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More amazing things to do in Franz Josef! It isn’t just about heli-hiking

Thanks to the incredible blue ice formations going viral on social media, the heli-hike in Franz Josef has become the ultimate thing to do. But don’t be fooled, the heli-hike isn’t all that this awesome town has to offer. Check it out!

Franz Josef is one of the most talked-about Stray stops and there’s no secret as to why. It’s the land where glaciers meet the rainforest. Being able to walk through these magnificent natural wonders and fly in a helicopter is certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But there is more, lots more to do in Franz Josef.

Perhaps the weather isn’t in your favour (Glacier Country can be a pretty rainy place!), you’ve already heli-hiked and have some more free time or maybe it’s a bluebird day but you just don’t fancy it… whatever the reason, here are some alternative ways to spend your time in Franz Josef.

Tropical plants amongst snowcapped mountains

Kayak to a kiwi sanctuary

I’m going to start this list with my favourite activity in the area: kayaking! Join the awesome team at Glacier Country Kayaks and head to the mystical Lake Mapourika. You’ll see the snowcapped peaks reflected in the water as you paddle across the lake, listen to fun commentary from your guide and even enter protected kiwi bird habitat via the water. Transport, splash jackets, dry bags and photos of your adventure are all provided free of charge! You can kayak alone or with a friend… just try not to fall in 😉

Kayaking is sure to put the biggest smile on your face!

Warm-up in the hot pools

Whilst a ticket to the hot pools is included in your heli-hike adventure, you can always choose to indulge in a full day’s worth of pampering instead. Head to the Glacier Hot Pools where you can relax in the many pools (all with differing temperatures) and even get a massage if you’re feeling fancy. Take a group of friends or even just a good book and rest those muscles after that long Stray bus journey!

Divine!

Hit the hiking trails

The great thing about New Zealand is that hikes are always in abundance… and they’re free! Although it’s much nicer to walk long distances in the sunshine, a rainy or misty day can provide a whole new ambience to Franz Josef. Grab your cameras, hiking boots and your fellow Stray passengers and embark on an adventure to the glacier face, through the rainforest canopy, to Peter’s Pool or maybe even along the beach in Okarito.

Note: Rainforest Retreat hostel provides shuttles to the main car park where most of the hikes begin – this will save you from walking an extra 5km each way! Also, the Stray bus will stop at Lake Matheson on the way to Fox Glacier/Wanaka, so no need to worry about finding transport there!

Go for a quad bike ride

Always fun come rain or shine, quad biking is a perfect alternative for when the helicopters and planes aren’t flying due to bad weather. You can take a 1, 2 or 4 hour trip through rainforests, riverbeds, lagoons and beaches – exploring all the great landscapes that Franz Josef has to offer!

Look at that backdrop!
Look at that backdrop!

See NZ from above on a scenic flight

Want the views without the hiking? A scenic flight might just be the perfect option for you. It’s quite an expensive activity, so might not be within the typical ‘backpacker budget’, but if you want to spend that hard-earned cash on something absolutely magical then you’ll have no regrets here. Soar over the glaciers, oceans and nearby mountain ranges in a ski plane or helicopter then marvel at the views as you land directly on top of Franz Josef Glacier. You’ll have a chance to play in the snow and snap some Insta-worthy photos before jumping back on board ⛄

Absolutely breathtaking views up there
Absolutely breathtaking views up there

Skydive over the Southern Alps

Saving your money for a skydive? This is the perfect Stray stop to fall from the sky. There are opportunities to jump over Franz Josef Glacier or you can choose to jump over neighbouring Fox Glacier for a change of scenery. (Book this through your driver guide – all transport to and from the jump is included in the price!) The best thing about skydiving is that you don’t just get to partake in a once-in-a-lifetime adrenaline rush, but you also get the perks of a scenic flight beforehand!

The best way to see a new place? Free fall above it!
The best way to see a new place? Freefall above it!

So, you officially have no excuses… Whether it’s a warm summer’s day or a rainy, overcast afternoon, there is always something to do here! Want to learn more about Franz Josef? Check out the Stray Destination Guide!

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The best activities in Queenstown for adrenaline junkies

The Stray bus pulls into Queenstown… Stop number 1? The Kawarau Bridge Bungy, home of the world’s first commercial bungy jump. The faint sound of screams as people jump, leap, dive or just fall off the platform will greet your ears and mark the beginning of your adventure in NZ’s adrenaline capital.

Calling all thrill-seekers, daredevils and, well, just plain crazy people – here’s my list of 10 must-do activities in Queenstown, New Zealand.

Skydive

The first thing that comes to mind when most people think of adrenaline? Skydiving. Queenstown is home to two incredible jump locations: The Remarkables (Nzone) or Glenorchy (Skydive Paradise). Both offer incredible views and the option to jump at 9,000, 12,000 or 15,000ft. I’d 100% recommend splurging on the 15,000ft though – you will not regret it!

3, 2, 1… JUMP

Bungy Jump

You’ll be spoilt for choice with bungy locations in Queenstown. Looking for the best views and quirky jump styles? Check out the Ledge. If you want to get dunked into water and say that you’ve officially jumped at the first ever commercial jump site then the Kawarau Bridge is for you. Finally, if you think you’re king/queen of all things adrenaline, then just head straight for the Nevis. At a whopping 134m it’s New Zealand’s tallest bungy and takes some serious guts to leap off. So, which one will it be?

Nevis Swing

Not quite ready to brave the Nevis Bungy but still looking for an adrenaline rush? The Nevis swing is your answer! Imagine dangling 160m above the ground, waiting nervously for the AJ Hackett team to press a button that drops you into a canyon below. It’s just about as terrifying as it sounds.

Canyon Fox

A twist on the classic flying fox, the Canyon Fox involves a 5m drop! It’s as if you get to experience the fear of becoming detached and falling from a zipline without actually falling from a zipline. Does that make sense? Probably not. You’re just going to have to experience it for yourself. You can just slide off the ledge or run straight off the ramp – either way, this activity is not for the faint-hearted!

Another one of the amazing activities in Queenstow: Shotover Canyon Fox Queenstown
Not your average zipline!

Canyon Swing

I’m going to go right out and say it… This was by far the scariest thing I’ve done in New Zealand so far. It’s kind of like a bungy jump but instead of a bounce-back, you’ll swing through a giant canyon! There are dozens of jump styles, which means you’re going to want to mentally prepare yourself (and save up the $$) to jump more than once. We chose to do a tandem ‘Gimp boy goes to Hollywood’ and then I did a solo ‘Backwards’ fall. How can something be so terrifying and so fun at the same time?!

Skyline Luge Queenstown

I reckon this is the easiest way to get your daily adrenaline dosage in Queenstown. Just follow these simple instructions…

  • Step 1: Grab all of your friends (and maybe even your Stray Driver)
  • Step 2: Catch the Gondola (or walk) to the top of Bob’s Peak
  • Step 3: Hop into a real-life Mario kart and race down the hill!
Fun to do in Queenstown: Skyline luge Queenstown
It might look pretty tame, but you can reach some serious speeds!

Shotover Jet Queenstown

A trip to Queenstown is incomplete without a jet boat ride! You have to try out the world famous Shotover Jet and experience 360 degree spins as you speed past giant boulders. Are you a fellow adrenaline junkie who enjoys that ‘near-miss’ feeling? Well this is the activity for you!

One of the amazing activities in Queenstow: Shotover Jet Queenstown
Year-round adrenaline at Shotover Jet Queenstown!

Paragliding & Hang Gliding

In my opinion, this is quite a relaxing activity but I believe those with a fear of heights would deem it worthy of this list. I almost preferred this to skydiving because the airtime is so much longer. That said, you don’t get the thrill of the freefall so, I guess, the conclusion is that you’ll just have to try both! Sometimes you just need to run off a mountain (with a qualified instructor, of course) and Queenstown provides the perfect scenery for such an occasion!

Hang gliding around Coronet Peak
Hang gliding around Coronet Peak

Ziplining

An adventure awaits at the top of Bob’s Peak! Ziptrek Queenstown offer an array of eco-tours through the forest canopy. Choose from 2, 4 or 6 ziplines depending on how much time you want to spend dangling from a wire. We’d recommend going for 6 if you’re a true adrenaline junkie – it finishes with a zipline ride that descends 30 storeys at speeds of up to 70kph!

Ziptrek Queenstown
Soaring over Queenstown

Snowsports

Don’t fret if you’re visiting during low season – Queenstown is just as awesome (if not better) in the winter! Wrap up warm, hire some skis and carve up the mountains with your friends. With amazing ski areas to choose from and multiple snow parks to show off your skills you certainly won’t get bored. Oh and don’t even get me started on the views…

Skiing in Queenstown
The ultimate winter adrenaline activity

Check out the Stray bus passes and prepare to embrace the adrenaline junkie lifestyle with these must-do activities in Queenstown. Queenstown is calling! What are you waiting for?

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How to Plan your Dream Trip to New Zealand

So you want to come to New Zealand? Who doesn’t! We all know that so much more goes into planning your dream trip than what you see in those epic insta pics, and sometimes it is hard to know where to start.

We’ve got the scoop on which blogs to read, how to get cheap flights and how to travel stress-free in NZ.

Read all the blogs

You’ve probably already started doing this, which is how you found yourself reading this article. But which blogs should you read? There are so many out there, and ain’t nobody got time for trawling through irrelevant family travel blogs and poorly edited content to find the gems. Our reading list for the budget, adventure backpacker is all you need to get inspired and informed.

Check out:

  • Stray NZ Blog (obvs). Our content is tailored for backpackers, budget travellers, and those who want to get further off the beaten track! Start with what it’s like to travel solo with Stray, and or our guide to the ultimate North Island Road trip.
  • Backpacker Banter has everything from wanderlusty photo blogs to budget advice
  • Culture Trip is full of city guides, tips and advice and cultural gems
  • The Ultimate New Zealand Travel Guide has everything you need to know about New Zealand in one handy little free PDF! You can also download the 90 page guide to your phone and read it offline.
  • Follow us on Instagram @stray.travel for a daily dose of what awaits you in the land of the long white cloud

Book flights like a boss

The most offensive thing about New Zealand is that for most people, it is really, really far away. That means it’s usually a pretty long and expensive flight over (we promise it is totally worth it). But with a bit of careful planning and patience, you can save hundreds of dollars on flights.

These are our top tips

Set flight alerts – if you know when you want to go, check out prices on websites like Skyscanner and Kayak. Set price alerts on your dates, so you’ll get an email whenever the prices go up or down and pounce on the best deal.

Travel strategically – if you’re planning on spending a long time in New Zealand, and it doesn’t matter too much when you fly, try booking flights in the off-peak or shoulder seasons (in NZ, this means March – June & October – December) . Booking for the end of New Zealand winter (September) means you could experience a full summer at home, a dusting of snow in NZ, the wild and beautiful weather of spring, and then a full Kiwi summer. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

If you have strict time constraints, you can still get more bang for your buck travelling in shoulder season. March in New Zealand can still be really warm and beautiful, and the sights are a loss less crowded than at the height of summer. If you’re pining for the stunning snowy beauty of the South Island, travelling in autumnal May could fulfil your desires with a side of stunning leaf fall.

Hahei Explorer Boat Tour, New Zealand

Once you’ve filled your head with so much Kiwi goodness that you are determined to make that dream come true, we’ll show you the way. When you book a Stray travel pass, and you can do it all and so much more.

As travel & NZ addicts, we pledge to…

See more, do more

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!

Get you further off the beaten track

We all want to see the best bits of any country we visit, but most of us want to experience them without hordes of humans buzzing around. What if we told you that some of the very best bits of New Zealand are places where there is no one else around? Better yet, we’ll take you there! Of course, we still take you to popular destinations like Rotorua ( hello Hobbiton), but we mix it up with some truly spectacular “middle of nowhere” destinations that will take your breath away.

Share your experiences with likeminded travellers

Travelling solo is an awesome way to push your comfort zones, try new things, meet new people and have new experiences. Jumping on the Stray bus, you’ll meet heaps of travellers with the same idea; to see beautiful places, make friends and unforgettable memories. The passengers on Stray buses are always a rad, welcoming, energetic group of people. You never know who you might meet on the bus… some passengers make best friends for life, and a few of them have fallen in love, gotten married and had babies!

Help you stress less and stay flexible

Stray is the ‘no stress’ way to get around. You don’t need to drive, navigate, work out where to go or where to stop. You just relax in air-conditioned comfort as your Driver Guide takes you on an awesome road trip. In saying that, what you choose to do is totally up to you! With 12 months to travel, you’re free to hop off, slow down, work, volunteer, or just play in the places you really love. Even better – you can retravel the route again for up to a year!

Give you environmental warm fuzzies

Care for the environment is something every company says, but not many actually do. We follow through with this promise, from our push to go paperless, to our driver training for increased fuel efficiency. We know that it is our responsibility to help protect our beautiful country for future generations of rad humans just like you.

Check out our passes, and come see what all the fuss is about for yourself!

Who is Stray?

We’re the flexible adventure travel network that gets you further off the beaten track in New Zealand (and Asia and Australia too). Our purpose is to share our people, our culture and our places with you beautiful people, and to be the energy for positive change. We’re seriously passionate about travel, and giving you experiences that you would not get if you went it alone. So come with us!

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party at the best festivals

No New Zealand summer experience is truly complete without attending one of the many world-class music festivals held around the country. We’ve collated a list of some of the very best festivals New Zealand has to offer.

Each of these festivals has its own flavour and musical genres on the line-up. Many of these festivals are located in truly unique parts of New Zealand where the destination is a treat in itself. Check out our ultimate NZ summer festival guide below.

Soundsplash Festival in Raglan

If you are looking for an amazing summer festival that encapsulates the very best of New Zealand music and performance then sign up for SoundSplash this January. You can look forward to two full days of entertainment from some of New Zealand’s best-known performers showcasing a variety of genres from Roots, Soul, Dub, Drum n Bass, RnB and Hip-hop.

With a progressive environmental focus, Soundsplash supports off-the-grid innovative new ideas, organic architecture and sustainable installations.  Located five minutes drive from Raglan, Wainui Reserve has breath-taking coastal views and is located just 500 metres from the beach. Unplug amongst the myriad of stages, chill zones, the sun, sand and surf.

  • Dates: no 2022 dates yet (in 2021 the festival took place 22, 23, 24 January 2021)
  • Location: Raglan
  • How they describe it: “Soundsplash is passionate about Music. We strive for a mixture of multi-genre International and local acts while supporting newcomers and underground artists.”
  • Line Up 2022: no news yet
  • Access/Location: Located in Raglan on the west coast, just 90 minutes from Auckland or 45 minutes from Hamilton
  • Tickets: on sale via the official website

Rhythm and Vines (R&V) in Gisborne

As you can guess by the name, Rhythm & Vines is hosted in the beautiful surrounds of a vineyard amphitheatre in sunny Gisborne. Established in 2003, it is not only New Zealand’s longest and most established summer festival, it also claims to be the first New Year’s Eve party in the world to see the sunrise on a new year.

What started as a New Year’s Eve party amongst mates has grown from a single-stage event to a full-blown three days, four-stage event attracting up to 20,000 people. Over the years R&V has brought out an amazing line-up of international and Australasian acts including the likes of the Kooks, Santigold, Franz Ferdinand, Public Enemy, Carl Cox, Chase and Status and Chromeo to name but a few. You can expect to get a mix of indie-folk, electronic, dance, drum and bass and electro-pop amongst some other wild cards.

  • Dates: 28 – 31 December 2021
  • Location: Waiohika Estate in Gisborne
  • How they describe it: “The Rhythm and Vines experience is like no other. A proven formula entrenched in New Zealand festival folklore. Rolling hills, natural amphitheatres, man-made waterslides, multiple fast serving bars and food villages, camping amongst the vines and just incredible New Year’s vibes. You just have to experience it to believe it.”
  • Line-Up 2021: to be announced
  • Access/Location: located in Gisborne on the east coast, a 6.5-hour drive from Auckland and Wellington. Book a campervan from our mates at Spaceships and go for a festival road trip.
  • Tickets: on sale via the official website

Laneway Festival in Auckland

Since the first St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival hosted in St. Jerome’s small Melbourne bar in 2005, Laneway now tours five states of Australia, Singapore and little old New Zealand too!  It’s positioned at the other end of mainstream chart-topping genres and prides itself on showcasing an array of fresh, new, emerging artists that are on their way to becoming something special.

At this one day urban festival you can expect a crowd of music-loving hipsters, rocking flashbacks of every type of fashion since the 1920s. It’s a cruisy day out with an easy-going crowd who are passionate about discovering and experiencing the latest in music trends.

  • Date: no 2022 date yet (in 2021 the festival was cancelled)
  • Location: Auckland
  • Line-up 2022: to be announced
  • Access/Location: Albert Park, Auckland CBD
  • Tickets & info: official website

Splore Festival in Auckland

Situated on the waterfront of Tapapakanga Park (approx. 70km from Auckland CBD), the Splore Festival is a boutique music and arts festival and home to one of New Zealand’s greatest dress-up parties. With an underlying ethos built around community and well-being, this is a multi-day camping event that incorporates an eclectic range of vetted musicians along with surprise performances, shows, workshops, flash mobs and disruptions to get you excited.

From the top of the hill at Splore festival | photo: Julian Melville (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Those who Splore are known to become loyal annual festival-goers. With February typically turning on long, hot sunny days, at Splore you can expect to frolic in the warm waters as you take in all the festivities unravelling around you.

  • Date:  25-27 February 2022
  • Location: Tapapakanga Park in Auckland
  • How they describe it: “Splore is a three-day music and arts festival staged annually on the shores of Tāpapakanga Regional Park – perhaps the most beautiful festival setting in the world. It’s more than a good place. It’s a good place in your heart.”
  • Line-Up 2022: Shapeshifter, Topp Twins, Hollie Smith, Weird Together, Stefaan van Leuven, Arokah, Dubhead + Empress Naima, 121 Soundsystem and many more.
  • Access/Location: Tapapakanga Regional Park, a 1-hour drive from Auckland and a 1.5-hour drive from Hamilton. Book a car or campervan from our mates Spaceships and go for a festival road trip.
  • Tickets & info: official website

Jim Beam Homegrown in Wellington

Homegrown has been a consistent crowd pleaser, hosted in the capital city of Wellington and featuring New Zealand’s ‘home grown’ artists. It offers a range of stages with genres from Rock, Roots and Dub, Electronic and Urban.

Homwgrown Festival in Wellington (2021)
Homegrown Festival in Wellington: 5 stages, each focusing on a different music style

Most Kiwis who have any appreciation for live music will have done Homegrown at least once, if not more. You are guaranteed to get a star-studded line-up of top quality NZ acts both old and new. This year, it’s worth going just to see Fat Freddy’s Drop and Shihad, two iconic New Zealand bands.

  • Date: 19 March 2022
  • Location: Wellington
  • How they describe it: ” Come celebrate who we are through our music with 5 stages stacked with over 40 of Aotearoa’s best bands and DJs. With all the genres covered there’s something for everyone as well as plenty of carnival rides, bars and delicious food options for all your festival feels.”
  • Line-up 2022: to be announced
  • Access/Location: Waterfront, Wellington City
  • Tickets & info: official website

Which festival is on your hit list this summer?

Tell us in the comments below! Or post questions or tips. We would love to hear your plans or tips for the upcoming festival summer in New Zealand.

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Our best tips for staying in shape while travelling New Zealand

Travellers say it’s hard to stay in shape, but when you’re in New Zealand that seems like an excuse. Around every corner there’s something to do – something to challenge you. It doesn’t take a gruelling workout at the gym or a long run to stay in peak shape. Get creative and take advantage of your surroundings!

1. Surf and yoga combo in Raglan!

Surfing gives you a total body workout. It’s not only taxing on your legs and arms as you’re trying to catch a wave, but your lungs get a workout too when you’re head to head with some of the world’s greatest waves. Finish off the day with yoga practice – the view is absolutely incredible and there’s no better way to stretch out those sore legs than a yoga session! Check out our destination guide for more info about Raglan.

2. Abel Tasman Hike

Turn this hike into an interval run. For 15 seconds pick up the pace, then go back to your regular pace for 45. You can do this walking or running. Add a 30 lb backpack to it and your body will be beach ready when you finally arrive at one of the most incredible beaches in the world. More info about the Abel Tasman hike.

Hiking in the Abel Tasman National Park

3. Go hunting at Blue Duck Station

At Blue Duck Station, you will go hiking through some of the thickest and hilliest terrains NZ has to offer. Even if hunting isn’t your thing, you will get to do check out some absolutely incredible wildlife, including the wild goats! (Hint: Prepare to get muddy!)

Man learning to shoot a gun.
Guided Hunt at Blue Duck Station, a Stray NZ Exclusive Stop!

4. Go canyoning

From climbing to rappelling, you’re doing it all! How much more fun can you squeeze into an afternoon? This is a total body workout that requires skills in both coordination and strength. It will be the fastest 3-hour workout you will ever do. You can go canyoning at Torrent River with Abel Tasman Canyons or hop off in the Thames to do the Sleeping God Canyon – it’s not for the faint-hearted!

Sleeping Giant Canyon
Sleeping Giant Canyon | photo: CanyoNZ

5. Whitewater rafting or kayaking

It’s a total upper body and core workout! It looks absolutely deceptive, but try paddling for 3 hours straight and tell me you’re not getting a fun and challenging workout. Best of all – you’re on some of the clearest, most beautiful waters in the world.

Group rafts down the river
Rangitata is the main stop for rafting down the Rangitata Gorge and the Rangitata River

What is your favourite workout while travelling?

This is only the tip of the iceberg. There are so many different ways to stay fit while travelling New Zealand. What is your favourite workout? Let us know in the comments. Thanks.

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How to experience the winter adrenaline rush in Queenstown

Picture this: You’re sipping on a mulled wine surrounded by snow-capped mountains and starlit skies after a jam-packed day of activities including skiing and skydiving. The dream, right?! It’s no surprise that our travellers love to spend winter in Queenstown for exactly that reason!

Nestled in the heart of the Southern Alps, Queenstown is a picturesque alpine town. Don’t be fooled, though – life here doesn’t slow down during the winter months – it speeds up!

A view over Queenstown from the top of the Skyline Gondola and Luge track

Queenstown is also called the adrenaline capital of New Zealand. Combined with amazing hikes and beautiful scenery, there never is a dull moment in winter in Queenstown. Here’s our list of amazing Queenstown must-dos.

Carve up the ski slopes

Queenstown is New Zealand’s number 1 winter sports destination, so gear up, grab your mates and get ready to send it down the mountain! If you’re a ski-newbie then why not take a lesson or two? Bonus: The fun doesn’t have to stop when the sun goes down – Coronet Peak offers night skiing until 9pm on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays!

Fresh pow-pow, amazing views!
Fresh pow-pow, amazing views!

Get the adrenaline pumping in winter in Queenstown

Want to know the best way to keep warm during winter in Queenstown? Adrenaline. That’s right – we’re talking skydives, bungy jumps, canyon swings, jet boats. You name it! Queenstown is the adventure capital of NZ and a bit of snow won’t stop the fun! Here are 3 of our favourite winter adventure activities:

Skydiving

Your first skydive is sure to be one of the highlights of your life! The butterflies (and most likely your breakfast) will start fluttering away in your belly long before your tandem master starts shuffling you both towards the exit of the plane.

Then, before you know it, you’ll be falling literally out of the sky with the snow-covered mountains and the glittering blue lake laid out like a canvas below you. Well, you miiiiiiight not notice the view whilst you’re plummeting to the ground at 200kph (try to keep your eyes open…) but it does make for a superb picture!

Warm layers and gloves are a must!
Warm layers and gloves are a must!

AJ Hackett bungy

This 8.5-second free fall is certainly not for the faint-hearted. AJ Hackett offers a variety of bungys across New Zealand (even the worlds first commercially operated bungy for you adventure boffs out there) but if you’re going to take the plunge why not do the highest? THE NEVIS. Note: Call your mother, tell her you love her because, unlike skydiving where you’re strapped to someone else, it’s all up to you to step off that ledge. You’re getting sweaty just thinking about it? See, we told you adrenaline is good for the cold.

Feeling brave? Get dunked in the ice cold water at Kawarau Bridge!
Feeling brave? Get dunked in the ice cold water at Kawarau Bridge!

Shotover Canyon Swing

Forwards, backwards, on a chair, with a mate, pin drop, or even down a slide – these are just some of the ways you can do the canyon swing! You’re definitely going to want to do the canyon swing more than once… The staff here really know how to get the adrenaline pumping. Oh, and they’ll even lend you a nice big puffer coat if it’s super cold.

Puffer coat + Adrenaline = Warmth
Puffer coat + Adrenaline = Warmth

Go for a winter walk or hike in Queenstown

Keen hikers, rejoice – winter is an amazing time to get out and about! Lace-up your hiking boots and head up to the summit of Ben Lomond. The snow does make the walk a little more challenging, so make sure you’re suitably fit with enough warm layers and plenty of food and water. If you want something a little tamer, then you can always walk up Queenstown hill or take a stroll around the Queenstown Gardens. If you continue right around the track towards Frankton you’ll get a full view of the Remarkables mountain range – your winter wonderland awaits…

Winter vistas from the summit
Winter vistas from the summit

Eat and drink your days away

The best part about cold weather is being able to feast on the most indulgent food and drink without having to worry about your beach body! Queenstown is home to heaps of incredible restaurants, bars and cafes and, of course, the famous Fergburger.

Grab a coffee or mulled wine to keep those hands warm | photo: Queenstown Winter Festival
Grab a coffee or mulled wine to keep those hands warm | photo: Queenstown Winter Festival

We know the backpacker budget can often limit you to cooking noodles in the hostel kitchen but we’d highly recommend getting out and sampling some of the delicious delicacies on offer for at least one meal if you can!

Queenstown in winter: experience the adrenaline rush

So, there you have it – winter in Queenstown is a #nzmustdo! What are you waiting for? Check out our amazing New Zealand tours.

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6 Popular Types of Backpacker Jobs for your Working Holiday

Are you considering combining work & travel in New Zealand? Here’s a list of the popular types of backpacker jobs that are available. Perfect for those on a Working Holiday Visa in New Zealand.

A working holiday visa is a unique opportunity for young travellers (aged between 18 and 30) to work & travel in New Zealand. It is an amazing opportunity to experience New Zealand like a local and to earn some extra money for travelling. Check out all info about the working holiday visa on the Immigration NZ website. And make sure to keep reading to see the kind of jobs you can do on your working holiday in New Zealand.

Hospitality

Kiwis are a social bunch and love going out to restaurants, pubs and cafes around the country. Hospitality work is a great way to meet people and learn new skills. It is suited to people who enjoy talking to people and have great communication and customer service skills.

Work in hospitality on your working holiday in New Zealand

Hospitality roles all expect different qualifications/experience depending on the job. For example, if you are a chef applying for a head chef role you will be expected to have the required experience. If you have little or no experience in hospitality, there are still great opportunities for you, such as being a kitchen hand. For the most part, a great attitude and hard work are all which is required for entry-level jobs.

  • When: Busiest over summer (December-February), employers start hiring October/November. Ski resorts offer hospitality jobs in winter (June-September).
  • Where: Bigger cities like Auckland and Wellington or tourist towns like Paihia (Bay of Islands), Tauranga and Mount Maunganui (Bay of Plenty) in summer; ski towns like Queenstown and Ohakune in winter.
  • What’s expected: Usually 3-month minimum commitment. Some jobs require evening and weekend shift work.
  • Good to know: Depending on where you work, many pubs or restaurants in remote tourist areas offer staff accommodation.

Fruit Industry/Seasonal Work

If you want to travel and work around New Zealand and enjoy hard work outdoors, then seasonal work could be for you. This type of work is popular as it allows you to work in some of the most beautiful spots in the country while meeting people and working in a team.

Fruit Industry/Seasonal Work on working holiday in New Zealand

You need to be fit, enthusiastic and reliable. Training will be provided on the job so no previous experience is needed. There are more technical roles that will require some experience/qualifications, such as forklift driving and supervising in the orchard or packing shed.

  • When: Available year-round. Peak season is December to May.
  • Where: Northland, Bay of Plenty, Marlborough, Nelson and Central Otago.
  • What’s expected: 3-4 weeks minimum for fruit picking/thinning/planting roles; around 4 months for packhouse and production roles.
  • Good to know: Work is weather dependent. Working hostels in these areas can provide accommodation to workers and advise on seasonal work

Ski Fields

Despite warmer temperatures during the winter months compared to other countries in the world, New Zealand has some world-class ski fields. If you enjoy skiing/snowboarding and dealing with people, working at a ski resort offers great work experience.

Work at the Ski Fields in winter on your working holiday

Work can take place indoors or outdoors depending on the role. There is a range of jobs available which don’t necessarily require ski field experiences, such as receptionist, rental staff, kitchen staff and lift operators. These roles just require some general work experience, a great work ethic and customer service skills. Jobs such as ski/snowboard instructing and snowmaking will require specific qualifications or experience.

  • When: Start dates depend on the weather. On average the season runs from June to late October.
  • Where: Whakapapapa and Turoa (Mt. Ruapehu), Mt Hutt (Canterbury), Cadrona, Treble Cone (Wanaka) and Coronet Peak and The Remarkables (Queenstown).
  • What’s expected: Ski resorts have strict time commitments, usually around 4 months.
  • Good to know: Staff accommodation is not always available at ski resorts and most of the accommodation in the nearby towns can be expensive.

Au Pair

If you enjoy looking after children, becoming an Au Pair for a family in New Zealand is a great way to work and get to know the locals. Your day will be filled with different responsibilities and ever-changing situations! You will need to have childcare experience, patience and great communication skills to work as an Au Pair.

Be a au pair and work with kids on your working holiday in NZ

  • When: Available all year with peak seasons occurring over school holidays; July, September/October and December to January.
  • Where: Auckland and Wellington and rural areas such as Waikato and Taranaki.
  • What’s expected: Flexibility and being able to commit to work hours as outlined by the family. Placements with families are generally between 3-6 months.
  • Good to know: For the most part accommodation is provided with the job as a live-in option with the family.

Work for Accommodation

If you have no work experience or want to try something different, working for accommodation is a great option to look into as it offers you more flexibility. You will work for a few hours a day in exchange for a bed and sometimes food and internet access depending on the job.

Work for Accommodation in New Zealand

Work is available around New Zealand and you can pick up some new skills in interesting industries. Work is not limited to cleaning a hostel and also includes working in areas such as horse trekking, café work, gardening or labour work. With this in mind, work can be anywhere, inside a restaurant or outside in the sun! Most of the Work for Accommodation options will not require any previous experience unless specified.

  • When: Year-round with peak seasons in summer (December to February) During July and September farm work is available when calving takes place.
  • Where: Bay of Islands, Bay of Plenty, Nelson, Marlborough and Central Otago.
  • What’s expected: Minimum 2-4 hours per day in exchange for your accommodation. On average a minimum time commitment from around 1-2 weeks.
  • Good to know: Extras such as food and internet access can also be included, although sometimes more work hours will be required.

Labour Work

New Zealand offers tradespeople the opportunity to gain more industry experience by working on some great projects. Labour work is available around city centres and other areas in the country where development or refurbishing is taking place. It is a great way to gain international experience within a team environment. Jobs can vary from a builder, electrician or plumber.

Labour Work in New Zealan on working holiday

Most roles within the labour industry will require you to be qualified in your trade; for example, you will need to have the correct qualifications to be an electrician in New Zealand. General labour work normally just requires you to have a great attitude, be reliable and able to do the physical hard work.

  • When: Available year-round.
  • Where: Main city centres, with places like Christchurch, Queenstown and the outskirts of Auckland.
  • What’s expected: Due to strict project deadlines you must be committed to the work hours and able to work in accordance with the agreed fixed term of employment. Evening and weekend shifts are also available.
  • Good to know: Accommodation will be found in the city centres or suburbs where you are working. Travel to different sites will be expected and normally organised by the employer.

Categories
Asia

How to prepare for NZ’s best day hike: Tongariro Crossing

Tongariro Alpine Crossing, voted New Zealand’s best day hike, is a backpacker favourite. Don’t be fooled, however! The terrain can be tricky and weather conditions can be unpredictable, which means you need to be prepared and pack wisely. Luckily for you, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to answer all of your questions and help you get the most out of your experience.

Located in the Tongariro National Park, this 19.4km trek across volcanic plateaus will bring you to magnificent craters and mesmerising emerald lakes. You’ll find it hard to believe you haven’t been transported to a different planet as you admire the mounds of volcanic rock, mountain springs and lava flows that surround you. 

Amazing views: magnificent craters and mesmerising emerald lakes

Whilst the Tongariro Alpine Crossing may be advertised as a day walk, it’s certainly not a walk in the park so get ready for an intense workout. It takes most people around 6/7 hours to complete (plenty of time to enjoy a lunch break and a few photo stops) but fitness fanatics might find 4/5 hours to be a more realistic goal. Either way, you’ll need to bring plenty of enthusiasm and determination!

What should I wear for the Tongariro Crossing?

The weather can change drastically on the crossing so it pays to be prepared for anything. Light and breathable clothes are best. You’ll always spot someone attempting to hike the Crossing in Vans or Converse-style shoes. Sprained ankles aren’t worth the fashion statement! Make sure to bring the following items,

  1. A good, waterproof coat that will keep you dry if it rains and warm when it’s windy.
  2. Layers, layers, layers.
  3. Hiking shoes or very sturdy trainers.
  4. A comfortable backpack.
    You’re going to need to carry food, water and other layers just to name a few things.
  5. Hat and sunglasses.
    The track is very exposed so make sure to protect yourself from those UV rays.
Be a smart traveller and wear the appropriate attire for this hike
Be a smart traveller and wear the appropriate attire for this hike

What to bring to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing?

  1. A small/medium backpack with comfortable straps
  2. During the summer months it might be too hot to start the hike wearing your coat but don’t forget to pack one just in case the weather changes
  3. Sturdy, worn-in hiking boots or good quality sports trainers
  4. Gloves are a must in the cooler months but you’d be surprised how numb your fingers can get at high altitudes even in the summer!
  5. Good quality, thick hiking socks. The longer the better as they keep rocks and stones from creeping into your boots.
  6. Depending on what the weather is like when you start the hike, you may need to put on/remove layers.
  7. It’s useful to carry a phone just in case you need to call or message anyone in an emergency
  8. There are a million Instagram worthy moments on this hike, you’ll want to bring a camera to document the memories!
  9. A baseball cap in the summer and a beanie in the winter will protect your head from the elements
  10. Sunscreen is a must no matter what the season! The last thing you want is a burnt, peeling face the next day.
  11. No toilet paper is provided at the bathroom stops so we would highly recommend that you bring your own.
  12. Hiking is no fun if you’re squinting the whole time. Sunglasses are a must!
  13. Just like toilet paper, soap is not provided so if you want to freshen up after using the bathroom/before eating lunch then hand sanitiser is the perfect solution.
  14. There’s no doubt that you’ll work up an appetite on this hike, so pack a lunchbox filled with yummy food that is easy to eat (sandwiches, fruit, energy bars, chocolate, nuts etc.)
  15. Probably the most important thing you can pack: water. Bring at least 1.5-3 litres so that you have enough to last the whole day if necessary.
Essential items to bring to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Essential items to bring to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Optional extras to consider for Tongariro

  • First aid kit
    If you have a small first aid kit with you then it might be a good idea to pack it. You never know if you or someone else might need it.
  • Lip balm
    The wind and the sun can wreak havoc on your lips so try to protect them too.
  • Headphones/Earphones
    Do you hate talking while walking? Or does music simply help keep your stamina up? This might be an essential item for you!

How do I get to the Tongariro Crossing?

The Tongariro Crossing is not a loop track – it begins at the Mangatepopo car park and finishes at the Ketetahi car park. The start/endpoints are not within walking distance from any nearby towns so transport is needed.

Tongariro Crossing is not a loop track so plan ahead
Tongariro Crossing is not a loop track so plan ahead

If you’re on the Stray bus and plan on sticking to minimum time then you can ask your driver to book the Tongariro Crossing for you and your transport will be organised to and from Raetihi. The shuttle company we use is called Adrift and costs $50pp in the summer (price will increase during the winter as a guide is required).

If you are driving to the crossing then please be aware that there are now fines in place for long-term parking at the Mangatepopo car park. It’s best to park at the Ketetahi car park, catch a shuttle to the starting point at the Mangatepopo car park and then you can drive straight out when you finish.

Top tips for the Tongariro Crossing

  • Unless you’re a pro at hiking with a hangover, don’t get drunk the night before. Start the day fresh as a daisy and then you can always celebrate completing a 19.4km hike with a few beers afterwards!
  • Every time you see a bathroom – use it! There aren’t many bushes here as the track is extremely exposed so you’ll want to preserve your modesty by using the toilets they provide.
  • Drones are not permitted in the National Park – stick to handheld GoPro’s and cameras.
  • The summits of Mt Ngarahoe and Mt Tongariro are currently closed to the public. The local iwi (people) deem them to be tapu (sacred), so please respect the rules and don’t venture off the tracks.
Always respect the rules and please do not venture off the tracks.
Always respect the rules and please do not venture off the tracks.
  • Take your time. Don’t worry about keeping up with everyone else, just go at your own pace. If someone is walking at a quicker speed behind you, just stand to the side and let them pass. It might seem like an endless uphill at times but be comforted by the knowledge that there is always a flat or downhill after every strenuous uphill segment! You can do it!
  • Take regular breaks for photos, water and food – just don’t block the path.
  • If you’re struggling before you hit the halfway point, it’s advisable to turn around and head back to where you started. Shuttles can pick you up from either car park and it’s best to be safe rather than get stuck further along the track.
Make sure you are prepared when starting the Tongariro Crossing hike
Make sure you are prepared when starting the Tongariro Crossing hike
  • If you think you’ll be late back to your shuttle then you’ll need to give someone a call to let them know. The Ketetahi hut is the last place to get a phone signal along the track (about 1hr 30min from the finish).
  • Serious accidents CAN happen. Follow the markers to prevent getting lost and try and stick with other people. During whiteouts and heavy winds, it’s important to make sensible decisions about whether or not to proceed as parts of the track are very narrow and difficult to traverse.
  • If you fall or injure yourself, alert someone immediately and pass on your details.
Follow the rules and stick to the trail
Follow the rules and stick to the trail
  • It’s easy to forget but Mt Tongariro is an active volcano – read the signs carefully and make sure you follow the instructions in case of emergency.
  • DO NOT LITTER. Put your fruit skins, sandwich crusts and chocolate bar wrappers back in your lunchbox. There are no bins on the crossing so what you bring in with you, you must take out! If you do see litter on the ground, create some good karma by picking it up and putting it in your backpack – you’ll be able to dispose of waste at the end of the hike.
  • Don’t drink the water from the lakes or rivers. If you run out of drinking water ask around, someone may be able to share with you. Otherwise, some of the huts en-route do have a (limited) supply of drinking water for emergencies.
Enjoy every second of the Tongariro Crossing hike
Enjoy every second of the Tongariro Crossing hike

Make the most of every second!

The most important piece of advice we can give you is the most cliche advice of all: Make the most of every second! The Tongariro Crossing is a truly spectacular hike with once-in-a-lifetime views. Now you’ve got all the important information you need to have an amazing day, it’s time to grab your gear, your friends and experience real-life Mordor for yourself.

Tongariro Crossing is a truly spectacular hike with once-in-a-lifetime views
Tongariro Crossing is a truly spectacular hike with once-in-a-lifetime views.

Categories
Asia

See how we have taken hop-on/hop-off to the next level

For a lot of travellers in New Zealand, hop-on/hop-off bus travel has been an important part of their experience. It has been the classic way to explore New Zealand for years. But times are changing, and we have improved the classic hop-on/hop-off experience.

Change is good

Without change, there is no moving forward. At Stray, we love to think outside the box, be creative and make the travel experience for our customers even better.

We’ve been taking people on amazing adventures since 2002. We’re a bunch of travellers who like to travel a little differently. We love ticking off all the big bucket list experiences, but our real mission is to go further off the beaten track. There’s always more to discover if you just Stray a little further off the highway.

You are probably wondering, “why change the hop-on/hop-off travel network that you have created years ago?” Simple. We’re making it even easier for you to explore New Zealand, without taking away the fun of travelling in New Zealand.

We’re taking the hassle out of hop-on/hop-off

The most asked question about travelling on the hop-on/hop-off network was “where should I hop off and how long should I stay?” And the second-most popular question was “If I hop-off in XYZ is it guaranteed I can hop on again in X days?”.

For most travellers, it is their first time travelling to our amazing little country. Of course, everyone wants to get the most from their once-in-a-lifetime trip to NZ. And who wants to worry about things like hopping off, finding accommodation and how to get to the next amazing destination?

The easiest, most relaxed and fun way to explore New Zealand: the new Stray bus tours

Therefore, we created Stray Journeys a while ago. These bus tours are more than just a bus tour. It’s a fixed-length tour with accommodation included. Now you can really sit back, relax and enjoy the journey. You’ll arrive super-relaxed at your next destination. And you know that as soon as the bus stops, you have arrived at an amazing place.

A place where you can do a variety of free or paid activities. The Stray Driver is your guide on these trips. And they are packed with info about each stop along the way. They have so much inside information, tips and facts that aren’t even mentioned in popular travel books. It is like travelling with a local.

Advantages of Stray bus tours in New Zealand

Here’s an overview of why you will love these Stray Journey Tours.

Accommodation

Dorm Style Accommodation (4-10 beds) is included. You’ll stay in comfortable backpacker hostels, cabins, and lodges. All accommodation facilities have self-catering kitchen facilities. And we’ll make a stop so you can stock up on groceries.

Private coach transport

Take the pressure off, kick back, relax, soak up the scenery and let someone else do the driving. You’ll travel by private, air-conditioned bus.

Stray Guide

Expect entertaining anecdotes, great recommendations, extra support and local insider knowledge from your charismatic guide. They know every inch of this country. You can’t get this from a Google search!

Strademark Experience

Several of our tours include Strademark Experiences, special places or experiences that you are less likely to find in the guidebook. You’ll be talking about these amazing places long after your adventure has ended.

So what makes a place or experience worthy of the Strademark badge? We have some simple rules for that, it must:

  • Be a unique local, cultural experience
  • Have an environmental or conservation focus
  • Not be accessed by public transport

Our Strademark Places allow you to see more and do more. We take you to places that you would never otherwise see. Tick off your bucket list destinations and experience our special, unique spots too.

On Stray tour to Blue Duck Station - Strademark Place
Blue Duck Station is one of the Strademark Places you will visit on a Stray Tour

Will hop-on/hop-off return once the worldwide COVID / Corona-virus pandemic is over?

Never say never… But for now, all our NZ Hop-on/Hop-off Tours and passes are paused until 30 September 2022. If that changes you will read about it on this blog and on our website.

We are confident that you will enjoy our current selection of tours. These tours will make your New Zealand trip easier. No need to make a plan yourself. Just turn up on the day of departure, meet your fellow travellers and off we go. Aotearoa awaits. We’re looking forward to seeing you on one of our tours.

Secure your seat & stay flexible

Are you excited to visit New Zealand again once the border is open again? We are so looking forward to seeing you all again… For now, only travellers from Australia can enter New Zealand via the Trans-Tasman Travel Bubble but hopefully more countries will be added to that list.

Even though things may look uncertain, there is lots of flexibility when you book your Stray Tour now. It all part of our booking guarantees.

  • Start travel date is flexible. If your plans change, you can always change your travel dates, as long as you let us know before the scheduled day of departure.
  • Tour swap option. Changed your mind about where you want to go? You can swap your trip for another Stray trip in any destination we operate in.
  • Book now, pay later. Only a 10% deposit is needed to secure a seat on one of our tours.
  • No booking fees at all. It is easy to book your Stray bus tour online. The price you see is the price you’ll pay. There are no nasty fees, like payment fees or credit card fees.

And our friendly crew of travel specialists are always happy to help and to answer your questions. Post ‘em below in the comment section or contact us via email, phone or chat.

Categories
Asia

Your 2021 New Zealand Ski Season Guide

Whatever you think about Jon Snow, he was right about one thing; winter has come. With the white walker threat out of the way, it’s high time we focus on the important things, like the ski season in New Zealand.

Whether you’re a novice snow bunny curious about hitting the slopes, or a veteran ski bum with powder on your mind, you’ll have a blast on NZ’s peaks. Last year we dished the scoop on New Zealand’s best ski resorts. This time, we’re coming at you with all the essential tips to make the most out of the New Zealand ski season in 2019! Here’s everything you need to know:

New Zealand Ski Season Dates 2021

The New Zealand Ski Season usually begins early in June and runs until early October. But just because the mountains are open, doesn’t mean the trails are ready for you! We recommend checking individual ski resort websites (and snow-cams), to see how the powder is looking before you go.

Opening days this year:

5th June – Happy Valley, Ruapehu

11th June – Mt Hutt, Canterbury

26th June – The Remarkables, Queenstown

19th June – Coronet Peak, Queenstown

12th June – Cardrona, Queenstown

4th June – Whakapapa, Ruapehu

26th June – Treble Cone, Queenstown

2nd July – Tūroa, Ruapehu

When to head to the mountains

The best time for you to hit the slopes might depend on being in the right place at the right time. But if you have the choice, there are a couple of factors to consider:

Ski at Wanaka Treble Cone and enjoy unbeatable views

June – early July:

If the season has started well, this is a great time to head up the mountain. The fields are still quiet, so you can spend more time flying down and less time queuing up. It’s also a great time to learn if you’re a beginner. The beginner trails open up earlier, and you can familiarise yourself in a chill environment before the masses join you. Make sure you check the snow-cams before committing to a day pass.

July:

This is typically the busiest month across the country for ski fields, due to that pesky little thing called school holidays. Families will be flocking to the slopes then, and the resorts offer programmes for kids, so it gets busy!

August:

August offers potentially the best conditions, with lots of snow and stable weather. With the kids back at school, the mountains are busy with everyone else, including a fair few who are conveniently sick from work on dump days.

September – October:

Things begin to quieten down. If you’re lucky, you can get a few of those magic days in where there is no one around, the sun is shining and the conditions are perfect. Don’t forget sun screen, and reapply! There’s nothing quite so free as skiing/boarding in a t-shirt.

Friends snowboarding at Coronet Peak Ski Area
Coronet Peak Ski Field is close to the Queenstown Centre and offers all level trails

Where to stay & how to get up the mountain

As you can probably tell, there are three main places that you can go to get your skiing fix, and the Stray bus can drop you off pretty close to all three. We’ll go from North to South:

Tūroa

If you’re heading to Tūroa, you’ll want to jump off the bus and stay in Ohakune. This little resort town is a pretty fun place to be a backpacker, and you’ll have easy access to the slopes from here. There are plenty of inexpensive shuttle services running daily from Ohakune township to Tūroa ski field.

Whakapapa

For the Whakapapa ski field, the best place to transfer or stay overnight is National Park. A smaller, quieter ski village, you’ll be closer to the Whakapapa side here, and the best news? The park and ride shuttle service that runs from National Park is cheap as chips.

Mount Hutt

Probably the least accessible mountain from the Stray route, Mount Hutt is still a bit of a drive from Christchurch (around 2 hours). Luckily there is a reasonably priced bus service that will take you from Christchurch CBD to the ski field and back again for around $60NZD. Alternatively, you can take a bus to Methven, seek shelter in this little snow town and head up the mountain bright eyed the next day.

Treble Cone

The mountain for the experts, Treble Cone is famous for a challenging, steep terrain. Hop off in Wanaka and base yourself in this cool little lakeside town. The ski field is just 25 minutes from town, and the best news is there’s a FREE shuttle service running twice a day to get you onto the slopes.

Cardrona

Cardrona is also best accessed from Wanaka 20 minutes away, but you can make the trip from Queenstown (approximately 50 minutes). Cardrona offers shuttle services from both of these locations. The shuttle departs twice from Queenstown and will set you back around $55NZD return. From Wanaka there is only one departure, which costs around $35NZD return.

Coronet Peak

Just 20 minutes from Queenstown, hop off in the adventure capital of New Zealand to ski here. There are plenty of accommodation options, from party hostels to luxe backpackers, so you’re spoilt for choice. The bus runs every 20 minutes from Queenstown and is just $25 return. Better yet, if you’re planning to practically live on the mountain, you can get a discount for booking 5 days worth of transport. Coronet Peak is the top spot for night skiing and boarding, and the bus runs in the evenings too!

The Remarkables

The sister peak to Coronet, the Remarkables are also accessed from Queenstown. Just a little further away, the trip will cost you the same ($25 return). This resort is known for its awesome terrain parks, but is also a great spot for learners.

Skiing at The Remarkables
The most beautiful ski field in this country is at The Remarkables, Queenstown

Tips to save money

Skiing is an expensive hobby, especially if you’ve flown half way around the world and not brought any of your own gear. We love saving money (who doesn’t), so we’ve got a few tips on how to keep the cost down, while still having a snowy blast.

  • Early Bird Passes – This one requires a bit of foresight, but if you’re coming to NZ for a skiing holiday, or you think you’ll get a lot of mountain time in, you might consider buying a season pass. Better yet, if you buy it far enough in advance, you can get over 50% off!
  • BYO thermos & food – Pick up a thermos from an Op Shop (second hand store), fill it with your choice of hot drink and avoid paying $5 for a long back. Likewise, if you pack your own lunch and eat it on the chairlift, you’ll get more runs in while it’s quiet over lunch, and save some coin!
  • Hire your gear before you go – This is another time and money hack. Renting your gear the night before from a shop in town will be cheaper than doing it up the mountain. Not to mention you’ll get to avoid the stuffy queue of gear hire first thing in the morning.
  • Buy your pass the day before – this may not save you money, but it will save you time in the morning. Like everyone always says, time is money baby.
Snowboarding at Cardrona
Cardrona is one of the biggest ski fields in NZ with well-equipped facilities

You can hit all these spots with any of our NZ Tours. Now you’re armed with all the information you need for a sick New Zealand ski season, have a great run! Remember to stay safe on the slopes, and we will repeat – SUNBLOCK.

Top of Mt Ruapehu
Whakapapa Ski Field has the breathtaking volcanic landscape in winter