dependent), relax on the beach.

15. Travel Day: Hahei to Raglan.
Depart Hahei at 7.30am. Head on to the world-renowned Raglan surf beach, with cow spotting and a walk to Bridal Veil Falls on the way. Chill out or go hard in this funky surf and arts town.

Accommodation: An eco-lodge surrounded by native bush near the beach.
Optional paid activities: Learn to surf and then relax on a sunset cruise in the harbour for $99 (save $39) with a $12 group meal of the freshest fish and chips.
Free activities: Waterfall walk, bush walk around Mt Karioi, relax on the beach, glowworms in the bush, West Coast sunset, Inspiration Point.

16. Travel Day: Raglan (via Waitomo) to Mourea.
Depart at 8am. Head to the rural town of Waitomo, with time to explore its famous caves and glowworms. We then head across to the Bay Of Plenty for our unique and special cultural overnight stay. This is an immersion into our indigenous Maori culture and so much more than a show. We learn about Maori traditions, history and culture and become fully interactive with Kapa Haka (Maori song and dance). An unforgettable, genuine and educational night!

Accommodation: Unique Stray stay in the Wharenui (Maori meeting house).
Optional paid activities: Waitomo must-do caving options – Haggas Honking Holes, Lost World, Tumu Tumu Toobing, or a glowworm tour. Cultural night is an all-inclusive price of $80 including afternoon tea, dinner, interactive performance, storytelling, bed and breakfast.
Free activities: Walk around Ruakuri Reserve, Waitomo Valley Caves walk.

17. Travel Day: Mourea (via Rotorua) to Lake Aniwhenua.
Depart the marae at 8am and head to Rotorua for a free morning to discover its distinctive smell (geothermal areas), culture and adventure. At 12.30pm we do hostel pickups in Rotorua, moving onto Rainbow mountain to meet our local Maori guide, we then head deep into the Kaingaroa to the foothills of the Te Urewera National Park to experience stories, history and culture not yet touched by commercialization.

Accommodation: Lakefront lodge
Optional paid activities: Fishing, eeling, weaving lessons, cooking classes and overnight bush experience (see STRAY ADVENTURES)
Free activities: Maori rock art (oldest known rock art in New Zealand), visit British and European historical sights. Waterfalls visit and walks.

18. Travel Day: Lake Aniwhenua (via Taupo) to Whakahoro.
We depart at 7am and head to Taupo, see Huka Falls and have time to experience skydiving for the brave! Around 10am we shall head around the lake to the most remote part of the North Island. Our destination is Blue Duck Station, a 5,200 acre high country station that is both a working farm and an environmental conservation leader. Once you arrive, there are plenty of activities for you to partake in. Spend the evening sitting around, listening to tales from this unique region.

Accommodation: Country station lodge.
Optional paid activities: Skydiving (Taupo) An eco-warrior 4WD tour, horse trek (like a real cowboy), or a fully guided kayak tour, hunting for pests
Free activities: Walk around the truly amazing property at Whakahoro and just take in the lush scenery, walk to the Kaiwhakauka waterfall, enjoy your host’s fantastic hospitality and stories on the local wildlife and history.

19. Travel Day: Whakahoro to National Park.
We depart at 7am and head to the active volcanoes and dual World Heritage Site of ‘Tongariro National Park’. Today you get a chance to do what is rated as one of the world’s best one day walks: the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. In the evening, reward yourself at the bar or just relax in the spa where we stay.

Accommodation: Beautiful alpine lodge.
Optional paid activities: The Tongariro Alpine Crossing (there is a $35 concession/ transport fee to do this hike).
Free activities: Taranaki Falls walk, visit the Volcano Centre, jump in the spa pool at your accommodation.

20. Travel Day: National Park to Auckland.
Depart at 11.30am This is an express day from National Park to Auckland. You can hop off anywhere along the way.

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