Please see the different activities (either free/included or requiring an extra payment) in the itinerary.
Accommodation is not included in your bus pass. However, it is really easy to book through your driver on a pay-as-you-go basis. You are welcome to choose where you stay, or we will make a recommendation for you. You can find the preferred accommodation options in the itinerary that normally have a choice of dorm, double and twin share. The majority of our accommodation venues allow for self-catering with kitchen facilities (we do supermarket stops to make it easier) as well as have a TV lounge and internet.
Normal backpacker hostel rates are about 26-32 NZD per night for a dorm bed and 60-80 NZD for a double/twin room, 70-120 NZD for double/twin room with ensuite. During peak season (December - March) double/twin rooms may have limited availability.
We guarantee your first night's accommodation when you travel on the bus. This can be really useful for you, as travellers rarely appreciate how busy it can get in New Zealand and how time-consuming the search for a good hostel is.
At some very special stops, we get so far off the beaten track there is only one accommodation option available. This is noted in the itinerary. For example, our cultural stay in Mourea offers shared accommodation only. The cost of your stay is higher than a normal dorm share, but includes afternoon tea, dinner, interactive performance, storytelling and breakfast.
We use our own coaches for much of the route, which ensures safety, reliability and good service. Your driver-guides will help you book accommodation and activities en-route as well as offer guidance and commentary - they are a greatly valuable and fun source of Kiwi knowledge. You can get on and off the Stray bus at any stop on the route and as often as you like, as long as you verify your trip changes online or with our reservations team (we advise you do this at least a few days in advance).
Please note: You can't hop off the bus on non-Stray run sectors, i.e. Christchurch - Greymouth.
Meals are not included in the price of the pass. However, you don’t have to eat chicken noodles every day; we make supermarket stops so that you can self cater, and there are cheap meal options at each stop - often with local specialties (there is always a vegetarian option).
TOP REASONS TO GO WITH STRAY!
We actively seek out the best places off the beaten track so you'll get an unforgettable experience whilst in New Zealand.
- We stay CLOSER to the action
You've come all the way to New Zealand, so you'll want to get close to the action! We stay in great Kiwi locations, such as on a real sheep/cattle station, amongst Lord of the Rings scenery and beside at least eight national parks. Thus you can easily access the outstanding, unique nature as well as activities, such as a Maori cultural stop-over, a wildlife stop-over on Stewart Island, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (rated as NZ's best one day walk), sailing or kayaking in the Abel Tasman National Park... All of these and more are exclusive to Stray and some of our top-rating features.
- We have smaller group sizes
Our average group size is 30. The benefits of this size are many - you don’t feel herded around, we are able to include many more accommodation and activity options, it’s easier to meet people... Plus we can get you off the beaten track and do way more in a day.
- Top Kiwi guides
Stray is NZ-known as being a top place to work - and we should know! We give our driver-guides market-leading training to help them take you around New Zealand; as well as being your local "guidebook" they provide commentary, book beds and activities, and provide information on things from New Zealand history and culture to the best drinking spots. These are all people that you’d like to adventure with.
- Save money whilst getting off the beaten track
With Stray you don't have to buy costly side trips as we already include out-of-the-way places like Raglan, Mt Cook, and the Abel Tasman. We save you time by picking you up and dropping you off at your accommodation; and by our extensive knowledge of where and what the best things in New Zealand are. We get you deals on activities so you can afford to do more, and there are always free things for you to do (please see your Stray pass itinerary for the free options in each place).
- Orange is the new Green - with one of NZ’s most efficient bus fleets
Stray is committed to environmentally sustainable tourism. Rather than just token gestures of energy efficient light bulbs and recycling (which we do anyway), we lead the market with the newest bus fleet to reduce our emissions. By choosing Stray you are helping reduce your own carbon output - travelling on a bus is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to travel, but only if the bus is full! We reduce our departure days and bus sizes in NZ's low season to further reduce unnecessary output. We have Enviro-Gold accredition from Qualmark.
- Don't just take our word for it!
We won the Best Visitor Transport Award at the NZ Tourism Awards and the Best NZ Tour Operator Award at the Australasian Golden Backpack (traveller-voted) Awards in 2010. We have extremely high customer satisfaction and referrals (97.5%) because we offer travellers more of what they want - down-to-earth, real New Zealand with an awesome crew and a greater emphasis on your needs.
- And finally...
You can realistically do the things that we list in the itinerary. Many of the things that we identify on our trips we have to go out of our way to do. For example, going to Mt Cook and Stewart Island, and doing the Tongariro Alpine Crossing are part of our normal itinerary so Stray offers the best chance to do them on our trips. That means that you don't have to hop off the bus, leave your group, and make your own way to enjoy these iconic NZ activities. Be also aware that you simply can't access much of what we think is the best stuff in New Zealand by using public transport - it simply doesn't go there.
- Is it a full-on party bus or nature bus?
Stray’s main priority is walks and wildlife and we have lots of early starts so we can fit as many adventure activities in as possible. What you do in the evenings is your choice, but we do have a couple of big nights out on the circuit in particular in Wellington and Queenstown.
- Can I hop on and off the bus anywhere or just at the overnight stops?
You can hop on or off the Stray bus anywhere along the Stray route - if you like the look of a place, just yell ‘Stop’ to the driver, and they’ll drop you off and then you can just rebook online when you want to be picked up again.
- What is the average age of travellers on Stray?
The average age of Stray passengers is about 26. The majority of people are between the age of 20 and 40 (but we also have older). No matter what the age, we find we attract on-to-it people who want to meet other travellers, and get out there and further off the beaten track.
- Is it ok to travel alone on Stray?
Stray is perfect for people travelling by themselves. New Zealand is a relatively safe country and our smaller group sizes means you can meet more people, and your driver is always there for any questions you may have.
- Are the ferries between North, South and Stewart Island included and how much do they cost?
The ferry rides are not included in your pass as the prices vary frequently. Your driver will help you get the best deal when you are travelling. It usually costs between 50-65 NZD depending on the time of year.
- Should I reconfirm my trip?
If you are happy with the start date and pick up point confirmed when you booked your Stray pass then you do not need to confirm. If you booked an ‘open-dated’ pass, or want to change your start date, you need to contact Stray (either by phone or online) AT LEAST 48 hours prior to a desired departure to arrange a departure date. Remember - we need to know where to pick you up from!