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Everywhere North Island Bus Pass

If you want to explore the entire North Island, this is the pass for you. From Cape Reinga in the North, to Raglan in the East, to the East Cape in the East and Wellington in the South, this backpacker bus pass covers it all. 

You'll get to immerse yourself in local Maori culture at our exclusive, inclusive overnight stop in Mourea. You'll get to chill out on amazing empty beaches and sample incredible fresh seafood on the East Cape. Get well off the beaten track at an award-winning conservation stop at Blue Duck Station and challenge yourself with the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

Note that travel on the East Cape is only available between 1st November and 30th April - the East Cape includes the section between Mourea and Rotorua, more details on the itinerary below. 


  • Learn how to surf in Raglan, or just chill on the beach in this cool surf town
  • Opportunity to hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing - one of the best one-day walks in New Zealand
  • Travel the East Cape, an incredible area of New Zealand most people miss out on entirely (November - April)
  • Experience the cafe culture of New Zealand's cool little capital city Wellington

What's Included

  • Knowledgable driver-guide who will help get you around the country and tell you everything you need to know about New Zealand. 
  • Guaranteed accommodation along the way, no need to book in advance (extra cost). More details here
  • Questions? Check out our FAQ or Contact Us

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Number of Days 15

Starts: Auckland Finishes: Auckland

Tour Type: Hop on Hop Off Bus Pass


January 01, 2018 - February 28, 2018: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
March 01, 2018 - April 30, 2018: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday
May 01, 2018 - September 30, 2018: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday
Tour Itinerary EXPAND ALL

This pass starts in New Zealand’s largest city Auckland, known as the ‘city of sails.’

We depart for the beautiful Bay of Islands from 7.00am. This relaxed seaside town of Paihia is often called the ‘gateway to the Bay’. We stop en-route for a chance to snorkel at the Goat Island Marine Reserve (summer), New Zealand’s first marine reserve, before cruising up to Paihia for a relaxing afternoon in the stunning Bay.


Hostel along from the beach.


Optional Paid:  Catch the ferry across to historic Russell (New Zealand’s ex-capital), skydiving, Hole in the Rock boat trip, diving.

Included Free: Snorkeling at Goat Island (summer only), tree hugging huge kauri trees at Parry Kauri Forest (wet weather/winter option).


Enjoy a sleep-in today, or explore the beachside town of Paihia. The bus takes off in the afternoon and you head back to the Big Smoke (aka – Auckland). 


Central Auckland hostel.


Head out for a swim, relax on the beach in Paihia, cruise around the bay (extra).

We depart Auckland and head south, travelling to the Coromandel Peninsula via the old colonial town of Thames.  The Coromandel Peninsula, which is renowned for its natural beauty and pristine swimming beaches, is the perfect place to kick back and relax for a couple days. We’ll get settled into our beachside accommodation in Hahei before heading over to Hot Water Beach (tidal dependent). This is an absolute ‘must do’ experience where you can dig your own natural spa bath in the sand and soak up the Coromandel surrounds.  Tonight you have the option to join a group dinner for a classic Kiwi BBQ.


Accommodation on the waterfront. 


Optional Paid: Canyoning in Sleeping God Canyon* (hop-off in Thames).

Free: Visit Hot Water Beach for a natural beach spa (tide & weather dependent), walk to Cathedral Cove, explore old cultural sites or simply relax on the beach.

Today you have a full free day to embrace the laid back lifestyle that makes this area such a popular NZ holiday destination. Make the most of this special place by taking a scenic walk or kayak to the nearby Cathedral Cove, a paradise-like beach that you might recognize from one of the Narnia films. If you prefer water sports, the coast off Hahei is part of the protected Te-Whanganui-a-Hei Marine Reserve, which is a prime place to go scuba diving, snorkelling or take a glass bottom boat tour.


Accommodation by the waterfront.


Optional Paid Activities: Kayaking, scuba diving, bike hire, glass bottom boat tour.

Free Activities: Walk to Cathedral Cove, watch the sunrise on the beach, go snorkelling in the marine reserve, explore old cultural sites or simply relax on the beach.

We leave Hahei early to travel to the mighty Waikato region. First up is a little adventure into Bridal Veil Falls, where a short walk through beautiful native bush leads to an impressive cascading waterfall. Our destination today is at the world-renowned surf town of Raglan. There’s no better place to learn to surf; but if you don’t fancy a splash in the waves, the afternoon is free to watch the surfers from the beach or enjoy a bush walk. Chill out or go hard in this arty surf town.


An eco-lodge, near the beach set in native bush.


Optional Paid Activities: Learn to surf, sunset cruise, dine on fresh fish and chips for dinner.

Free Activities: Walk to the waterfall, bush walk around Mt Karioi, beach walk, glow-worm spotting in the bush, West Coast sunset, Inspiration Point.

Departing early, our first stop on route to Rotorua is at Waitomo, a small rural town where it’s main attraction is in fact underground. Don’t miss out on the opportunity for a seriously cool caving adventure that will have you wading, climbing, abseiling and tubing through Waitomo’s magnificent cave network. From here we continue on to Rotorua where you have the opportunity to make this a 10/10 day with a visit the world famous Hobbiton Movie Set. Explore the hills, gardens and houses that were home to Frodo and Bilbo in Peter Jackson’s epic trilogies. Those not interested in Hobbiton, will continue on to Rotorua and will be joined by the Hobbiton goers early evening.


Comfortable central city hostel.


Free Activities: Walk around Ruakuri Reserve, Waitomo Valley Caves walk

Paid Activities: Waitomo ‘must-do’ caving options or a glow-worm tour, Hobbiton, Tamaki Village


We depart from Rotorua to start our journey into the remote East Cape region. We will head east towards the lush Bay of Plenty, navigating our way through the beautiful lakes in the Rotorua region. Our destination is a remote coastal settlement of Te Kaha where we’ll be overnighting in a local homestay set overlooking the sea. Feel truly welcomed by our local hosts with a warm traditional Maori greeting. You will have a free afternoon to ease into the coastal setting with opportunities to go fishing, snorkelling or simply unwind in a seaside spa pool. We recommend signing up for the freshest seafood meal you’ll ever eat prepared by our hosts.    


Seaside homestay lodge


Snorkelling, waterfront walk, spa bath overlooking the ocean.

We set out early to make our way around the eastern point of the Cape, exploring the pristine beaches and settlements along the way.  We’ll later stop by Tolaga Bay Wharf, the longest pier in New Zealand where you can enjoy an dip before arriving at our overnight accommodation on the outskirts of Gisborne. Nestled on a private beach you can enjoy sundowners on a deck or build a beach bonfire and feel the outside world drift away.


Tranquil hostel with an unbeatable sea views.


East Cape Lighthouse walk, swimming, beach bonfire.

Today you’ll have a free morning in Tatapouri to enjoy some activities in the area. Hone your surfing skills or join a local guide for a “must do experience” feeding wild stingrays in the bay (tide permitting). In the afternoon we’ll take a cruisy drive back to Rotorua driving through the spectacular Waioeka Gorge Scenic Reserve stopping to enjoy some of the sights along the way. Before arriving back in Rotorua (late afternoon) we will make one last stop for a stretch and a refreshing dip in the crystal clear waters of Lake Rotoma.


Central Rotorua hostel.


Free activities: Swimming, walks, explore Gisborne township.

Paid activities: Surfing, Stingray Feeding (tide permitting), White Island Volcanic Tour

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 Forest to the foothills of the Te Urewera National Park to experience stories, history and culture not yet touched by commercialism, dating back to the first known person to discover NZ (Kupe).


Note: Lake Aniwhenua night is $75 including accommodation, bed and linen, dinner and breakfast.

We depart at 7.00am and head to Taupo, see Huka Falls and have time to experience skydiving if you’re brave! Our destination is Blue Duck Station, a 7,200 acre high country station that is both a working farm and an environmental conservation leader.  


Country station lodge.


Free Activities: Huka Falls, walk around the stunning Whakahoro Station.

Paid Activities: Bungy Jump in Taupo, Skydive, jet boat ride. 

Today is yours to explore and discover this remote unique NZ destination! 


Country station lodge. 


Free Activities: Explore the amazing farm, go for a hike, relax. This place is EPIC!

Paid Activities: Horse riding, jet boating, 4WD touring.

Up early today to head to Tongariro National Park. You have a chance to walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing – one of the world’s best day walks. 


Alpine Lodge. 


Free Activities: Taranaki Falls walk, visit the Volcanic Centre, Tawhai Falls (Gollum’s pool).

Paid Activities: New Zealand's best one-day walk, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. 

After breakfast we head around the mountains via the rural towns of Ohakune, Taihape and Bulls and then onto New Zealand’s capital city Wellington. This is mostly an express day to get to Wellington, and the afternoon is yours to explore the sites of the capital. We recommend checking out Te Papa national museum – it’s fantastic! From here you can head across the the South Island and join a South Island tour or start another bus pass.


Not included on this day. 


Mostly an express day to Wellington, with sights along the way. Visiting Te Papa in Wellington is a must!

We depart in the early morning. This is an express day via the National Park heading back to New Zealand’s largest city Auckland. You can hop off anywhere along the way. For those who may have missed out on hiking the Tongariro Crossing, you have the option to hop off in National Park and try again. With an early evening arrival, there’s still time to wander the streets of Auckland, visit the waterfront, do some souvenir shopping and hang out in some of Auckland’s lively cafes and bars. We hope you had a blast on your adventure!


Central Auckland hostel. 

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1 reviews
April 2016

I had an amazing experience. I got to meet about 4 different drivers and they were all amazing. Nipper especially :)

The East cape is definitely an underrated destination that I encourage people to visit. I didn't think NZ could get more laid back until heading to the East Cape.

Definitely do not skip the culture nights, I know you'll save money but you're losing out big time. TumuTumu caving was one of my best highlights as well as Hobbiton, and the Lord of the Rings tour in Wellington. I would suggest hopping off in Wellington if possible. One night is not enough and the museum is free and you can spend all day there. This was definitely worth the money and I wish I could've stayed longer.

New Zealand I will be back!
- Kaela - A happy Canadian traveler

Trip Date: December 2015

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