21 Day North and South Island Tour

21 Day North and South Island Tour - Book Now!


Experience Northern and Southern New Zealand on this action-packed 21 days tour that will take you through bustling cities, serene nature and fascinating culture.

Experience Northern and Southern New Zealand this Summer on this action-packed 21 days tour that will take you through bustling cities, serene nature and fascinating culture. Make friends on tour with lots of international travellers, be part of our traveller community on and offline. 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 our local guides.

Booking Conditions

Age Restriction: 7

Fitness Requirement: Easy

What's included

  • Walk to Cathedral Cove
  • Kaimoana cooking class
  • Hot Water Beach
  • Maori cultural experience, including traditional hangi meal and interactive performance
  • 4WD eco-wilderness farm adventure
  • Tongariro Alpine Crossing, Tongariro National Park
  • Winery cellar door visit
  • Aqua Taxi ride or Paddle board hire
  • Jet Boat Ride in Makarora
  • Doubtful Sound overnight cruise
  • Sea kayaking in Doubtful Sound
  • Mountain biking in Wanaka
  • Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa
  • Kaituna waterfall walk
  • Visit Cape Foulwind seal colony
  • Punakaiki Pancake Rocks walk
  • Visit Cape Foulwind seal colony
  • Walks around Lake Matheson and the Blue Pools, Mt Aspiring National Park
  • Seal spotting in Kaikoura
  • Conical Hill walk
  • Explore Lake Tekapo area
  • Walk up Hooker Valley track, Mt Cook National Park

What To Bring

  • Camera
  • Sturdy walking shoes/boots
  • Warm clothing/Waterproof jacket
  • Hat & sunscreen
  • Bathers/towel
  • Water bottle
  • Toiletries
  • Motion sickness tablets
  • Insect repellent



Day 1 : Auckland to Hahei
Nau mai, haere mai (welcome)!  Your journey kicks off from New Zealand’s largest city Auckland, heading southeast to the pristine sands of Hahei Beach, from which you can access the famous Cathedral Cove.  Accessible only by foot, boat or kayak, you’ll discover some of New Zealand’s most spectacular scenery and stunning sea views in this beautiful coastal spot. Cathedral Cove is a ‘must see’ on the Coromandel Peninsula. Afterward an afternoon of seaside exploration, we gather for an entertaining hands-on ‘Kaimoana’ (seafood) cooking class to prepare a delicious feast of fresh local seafood for dinner (non-seafood option available). Accommodation included: Comfortable beachside accommodation Activities included: Walk to Cathedral Cove, Kaimoana cooking class Optional activities: Cathedral Cove Kayaks
Meals :Dinner

Day 2 : Hahei to Rotorua
Today we start by driving to Hot Water Beach, a unique surf beach where you can dig a hole in the sand to create in your own personal spa pool (tide dependent). After the beach, we’ll make our way towards Rotorua, stopping before we get to town to stretch our legs with an easy walk to watch white water rafters navigate the waterfalls of the Kaituna River. This evening you will be welcomed into the authentic Tamaki Maori Village, where you will discover Maori art, ancient rituals and traditions. Tonight we dine on a delicious hangi (Maori feast), enjoy an interactive cultural performance and the company of our Maori hosts. Accommodation included: Central city lodge Activities included: Dig your own spa pool at Hot Water Beach, Kaituna waterfall walk, cultural experience with traditional hangi meal, kapa haka (Maori song and dance) and interactive performance
Meals :Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3 : Full day in Rotorua
You have a full free day in Rotorua to discover an area well-known for its Maori heritage, adventure and geothermal activity. Here you have the chance to do some great optional activities, such as a visit to the Hobbiton Movie Set, white water rafting, ziplining through native bush, mountain biking and more. A great option to finish the day is to spend the evening soaking in the hot pools at the luxurious Polynesian Spa. Accommodation included: Central city lodge Optional activities: Visit Hobbiton, white water rafting, Zorbing, the luge, ziplining, mountain biking, Polynesian Spa
Meals :Breakfast

Day 4 : Rotorua to National Park
It’s a very early start this morning so we can make our way to the UNESCO World Heritage Site ‘Tongariro National Park,’ where you’ll get the chance to do what is rated as one of the world’s best one day walks, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Trek through dramatic natural scenery past volcanic peaks, vast craters and stunning turquoise lakes on one of the most spectacular treks in New Zealand. Alternatively you can go on one the shorter walks around this volcanic region or visit the Volcanic Centre Museum. Accommodation included: Alpine lodge Activities included: Tongariro Alpine Crossing and transfers, or Taranaki Falls walk and Tawhai Falls (Gollum’s Pool)
Meals :Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5 : National Park to Blue Duck Station
After your big day of hiking, you get a chance to sleep in and we won’t depart until mid-morning. Our destination today is one of the most remote parts of the North Island by road. We’re heading for the award winning Blue Duck Station in Whakahoro, a 7,200 acre high country farm that is both a working sheep and beef station and an environmental conservation leader. This afternoon you get the opportunity to take part in a 4WD Bush Safari and farm adventure, where you’ll explore this vast land and the New Zealand native bush, discover the remains of an unbelievable local history, and learn about the farm’s conservation efforts. Your dinner is cooked using local produce. Accommodation included: Remote country station lodge Activities included: 4WD eco-wilderness farm adventure
Meals :Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6 : Blue Duck Station to Wellington
We depart early to arrive into Wellington around midday. Wellington is known as the ‘coolest little capital in the world’ thanks to Lonely Planet, and it’s a great place to check out the lively arts scene, shopping, craft breweries and café culture. As New Zealand’s capital city, it is home to New Zealand’s parliament and the iconic Beehive government building. This afternoon, you have the option to tour the world famous Weta Workshop, marvel at the wonders of Te Papa National Museum or wander along the Oriental Parade. Accommodation included: Central city hostel Optional activities: Weta Workshop Tour, Te Papa National Museum, craft beer sampling
Meals :Breakfast

Day 7 : Wellington (via Picton) to Abel Tasman
Leaving Wellington we’ll travel across the Cook Strait to the South Island’s coastal town of Picton. Here we meet our coach and cruise through the famous Marlborough wine region. We visit a local vineyard’s cellar door to sample New Zealand’s world famous Sauvignon Blanc, before heading to the spectacular Abel Tasman National Park. Tonight we enjoy some delicious seafood and a BBQ dinner at our exclusive campsite accommodation. Accommodation included: Beach accommodation in the national park Activities included: Bluebridge Ferry trip, winery cellar door visit
Meals :Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8 : Full day in Abel Tasman
Today is a free day to experience the incredible Abel Tasman National Park. Explore this stunning coastal area famous for being one of the sunniest spots in New Zealand. Walk the coastal track and discover some of New Zealand’s best natural golden sand beaches or choose an optional activity like sailing or sea kayaking (own expense). Tonight you can self-cater and use the BBQ facilities at our accommodation on the edge of the national park. Accommodation included: Beach accommodation in the national park Activities included: Abel Tasman Track and Aqua Taxi or stand-up paddle board hire (SUP)
Meals :Breakfast

Day 9 : Abel Tasman to Franz Josef
We start early to head south along the ‘wild’ West Coast, travelling on the rugged rocky coastline that makes this stretch of road one of the country’s top drives. We’ll stop at Cape Foulwind to view a wild seal colony that’s active year round, then make our way further down the coast to visit the spectacular limestone Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and blowholes. From there, we carry on to our next overnight stop in the quaint little West Coast town of Franz Josef, home to the mighty Franz Josef Glacier. Accommodation included: Hostel close to all attractions Activities included: Cape Foulwind seal colony, Punakaiki Pancake Rocks walk
Meals :Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10 : Full day at 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 which we highly recommend (own expense). There are also many excellent bush hikes available in the region. Tonight we self-cater, giving you the opportunity to dine at one of the local cafes and restaurants in town or make use of the communal kitchen at our accommodation. Accommodation included: Hostel close to all attractions Optional activities: Glacier heli-hike, scenic helicopter flight
Meals :Breakfast

Day 11 : Franz Josef to Makarora
Today we head further down the West Coast towards Mount Aspiring National Park, stopping to take in the breathtaking scenery at the amazing mirror-like Lake Matheson, NZ’s most photographed lake. See waterfalls as we travel through the mountainous Haast Pass towards Makarora then visit the stunning Blue Pools. On arrival in Mount Aspiring National Park we go jet boating to experience the best in shallow water boating, skimming just inches from the riverbed, viewing pristine waterways, snow-capped peaks and native bush. Accommodation included: Unique mountain chalets Activities included: Walk around Lake Matheson – Mirror Lake, walk through beech forest to the Blue Pools, Jet Boat Mt Aspiring National Park
Meals :Breakfast, Dinner

Day 12 : Makarora to Doubtful Sound
Fiordland National Park is one of New Zealand’s most beautiful locations, with stunning ice-carved fiords, valleys, lakes and mountain scenery; and it is our first port of call today. Within Fiordland we visit Doubtful Sound, the deepest of all the fiords, surrounded by towering peaks and huge waterfalls. We will board a purpose-built boat and enjoy complimentary afternoon tea while cruising past fur seals, penguins and dolphins. There are also sea kayaks available to explore the fiord. Accommodation included: Overnight on the boat, anchored within a secluded bay in a UNESCO World Heritage Site Activities included: Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise, sea kayaking, wildlife spotting
Meals :Breakfast, Dinner

Day 13 : Doubtful Sound to Queenstown
We depart Doubtful Sound around midday, leaving behind stunning Fiordland to head for the ‘adventure capital of the world’, Queenstown. Queenstown offers an optional big (make that huge) night out with excellent restaurants, pubs and live music. Accommodation included: Lodge located close to town with awesome views
Meals :Breakfast

Day 14 : Queenstown
You have two free days to fully explore everything on offer. Queenstown is a great place to spend a few days, no matter what your past-time of choice is. Options include: bungy jumping, zipline tours, canyoning, Shotover River jet boating, skydiving or walk up Ben Lomond or Queenstown Hill for amazing views, or just enjoy the stunning scenery around you and do nothing. Optional activities and meals not indicated are at your own expense. Accommodation included: Lodge located close to town with awesome views Optional activities: AJ Hackett Bungy, Canyon Swing, Skyline Gondola and Luging
Meals :Breakfast

Day 15 : Queenstown
You have two free days to fully explore everything on offer. Queenstown is a great place to spend a few days, no matter what your past-time of choice is. Options include: bungy jumping, zipline tours, canyoning, Shotover River jet boating, skydiving or walk up Ben Lomond or Queenstown Hill for amazing views, or just enjoy the stunning scenery around you and do nothing. Optional activities and meals not indicated are at your own expense. Accommodation included: Lodge located close to town with awesome views Optional activities: AJ Hackett Bungy, Canyon Swing, Skyline Gondola and Luging
Meals :Breakfast

Day 16 : Queenstown to Mt Cook
We’ll jump back on the bus for a short drive to Wanaka, where we’ll spend the morning cycling along some of the world’s most beautiful lakeside bike paths. After lunch, we head over the Lindis Pass through the picturesque Mackenzie region to the base of the country’s highest mountain, Aoraki/Mt Cook. There is time for a hike through the Hooker Valley for breathtaking views of the dramatic mountain landscape, or opt to take an alpine scenic flight (own expense). This is also one of the best places in New Zealand to join an evening stargazing tour. Accommodation included: Alpine lodge  Activities included: Mountain biking in Wanaka, scenic walk in Hooker Valley Optional activities: Big Sky Stargazing or scenic heli-flight
Meals :Breakfast, Dinner

Day 17 : Mt Cook to Christchurch
Today we make our way through a landscape made famous in the 'Lord of the Rings' films. We’ll take a break for a stroll around Lake Tekapo, iconic for its historic church and turquoise waters. Between Tekapo and Christchurch there is an option for thrill seekers to hop-off and join a top-notch Grade 5 white water adventure on the Rangitata River (own expense). Those not rafting will continue on to Christchurch, where your driver guide will point out the highlights of the South Island’s largest city. The rafters will rejoin the group at the accommodation in Christchurch this evening.              Accommodation included: Modern central city backpackers Activities included: Explore Lake Tekapo area Optional activities: Rangitata white water rafting
Meals :Breakfast

Day 18 : Christchurch to Hanmer Springs
This morning we drive from the city centre to the historic French settlement of Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula. After exploring the delights of the village, we’ll have time for lunch – make sure you sample one of the wonderful French pastries on offer in the cafes. Next, we head to the peaceful alpine town of Hanmer Springs, where you can spend the evening surrounded by mountains and forest as you relax in the thermal hot pools. Tonight is a group dinner. Accommodation included: Cozy alpine chalets Activities included: Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa
Meals :Dinner

Day 19 : Hanmer Springs to Kaikoura
We start today with an invigorating walk up Conical Hill for the best views in Hanmer Springs. Then, we’ll make our way to the East Coast and the coastal village of Kaikoura, famous for a huge array of natural wonders from land to sea.  We arrive in Kaikoura so you have free time to experience all this location has to offer. Why not go out on the water and experience one of Kaikoura’s famous dolphin and whale spotting tours (own expense), see seals sitting right beside the road at Goose Bay or wander around the peninsula and check out the breathtaking views from the lookout. Accommodation included: Warm modern hostel Activities included: Conical Hill walk, peninsula walk and seal colony visit Optional activities: Whale watching, swim with dolphins
Meals :Breakfast

Day 20 : Kaikoura to Wellington
Today we’ll travel north on a scenic drive along rugged coastal roads to Picton, where we catch the interisland ferry crossing over the Cook Strait back to Wellington. The evening in Wellington is free – why not discover some this funky town’s culinary delights at one of the top notch restaurants along Cuba Street. Accommodation included: Central city hostel Activities included: Ferry from Picton to Wellington
Meals :None

Day 21 : Wellington to Auckland
Today is an express day via National Park back to New Zealand’s largest city Auckland.  We stop along the way for photo opportunities and have lunch in National Park town, before heading back to Auckland for a late afternoon arrival. We hope you had a blast on your New Zealand journey! 
Meals :None


Start:               Auckland CBD

Start time:      7:45am

Finish:             Auckland CBD

Finish time:     6:00pm

Duration:        21 days/20 nights


Optional Excursions

Optional Activities (Available to sign up on tour with your guide)

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Recent Independent Reviews

  • On Tourradar

    An excellent tour. Great group made of a good mix of nationalities and ages. Everyone got on well, good balance between having a good time at night and getting out for interesting activities during the day. The tour was amazing value for money and removed all the stress that would have been generated had I tried to organize everything myself.

    On Tourradar

    Had the greatest experience of my life! The trip was so much more than I could have anticipated and you do so much within a short period of time that If you meet some good people only knowing them for 5 days may make it feel like you've been best friends your whole life. Our driver for the Stray Journeys was Lolly and she was the best! She helped make my birthday very memorable as well as the whole trip but who could forget when your bus is decorated for Christmas! In the end the whole journey was a blast and I was able to meet amazing people and make unforgettable memories while travelling alone. Thank you for the experience of a lifetime

    On Tourradar

    My Trip through almost all of New Zealand was nothing like I expected. It was so so much better. 4 weeks full of beauty, action and new, exciting experiences I am so glad to have made. My year is definitely made and my horizon expanded, for sure. Hunter was my guide throughout the North Island. He is great and always made sure we had fun, organizing adventures for us without fail. I can't live without his favourite song anymore now. Thank you Hunter, seriously. Twinkles was my guide throughout the South Island. Twinkles is a laid-back, sweet, friendly guy. He puts in so much effort to make life for the stray travellers easier, more effective and just lots of fun. He always helps you out and explains you whatever you want or need to know. I also loved the cooking we did together, group dinners were always so nice and yummy. Interesting little stops made long drives pleasant. Thank you guys for bringing me to some of the most beautiful places and most awesome activities I have ever seen and done in such a fun way. Thank you for everything you taught us. This was a beautiful way to see and discover NZ for my sister and me. Met great, great people here as well, from all over the world. Can't believe I have to say goodbye to all these crazy amounts of adventure and beauty of NZ for now. But I'll be back for sure. Still don't believe any of the stories about how you got your name though Twinks ;) have fun getting married! Wish you guys the best :) Cheers!! And thank you.

    On Tourradar

    I was a bit concerned about my Dingle (2 0day) trip – it was my first time as a solo traveller and I had no idea what my Stray mates would be like. It proved to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The group were awesome, a true Euro bus of mixed ages and countries. The organisation was excellent, we saw the most incredibly beautiful places, shared laughs, great food and had the opportunity to try out so many fabulous experiences – too many to mention - but Franz Josef, Blue Duck, the Tongariro crossing and the mountain bike trail stand out – as do Queenstown and Doubtful Sound– which we all loved. The biggest thanks however goes to Postie (Simon). He was fabulous, took 15 very different people and turned us into a team of mates. His amazing positivity, great sense of humour, patience, organisational skills and incredible knowledge of New Zealand played a critical part in making this holiday such an outstanding journey and adventure. Thank you for making my introduction to New Zealand so awesome and thank you Postie for being a great mate to us all.

    On Tourradar

    I've not long finished the tour and was tempted to book the whole thing again! I had the time of my life.. one big wow moment. Massive thanks to Ruru who was an awesome guide, friend, drinking partner, entertainer, font of all knowledge and who always had our back. Looking forward to the next adventure