It really depends on which bus driver you get and the group you are travelling with. The first bus driver Lego was so cool and our group was just perfect . The route is very cool and i liked it a lot. Later we had a grumpy bus driver and it was more like a school trip. "You have 8 minutes to take a picture...if you are one minute late i leave you behind" "dont ask me questions, i told you everthing before" maybe im too old for this. Maybe the driver doesnt like his Job. I actually paid for the travel and the stray App was broken all the time. I cant understand this. especially if youre not an enlish native speaker sometimes its very stressfull to book all your stuff and understand everthing. So if youre older i wouldnt recommend stray to you. And all activities cost more than booking it by yourself. Its not cheap its just an easy way to travel if you havent rlly prepared anything
I choose Stray (Maximus tour round all of the North and South Island) over some of the other competitors and have no regrets in the slightest! I wanted a trip that offered a mixture of meeting great people, getting to see the real New Zealand rather than all the typically touristy parts as well as having the flexibility to hop on and off. Having had a real mix of drivers going round, they all bring their own unique styles to the tours that allow you to bond as a group and have all of the stress and hassle taken off your hands. They are incredibly informative and the activities they can offer on the way round appeal to everyone from the extreme to the scenic and everything in between.
As a solo traveller, Stray made for an exceptional journey that allowed me to do everything from skydive and bungey jump to swimming with dolphins and enjoying some of the remote and cultural stops with great friends. I would recommend this trip to anyone looking to explore and see the real sights and experiences of New Zealand, I've even been able to pick up some work at Blue Duck Station before continuing my travels onwards. An easy 10/10!!
I spent 5 weeks travelling around the whole of New Zealand with Stray. From day one we were greeted by drivers who were incredibly informative about every aspect of New Zealand in particular the Maori heritage and the stunning scenery and sites we would come across throughout our journey.
The drivers enable groups to form bonds quickly and make the bus a welcoming, friendly and enjoyable place. The buses I travelled in enabled me to meet an amazing bunch of people and form our own little whanau for the duration of our travels.
Throughout New Zealand Stray offers a wide range of activities in every location, catering for all budgets and all travellers. In addition to this Stray is true to its motto of travelling off the beaten track, staying in remote locations such as Blue Duck Station and Gunns Camp, but also in locations which allow tourists to visit cultural locations that they may not have been able to visit alone such as Mourea and Lake Aniwhenua.
An amazing experience, with fantastic people and stunning scenery! A must for anyone visiting New Zealand!
I booked a Stray trip around the North Island last minute before visiting and it was the best decision I ever made. The trip takes you away from the tourist trap destinations where you get to really experience everything New Zealand has to offer. In my week I went from Visiting film sets from Lord Of The Rings to Hunting in a forest to playing in snow right under Mt Doom. The group of people on my bus were amazing and we became a little family welcoming people on as we went as you get the option to jump off and stay longer if you find somewhere you really like!
The flexibility that Stray offers you along with the great support staff and drivers as well as amazing activities and sights on the way make this the perfect option for any traveler looking to see everything New Zealand has too offer! I have no doubt I'll be back soon to do the South Island with Stray!
Absolutely loved Stray, with very few hiccups.
I found it to be by far the perfect choice for the lone traveller (like myself) to meet others while travelling around the country.
It does get fairly crowded during peak season, and they don't warn you that you may need to book onto your next bus days in advance to ensure yourself a spot. Hopping off is easy, but simply "hopping back on" isn't as easy as they like to advertise... a very common flaw with these bus tours.
Aside from that, I absolutely loved Stray and I would highly recommend it.
I had an amazing time on the Stray bus exploring the North Island of New Zealand! It was a fantastic week with awesome people and experiences I will never forget. :) Especially, those unique stays were unforgettable. Who can tell from himself that he has slept in a Marae and helped a local community to give food to their kids? These memories will always be with me and I am happy that I have chosen Stray to commence my travels around New Zealand.
The whole bus became like your small Kiwi family and you were never alone! It is a great way to meet people from all over the world.
Thank you Stray for this great journey!!! :)
I was lucky to be traveling the Deep South with Stray. We had 7 days and managed to see the most pristine and breathtaking nature I've seen in a while.
Starting in Queenstown, we made our way to Milford Sound, a beautiful river starting somewhere in the Mountains heading towards the ocean. With sea lions and massive waterfalls, snow capped mountains and good company this was one of my highlights.
We traveled further South, staying in an old miners camp that is exclusive to Stray and a really cool spot with little huts and a community meal to get everyone entertained!
Our group of roughly 20 people was well balanced and our tour guide, Seagull, was an absolute legend, making sure everyone got to know each other. He created a well balanced group atmosphere and everyone got along well with each other.
I would definitely recommend to everyone to experience Stray at least once, while in New Zealand. I liked it so much, that I will be heading over again in August this year!
Although my nickname was Mother Goose on my Stray Bus, I had an amazing time! I wasn't sure what to expect when I bought my Stray pass but the experience was above and beyond any expectations. The bus was clean, roomy and very comfortable. My driver was very knowledgeable, accommodating and did a great job of making everyone on the bus feel like a family. Their consciousness of the environment is great to see from a company that can have such an impact on their native land. The itinerary was DEFINITELY "off the beaten track", I can't even count how many times I said "Are we in the middle of nowhere?". The Stray bus in New Zealand was the only part of my 'Around the World' trip that I had purchased a guided tour for and after that experience I started searching for Stray-like tours in all of my other countries. When I come back to New Zealand to do the South Island I will be using Stray for sure!
Went on a Stray tour with the best driver out there - Splash! There wasn't one boring day, always smiling, laughing, singing, making jokes, making me smile. I had the trip of my life with this man, the best two and a half weeks of my life. I learnt so much about New Zealand while on his bus, from the Maori culture to the "oreo cows" and that ducks do actually fly! A man of many talents and the most inviting, loving, fun and amazing personalities you will ever come across. I can honestly say I couldn't of picked a better driver to travel New Zealand with, in one word this guy is EPIC! I've made a life long friend and memories that will last a life time, Splash is AWESOME! To the guy who saved my life, I love you heaps.
When we started travelling with Stray, we didn't have much time or money left to travel New Zealand. Thanks to Stray we were able to depart on an unforgettable adventure at the heart of Middle Earth, meet so many wonderful travellers and really impressive locals with a will to help their community and share their culture through tourism.
From a Marae in Mourea to the lost world of Blue Duck Station, from the wonders of Abel Tasman to the glacier of Franz Josef, from the adrenalin-packed city of Queenstown to the dolphins of Kaikoura,...
We will never forget our trip with Stray and it is in major part thanks to their extraordinary drivers : Lolly is a super star, bubbly, always happy person who will make you smile even on your worst day. She always had new ideas of games and ways to bring us all closer together. We would have stayed on her bus forever as we had so much fun with her. Skins always went the extra mile for his passengers in order to make their trip unforgettable ( sometimes finding himself with 40 cameras and having to take a picture with every one of them ), organising the best group dinners and being always attentif of everyone. Possum also helped everyone well outside of her prerogatives and helped us find a place to wwoof when we found ourselves out of money. Anna has a great personality and made us laugh so many times.
You'll never find people more devoted to their job and their passengers, they are excellent ambassadors for New Zealand and more precisely Stray.
Thank you so much for all the memories
We are so glad to have spent those moments in company of the Stray crew.
Nicko Wong and Minnka Ferrandez,
Crash Palace interns
Had an awesome time on this Stray tour, going to places that i'd never thought of going to. The highlights are surfing in Raglan, the Waitomo caves where you can see the glow worms, getting to eat a traditional Hangi and Blue Duck station. Great guides, great places and the bus was full of like minded fun people. Can't wait to go on one in the South Island
I joined the Stray 'Tom' Pass on a tour around the North Island in November 2014. Stray promotes themselves as 'off the beaten track' adventure travel company which appealed to me. I can confirm for the 6 days I travelled with them they completely lived up to these expectations. We visited lots of cool places including a cool west coast surf town (where we learnt to surf), a lakeside lodge (where we learnt about Maori history and ate traditional Maori foods), an awesome high country station (Blue Duck) where we had options to hike, horseride, hunt or just relax. Stray offered lots of different activities along the way (I also went caving and skydiving) which you could opt in or out of. I feel like I saw a lot more of New Zealand than I would have travelling around on my own. Leftie (our Driver) was a dude. He was always up for a laugh but had lots of great insights to share about New Zealand. Thanks Stray. I had such a blast!
Stray was a great way to see New Zealand. My pass only covered the North Island and when it ended and all my new friends were continuing to the South Island I was gutted I didn't buy both - the fun was only just beginning! Stray is awesome because you don't have to worry about where you were going, navigating the roads yourself, and where you would stay. If you want accommodation that night, you write your name on a clipboard and the driver books it for you! If you want to do activities, write your name on another clipboard and that's all booked too - at a Stray discounted price! It's a nice no-stress way to travel around and meet great people who are wanting the same kind of experience. Our driver was fantastic, always sorting things out for us, packing our bags in and out, telling us interesting facts along the way and stopping off for photo opportunities. It really was a great tour. I'm already saving up to do the South Island next summer!
I loved my time going down to Rotorua with my tour guide/driver Golum, he was fun and enjoyable. It was about 4-5 days and i wish it was longer! Stray is a great way to experience a country, i recommend it for all types of people.
I really enjoyed my time on Stray. I spent 3.5 weeks traveling across both islands on the Max Pass. I wish I had more time for sure.
I'd highly suggest this trip for anyone 18-30 looking to travel alone or w/ a small group of friends.
I have an in-depth review of my experience at my blog.
Had the best experience with Lego, made the journey so fun and informative. Met the best people and would do it all over again.
Too less information about the overnight stays, too expensive, too crowded.
Top marks for Stray, I did the Ron pass in roughly three weeks and had a brilliant time.
It's a good match for people in their 20s and 30s (Kiwi Experience has a much younger demographic) and for group/singles alike. I traveled to NZ alone and left with good friends scattered across the globe.
The people always make the experience, but logistics are crucial and Stray excelled here. Lodgings all comfortable, buses in good shape (with sweet playlists too!) and timing always spot-on. The drivers were incredible - really can't say enough about them - heaps of energy, enthusiasm and brimming with cool stories. I loved the added details to the stunning scenery we passed. Felt very organised yet also laid-back.
The activities were numerous - both paid and free - so there's always something to do. The Stray buses also do quick off-road stops so you don't miss any waterfalls or lovely views.
The only part I wasn't so keen on was Stewart Island - there's not much to do. Bit of a disappointment.
I guess the best part was the energy - you're in a gorgeous country, with fellow travelers and keen guides. Good times!
The Stray bus was an awesome experience. I was short on time and wanted to see a lot, and the Stray bus worked out perfectly. I got the Stew pass for the South Island for less than $400, and it stopped at my must sees (Milford Sound and Mount Cook). It was also a nice surprise to stay at rustic Gunn Camp for the night. My only negative with that tour was the stop in Invercargill. I think the main point of that stop is Stewart island, but if you don't have the time or the budget for it, there really isn't much to see in Invercargill for the night, so staying in the kinda sketchy hostel for the night feels like a bit of a waste of time. On a positive note, the Catlins stop the next day is amazing, so that made it more worth it. It was pretty incredible to see all the wildlife in their natural habitat.
All in all, I would recommend Stray for their flexibility, price, and the great experience.
To read more about my experience, please visit my website:
For two months I've been traveling around with Stray! Because of the possibility of hopping on and off everywhere, I could make my own trip. With the bus selecting nice hostels (with almost always nice discount), my stay in New Zealand was great!
Sometimes it depands on the driver if you stop at nice look-outs, one is more into it than others, but overall I saw a beautiful country with nice people to hang around with!
My Stray tour was ultra fun! The drivers are all good natured with awesome personalities and full of interesting stories, the accomodation is generally more than acceptable and the flexibility of the hop-on hop-off pass was invaluable to allow for deeper exploration of any region. I definitely hopped off a lot, and so feel familiar with New Zealand and the culture gradients within the country.
Having activities options arranged was really helpful, and there's always a free idea of bush walks, beach time, star gazing or learning more about other travellers and cultures. Our stays off the track were excellent- the marae, the Blue Duck station, East Cape in general, Gunn's Camp in Fiordland, Rangitata... seeing small towns and remote lodges gives a true impression of the country and the people. The other passengers also seemed to enjoy themselves a lot, and that made the bus trips entertaining. The busses are even pretty comfortable, and the drivers tended to amaze me at their dexterity and ability to reverse and handle such a long vehicle.
Stray has great energy, is FUN and comprehensive.
I had one negative experience- when I called the HQ to confirm that I was on the bus leaving the next day. However, when I waited and waited for the bus that didn't show, I called HQ again and it turns out there was no bus that day. So I had an extra day in Rotorua- not a bad thing since I had lots of time in my journey, but could have been a real issue for a traveller in another situation. Also, one time the bus door wouldn't open when we were trying to depart an overnight stop, but in the end that was a delay of less than an hour, so no big deal.
Overall, I absolutely recommend Stray NZ. The company is populated by good people, and that means good times. Thanks guys!
The Stray Experience was a good one. I prebooked a 12 day journey through the south island and enjoyed it very much. All bus-drivers and all of them got us safe and with a lot of fun to our next destinations. Allthough it was great, that there were a lot of "adventure offers" we were able to book with a stray discount.
Since I was prebooked I stayed at the stray-suggested accomondations, which sometimes were great and sometimes not so great.
Also it was a little bit confusing beeing prebooked on the round-trip: I didn't get any documents about the travel. But the stray-hotline worked fine and I had no bigger problems.
The people on the stray bus were great and we had a lot of fun.
Die Erfahrungen mit Stray sind gut. ICh hatte einen 12 Tagestripp über die Südinsel von Deutschland aus gebucht und es hat mir sehr viel Spaß gemacht. Alle drei Busfahrer die ich in der Zeit hatte, waren gut drauf und haben uns sicher zum nächsten Halt gebracht. Zudem gab es als Stray-Reisender bei zahlreichen Attraktionen Vergünstigungen.
Da ich eine gebuchte Rundreise hatte, habe ich immer in den Stray-empfohlenen Unterkünften übernachtet, mal gut mal schlecht. Auch gab es öfter Verwirrung, ob ich denn nun wirklich für die Nacht angemeldet war... aber ich habe immer ein Bett bekommen. Unterlagen hatte ich keine bekommen aber ein Anruf bei Stray-Hotline hilft. Es empfiehlt sich, von Deutschland aus schonmal bei Stray anzurufen und mit denen E-Mailkontakt aufzunehmen. Vmtl. erhält hat man dann auch etwas mehr Informationen über seine Reise;) Und eine NZ-Telefonkarte fürs Handy ist auch nicht zu verachten.
Die Mitreisenden im Bus waren super drauf und da es sich um die ersten beiden Wochen meines NZ-Urlaubs handelte, konnte ich sowohl meine Sprachkenntnisse (es waren insg.nur 4 Deutsche an Board ) optimieren als auch Kenntnisse über "Urlaub in NZ" sammeln, da viele der Mitfahrer bereits seit der Nordinsel zusammen auf dem Bus wahren. Insgesamt gut.
I had 6 great weeks in New Zealand with Stray. It's a very easy way to enjoy the country and meet other people.
I met some awesome guys on the way in NZ and thanks for Stray for a great experience, five star
Highly recommended Stray, it's a fantastic hassle free way to travel.
We completed the Stew Pass over 12 days during Christmas and New Years and the only downside was we didn't get to spend longer..stupid work!!
We had two awesome drivers Karlyn and Splash who really made sure we were entertained during the trip and took us to some of the most amazing places, the scenery was just stunning.
Thanks guys for a wonderful time would love to do it all over again...Someday hopefully :)
I am not a big fan of such bus tours but wanted to say that our bus driver Karlyn was the best. He made our tour, he is SUPER FUNNY and relaxed.
Stray, please give him also other routes as it can be quite boring to take the same route all over.
Our driver Panda is also worth mentioning. Full with energy and has a lot of knowledge about his country, I mean New Zealand :)
Traveling through New Zealand with Stray was amazing! Really knowledgeable bus drivers took us to amazing places and kept us entertained with great stories. Plus you get to constantly meet new people from all over the world! It was awesome. Travel on Chase's bus, if you can!
Stray is a great way to see New Zealand and hit places you might otherwise miss out on. If you don’t want to plan every part of your trip then kick back and let stray do it for you. You’ll meet incredible people, see some spectacular sights and smile lots along the way. It’s whatever you want it to be. Our driver Splash was brilliant and he showed us how beautiful his Country is. It’s impossible to have a bad time when he is around. My favourite Kiwi.
What an amazing experience ,love New Zealand so beautiful.
I would recommend stray to anyone !
Especially splashes bus great driver and a complete dude!!
Cheers and we will be seeing you again
Andy and Nicole
I did the Stray max pass for 1 month. I found it hassle free and flexible travel. Your Stray driver will organise your accommodation for you and will take you to a supermarket each day. It is also a great way (if not the best) to meet a lot of people. They really do take you off the beaten track. Weather it be places you stay, walks r simply just where you eat your lunch. There are loads of opportunities to stop and take photos and nights out with your crew are always good fun.
My driver for the South Island was Splash. He is always entertaining and gets everyone involved. He does free bicycle tours around Queenstown and If your good he might bring you to his mams house in Invercargal for a bbq. He looked after us well and even got us dvds for long trips. A word of warning: don't be late for his bus (unless you like tongue twisters that is). I'd love to do it all over again.
Having had a few recommendations for Stray it was already top of the list. Looking through the choices of tour companies there was no comparison really.
We were on a fairly limited time scale and had to cut out a bit out our trip due to the winter timetable but that was down to our bad planning more than anything. The Stray team and the booking agent worked our itinerary out for us and booked it all before we even left Auckland.
Stray really have put together the best trip and you get to see the real New Zealand. You get to experience the Maori culture, beautiful scenery (everywhere) and the social side of travelling too. There is something for everyone. You can party in Queenstown, hike in Abel Tasman, fulfill your adrenaline junkie needs at the Nevis bungee or simply chill out at Blue Duck Lodge (a favourite of mine).
Thanks to the drivers along the way. The advice given was second to none, as well as their enthusiasm and passion for travelling their country. I had Meusli (Bay of Islands trip) , Sandfly (Auckland to Rotorua) both were happy to help out with any queries along the way and made the beginning of the trip seamless and stress free. I spent from Rotorua round to Christchurch on Splashes bus. This leg of the tour was sweet as! A brilliant bus crew and an awesome driver to match (this can definitely make or break a tour experience, this tour was made). Splash definitely made sure that we all saw the best of New Zealand, this was not difficult with his happy and energetic appraoch to everything. I made friends and memories on this part of my trip that I hope to keep for a long time to come.
I have already recommended Stray to a friend who I know for sure enjoyed her trip as much as I did. If I hear of anyone else travelling New Zealand I will be sure to send them the Stray way! I just wish I could come and do it all again.....never say never!!
I'm just after completing the max pass tour with Stray and can honestly say the past month was one of the best times I have ever spent travelling. I only wish I could do it all over again.
Stray really have put together a great trip and I honestly feel I have seen all that the North and South islands have to offer, even in the very limited time I had. From experiencing the traditional culture of the Maori home, to the breathtaking scenery we saw everywhere and fulfilling my adrenaline desires with the Abel Tasmin sky dive and Nevis bungy.
A big shout out also to the drivers I had Splash, Rob and Panda. The drivers really do make such a difference and really do their best to ensure you have the best possible time. They were always so enthusiastic about New Zealand, the places we visited and getting to know you. They also provided the best advice whenever needed!! Special thanks to Splash who I was with for the South Island and was always happy, energetic and up for anything. A great attitude for travelling which was infectious.
I guess all I can say is I would 100% recommend Stray and also say if you're going to to do it, do it proper and try and do as many of the activities as possible!! They're all unreal!! Cheers guys! Sweet as!
Amazing trip! After 6 years of travelling the world I ended up in amazing New Zealand! At first I travelled the only way I knew by van and hitch-hiking which was fun but very lonely experience. I ended up leaving NZ disheartened but came back shortly after and found myself booking a Stray tour for both islands at the end of winter. I had never done any bus tour before and was quite apprehensive at first. But thanks to the Stray team and my awesome driver Splash. I had the most fantastic trip around this beautiful place. We hit up some of the best spots to see and many others that you just would never know to do! Blue duck station to name just one! Where I stopped off to Volunteer. At blue duck I got to see many stray buses come and go and see many of the drivers that they have. Although I only really travelled with Splash who I must say lives, breaths and makes you love everything about New Zealand with his never ending energy. The other drivers all seemed to be pumped for getting off the beaten track and getting people involved, helping make the group you are with a proper second family! Not one bus I went on did I not feel this. If you are unsure about how to travel NZ I would defiantly give this a go. I just wish New Zealand was bigger so we didn't have to finish the trip! Alas I can just jump on and do it all again! Whoop! 10/10 Stray you bloody Legends. Kudos for all the good work. Oh and cheers Splash. It was Epic!
I enjoyed the Short Max pass in februari 2013 with provided excellent value compared to most of the other passes. Don't buy the passes for their full list price and look out for their sales. I bought mine in October.
If you are a solo traveller this is probably the best way to travel around New Zealand, if you are travel around with someone else I would still highly recomend it. I can promise you that you will meet a lot of friendly people.
You don't have to worry to much about checking up the places you go to before going there beause stray will provide most of the information you need, they will also gurantee hostel stay when you are travelling with them. Bookings of activities and hostels are sorted while on the buss. While travelling you can either do the pass in the minimum time that stray recommends or you can jump of here and there which is highly recomended both by me and stray.
While on the buss you get the chance to book the activities from the firms that stray are working with to a decent price. Most of the time there is free activities to do, they are normally well worth doing and I probably ended up spending half of may days on those.
If you know that you need really good comfort when travelling you should think twice about stray. Ther busses can't, even with a good will, be called comfortable, but if you can handle this the excperience is really enjoyable.
All in all go with stray! They will take you to some reallt cool places and more likely than not you will make many new friends when on the road!
I completed the Maximus pass with Stray in November last year. The experience was overall absolutely incredible. Everything was near perfect. Highlights included: zorbing in Rotorua, Waitomo Caves, Tongariro National Park, Abel Tasman National Park, walking on Franz Josef glacier, Queenstown, Milford Sound and Mount Cook.
Unless you just want to get completely trashed every night and play lame pub games, I would highly recommend avoiding Kiwi Experience at all costs. For example of the difference between the two companies, Stray stay at the base of mount Cook (incredible scenery), while Kiwi Experience stay in a nearby crap hole town called Twizel (presumably so they can all get drunk at the local pub), and for them going to Mount Cook is an optional extra (which they would probably be too hungover to take).
Stray is excellent and they truly do show you the best bits of the country. The drivers in particular were great, especially Python, Muesli and Ben who was new (now called Pinky I believe). The only negative comments I have is that some of their hostels are not great (the one in Kaikoura for example was dire). So what you may want to do is before coming to your next destination, look up the hostel Stray stays at on Hostelworld, and if the reviews are bad book somewhere different. Also one of the drivers on the North Island was relatively poor, but I guess they can't all be great. But it must be emphasised that these are minor quibbles in what was overall an absolutely incredible travel experience. If you are doing this on a ROTW trip it will probably be your highlight.
Tour with the bus in and around Auckland with the chance to win a Skyjump, beer tasting and walk on the Harbour Bridge.
Save up to 70% on campsite fees! Support conservation and experience the natural beauty of NZ. 78 Department of Conservation campsites, one convenient pass.
I found travelling with Stray great. Drivers were helpful, activities were great, flexibility was good and all the people were awesome! Highly recommended. To get 5% off, use this stray mate discount code: MG4891.
Traveling on the Stray bus was a great way to see the best parts of NZ (off the beaten track!). It really is the perfect way to meet friends if your traveling alone, they also have really good discounts on a lot things that you wouldn't receive otherwise.
I'm really glad that I experienced NZ on the stray bus. Highlights included -
National Park Lodge
Blue Duck Lodge
Everything about Queenstown!
Thank you to Bear, Dippy, Horse, Gravel and Jugs were my bus drivers throughout my Journey :)
Good itineraries, good prices, but not enough buses = not enough freedom.
Firstly I wanted to say a big thank you to the whole of the Stray Team, for organising my bus bookings and giving me the most fantastic tour of the wonderful country that is New Zealand!
Special thanks goes to Gravel, who was my driver from Auckland to Queenstown. He has so much enthusiasm and love for his country and this is really shown in his tour guiding skills. I learnt so many interesting facts about New Zealand while on his bus and have really grown to miss his reggae music! Please pass on my thanks to him.
Also a special thank you to Chase, who drove us very safely from Mount Cook to Rangitata in the snowy conditions and then providied us with a delicious meal in the evening.
And then a special thank you to Wales, who got us from Wellington to Auckland safely, despite gear failure on the bus!
I really have had an amazing time in New Zeland. This is mainly due to Stray making it so easy to travel to the remote parts of NZ and showing me the real NZ, rather than just the towns that most people get to see when travelling. I even persuaded some people on the Kiwi Experience bus that Stray was better!
There are no negatives about travelling in the winter. I loved it how the buses were small, so you could really get to know everyone on the bus really well. Plus there was snow and I seemed to get the impression there is less likelihood of getting bitten to death by sand flies in certain locations, compared to the summer!
My favourite activity to do was definitely the Tongariro Crossing. Then I would say my favourite lodges were the Karioi Lodge (Whale Bay, Raglan), Blue Duck Station and Te Nikau Retreat (Punakaiki).
Thanks once again Stray!
I was traveling around New Zealand for 3 months and at the end of my trip I started using Stray, great experience!! It was really nice to travel around NZ with other travellers like that! I rated Stray with a 9, because I also enjoyed travelling alone for some while...
If you want to see NZ, Stray is the best option!
I had both a positive and negative experience with Stray. I met some fantastic friends which I am happy to say I will be friends with for many years to come. The staff in the stray office were great and in the end they sold it to me as I was leaning towards the Kiwi Experience which I am so so grateful I didn't go with them because the girls I met along my travels that were with Kiwi were on the verge of tears (and we are only 25). Some of the drivers I had along the way were great and some not so great. One in particular I can only describe as having a split personality - approach with caution! Also must of the time I stayed in the YHA because they were guaranteed to be clean. Some of the places Stray recommended like - The Duke in Greymonth (which a few got bed bugs from) and the Rainforest retreat in Franz Josef (the room smelled of damp and there was no top sheet and the toilets were blocked) were not great. I maybe a backpacker but I deserve better than this which is why I stayed in the YHA. I worked hard to get the money to travel to NZ and paying money to stay in a place when sleeping on a bench in the park was almost as good does not make sense to me!! There should be a standard that all hostels have to abid by.But we did stay in the Blue Duck Lodge and The National Park in Tongariro Alpine Crossing which were amazing. The Stray bus is a fantastic way to see New Zealand. You get loads of information along the way and even get to stop and have picnic's by waterfalls or beautiful lakes. You also get taken to places which if you were travelling by public bus or in a camper van you would not see or even know they existed. You are also informed about activities you can do in each town/city you visit before hand so the hard work and research is done for you and you also get a discount!! The age group on the buses I was on were from 20 to 60 but that was great because everyone got on exceptionally well.Overall had a great time would recommend Stray. ;)
Last month I did the most northern part of New Zealand, by traveling from Auckland to Paihia and Cape Reinga.
I was surprised at how nice it was. The stray driver knew a lot, and made a lot of nice (free) stops along the way. I was really an experience in stead of only a bus ride.
Cape Reinga was Beautiful by the way, If your not sure if you want to do this day trip, please, just do it! And don't forget to go sand dune surfing, that was awesome ;)
I like stray because I met some really nice people on the bus. Most of them between 22 and 30 years old, so perfect for me. I loved it!
Good route and price. But some busses don't have enough room for luggage.
Had a fantastic time on the Stray bus, travelling in both south and north islands. It really maximises what you can fit into whatever time you have available, as you don't have to faff around finding accommodation, researching activity options, etc, it's all booked for you. (It's all optional though, you're not forced to do or pay for anything you don't want to. There is at least one accommodation option offered each night but you're totally free to book your own somewhere else, and for some of the nights at Base hostels I'd actually recommend doing that!), I was travelling alone and it's a brilliant way to meet other travellers and have fun along the way. The average age on Stray is slightly higher than on the Kiwi Experience or Magic buses - not geriatric and there is still plenty of partying, but at least there is a good mixture of people. The driver I had was great - knowledgeable, helpful and friendly.
Hey Jo, Thank you for your awesome comment! We are really pleased that you had a fantastic time on your Stray trip and that you met so many other travellers. Big cheers, Team Stray.
Good trip, lots of money spent though en route, good people and drivers.
Thanks Andy! We are glad you enjoyed your time on the Stray bus. Cheers, Team Stray.
Danielle & Jobbe
Accommodation is arranged. Make less use of Base to noise/crappy reservation system on the internet must become easier to use. And it depends on the driver as to what kind of atmosphere there is. The rest is pretty well organised.
Hi Danielle and Jobbe,
Thank you very much for your comments - we always want to improve our service and we take your feedback seriously. We are currently working on a new reservations system, which will be much easier to use. All the best for the rest of your travels, Team Stray.
My friend and I had a wonderful time traveling on the Stray bus even though we were much older than all the other passengers. Daniel and Emily helped me a lot in the planning process. Miss P was a great driver and helped make the trip easy and enjoyable. So nice to not have to plan the route, make the reservations, find the best grocery stores and more. Miss P was full of helpful hints to make our travel pleasant. I wish we had more time so that we could have gone on a more leisurely pace. I loved meeting people from all over the world.
Hi Mary, It’s great to hear that you guys enjoyed your time so much and that our Fort St shop crew and drivers were a big help for you.
You'll have to come back and spend more time! ☺ Cheers, Team Stray.
Enjoyed every minute of my experience with Stray! The bus drivers are all so different and fun in there own ways. They made it so easy to travel around the great country. Made some life long friends traveling with Stray! I highly recommend it to anyone traveling, its the best way to make friends, have fun and see so many amazing sights.
Thank you Stray!!!
Wow – what a brilliant comment and recommendation! We are really glad that you made so many friends and fully enjoyed your time with Stray! Cheers from NZ, the Stray Team.
Miron & Hendrik
Trip to Northland, everything was easy and good.
Hey Miron and Hendrik, big thanks for your comment! Cheers, from the Stray team.
My whole New Zealand experience was spent on the Stray Bus from start to finish. I had the most amazing time ver. Met some amazing people which included the drivers, HP and Miss P (my twin sister!). I cannot recommend Stray highly enough. The places they go to and the tours that are offered are amazing. Thank you so much for one of the most memorable trips ever.
Thanks Redkeels - that's awesome you had such a memorable trip :)
I loved every second of my experience on the Stray bus. Our driver (Miss P) was fantastic, very down to earth and fun to be around. The other passengers were fantastic, and having the driver book ahead for hostels and activities made the whole trip very relaxed and easy compared to schlepping around on my own. I can't recommend Stray highly enough, I have no complaints whatsoever.
Wow, thanks Iain - that's an amazing review, we're stoked you enjoyed your Stray trip so much. All the best for the rest of your travels.
I really had a blast knowing all the travellers on the bus! Not to mention the drivers which are funny and knowledgeable. And they bring you around like a friend, not like a tour guide, that's the feel. No more doubt, if you plan to get a Stray pass, do use Stray Mate Code KL3909 and you might get $25-50 discount! Kia ora!
Thanks for your great comment Navilink, we're glad you enjoyed hanging out with your Stray drivers on your NZ adventure!
Cheers from NZ,
Great bus/guides, a lot of fun, a little bit rushed at times.
Now it is high season it looks like there are too many people for them to handle (so disorganised). eg bigger buses, instead of small cold buses, some damaged.
Thanks for your comments Rachel - it does get very busy in high season, however we should aim to provide an excellent, organised service. We will forward your feedback to our operations team. We hope you enjoyed the rest of your travels.
I' ve had an amazing time and you make so many friends while travelling on the bus. Even if you get off somewhere and the group keeps travelling you catch up with most of them again. The reunion parties are the best ;)
I can not think of a more easy way to travel around. They book everything for you and get special discounts on most of the activities. The overnight stop accommodations are in good condition.
I would strongly recommend STRAY to everyone!!
Thanks Marielou for the amazing comments and recommendations, we really appreciate it!
Big cheers from the Stray NZ team :)
best way to travel by your self
Thanks Malena for your short and sweet comment!
Cheers from NZ,
The Stray Team
I travelled with Stray for 2 months. It was a really good experience. I came here by my own, but I met so many nice people at the straybus! It's really easy to book, and your accomodation is all arranged. It gave me a good feeling. The mood is really good, and you go to the most beautiful places in New Zealand. I hoped I had more time and money to travel with stray because I defenitely would like to do that!!
Thanks for the lovely comments Isha, we're glad you were able to meet so many nice people on your bus - you'll have to come back and travel with us again!
Team Stray NZ
I travelled with Stray Travel November 2011 and it was absolutely amazing, I may even dare to say it was the best month of my 21 months of travelling!
I meet some of the most amazing people in my tour group that I have now meet up with again in different countries to continue to travel with and I know that these people will be life long friends!
I had one driver for the main portion of my travels with Stray Ricky and his trainee Horse and they were both amazing and without them the trip would not of been the same. Both very knowledgable great guys, that knew how to make everyone feel welcome and able to make the best out of any situation, both of which had travelled themselves so they know what its like in our/shoes.
I feel that Stray bought us to everywhere that I would of wanted to go, and that I did see the best of New Zealand, I fell in love with this country while travelling with Stray and would more there in a second!
The only reason I am scoring stray a 9/10 and not perfect is well because nothing is perfect, I met some other drivers that were not amazing but still good, and the online booking system was a bit annoying since they were in a middle of a changing over between passes but overall AMAZING!!! I think a 9/10 score is encouragement for them to think of some way to be better and I hope they take this as a challenge!!
I would highly recommend stray and I have to many travellers I have met. It is a great company and a great group of people - very friendly.
I look forward to Stray Laos when I get there... :)
Thanks Pepper for your great comments, we do take your 9/10 as a challenge and we're working on improving our reservations system as we speak.
Have a fantastic time on Stray Laos!
I had one month in new zealand, and with the 'max pass' i saw the best of new zealand and had an amazing time!!
i had three drivers over the course of the month, and all 3 were amazing! especially the last driver, who i had for the majority of my trip. they were all so helpful (my last driver even dropped me off at the airport to make my flight!!), and really knew alot about where they were going and the culture of new zealand (and where to drink etc). i met so many amazing people and the stray group really felt like family!
the only reason i havent put the rating as 10, is because i was caught up in the switchover of timetables, but like i said earlier, my driver dropped me off at the airport to ensure i didnt miss my flight!
i will never forget my time with stray and will be definatley reccomending to everyone!!
I have rather mixed feelings about my experience with Stray.
But the positive first: My co-travellers were nice. I have my favourite bus driver. :D He was really cool. And the other drivers were not bad either.
When I booked my Stray Maximus Pass, I did so, because I liked the System of hopping on and of everywhere.
There are a few stops i really liked. For example Rangitata (you should definitivly keep) and Marahau.
But I agree to Boogie, when you cutted out Dunedin. It is the student city, so interesting for young people, that travel with Stray and the architecture is beautiful. - You answerd they could take a express bus to Dunedin. Yes. But that is not the point, right? Traveller like us buy the Stray Pass also because (!) they want to keep an overview over their budget and not have to buy every trip seperetly!
If you want an advice, I d take Makarora out and Wanaka in instead. Wanaka is worth more than a lunch stop, I think.
The Dunedin-thing was still acceptable somehow.
A problem Stray should really find a solution for is this: Too less busses for too many travellers! The high season for travelling started this year apparantly earlier. I fully understand that re-travellers get "second priority". But nevertheless, when I am told three times in row, I could earliest hop on next week, I believe you really should introduce extra busses! People payed for that. I heard my story from fellow Stray travellers, too. Anyway you have to assimilate to the timetables, which makes you expect you can go, when you want.
Well, I started in the South, so I hope the Northisland trip now will run more smoothly for me. (I m first-traveller now ;)) After heaps of neccessery Intercity trips...I m ready to give Stray a second chance on the Northisland now.
Let s see how it s going to be...
Im an English guy, 30, with no experience of New Zealand only 5 months travelling experience prior to Stray. I did the full Maximus pass including the Northland part of New Zealand. I had a great time. The drivers are friendly, punctual and good communicators. They treat you gently on the early morning, create a good vibe amongst the passengers (who are 85% 20 - 30). Plenty of tourist info and organisational info to make sure you stay on top of buying food at the right times and booking trips in advance, plus helping you decide where to go rafting for example (their are two options - i waited for the south island based on their advice). A really plesent way to see most of New Zealand with 20 or 30 new friends - most of whom were like minded and happy to be travelling one of the best countries on earth for this type of trip. If a friend asked for my advice and said they only had one month to go somewhere - id have no hesitation to say, go to New Zealand and do it with Stray. They put the enjoyment in and take the hassle out of it all! Reason it's not a 10 out of 10? Well, they don't go to the moon :-) and also their was a minor problem with the changing from Winter to Summer programmes which I and others felt was not communicated effectively. Make sure you confirm the route and timings when you book. No dramas though! If your unsure as to how to get the best out of New Zealand - let the Stray bus take the strain and stop your little head spinning!
I was on a working holiday VISA and went on the "Peter Pass" as I had never seen the North Island before. Though I was awful at some of the experiences (for e.g. Surfing: I'm from Scotland!) it was one of the best times of my life. The north Island was beautiful, my camera also had a great time! The drivers were very friendly, and made everyone on the bus at ease. We mingled well and my experiences wouldn't have been the same alone. The only reason my score was not a 10/10 was because I feel that some of the more expensive options on the trip were bigged up by the drivers, they definetly knew what they were doing! Some of the less expensive or even the free options were always deemed the least exciting and the most expensive the most value. For someone strapped for cash it wasn't so good when everyone else is enjoying fantastic experiences (by spending the most money) and if you don't want to spend so much your left to do (what could sometimes have been an equally fun option) on your own. The discounts and other options provided by the stray bus were great though and it was definetly something I would do again... maybe a little more money-wise :)
I have mixed feelings about Stray since doing one of their tours. I travelled with them for 10 weeks hopping on and off. My main problem with them is that after I bought my pass they cut out quite a large proportion of the Southern Island. I actually bought the pass on the strength of the route alone so was understandably quite angry. Stray know all the legal loop holes though so the consumer has no recourse. Apart from that pretty big problem I'd say they were ok, some drivers did quite a lot of stop offs and some didn't - so going on Intercity would have been quite similar! The staff at the office who book the transport legs (if online shows no availability then call because they probably do!) and the drivers are helpful and polite. If you use Stray then get them to check and double check the route you are paying a lot of money for! The age of the passengers was between 18-40, with generally more in mid to late 20's.
Thank you for your feedback, we do take it on board. Just to clarify one point, for our new summer route, while we did take out one overnight stop on the route (Dunedin - that you can get to on normal express buses), we added in some amazing more unique overnight stops i.e. Whakahoro wilderness station in the central North Island, Hahei in the Coromandel, Mt Cook and Rangitata in the South Island (all which you can't get to on an express bus). Every season we take changing the route extremely seriously and we pride ourselves on not settling for average but continually improving our product and looking for more unique, off the beaten track destinations. Unfortunately some customers like you, who purchase a pass in between seasons may see a few changes and we do sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this would have caused you. We do know that in the long run our changes will be better for Stray customers and reinforce our further off the beaten track position.
All drivers should be providing a consistent service so if you could provide more information on the drivers who you thought weren't up to standard we would really appreciate it - ideally if you could email with your full name, which pass you did on which dates, and the drivers names to email@example.com, it would be awesome.
Thanks again for your comments, we hope that either way you got to enjoy your trip in New Zealand,
Kindest regards and all the best for Christmas and New Years,
I was on the working holiday visa and did the max pass in three different goes. I actually ended up with the same driver for my first and second trip - and he is amazing! all of the drivers were so helpful, knowledgeable and had a great sense of humor even when dealing with difficult people! I looked at other passes and they were all about the same price, except Stray had a great discount on the pass when I got started. I have made friends for life!
The support staff at stray was always super helpful and so good about getting back to you! If I couldn't get the web site to work all I had to do was e-mail or call them and someone had it fixed within 12 hours!
This is definitely a great way to see the beautiful country of NZ! My friend came over for 7 days and we did the Southern Man and she was SO impressed with Stray! there wasn't a better way to see everything we did in the short time she was here.
I would recommend Stray to anyone and everyone from all ages and backgrounds!
Great way to travel alone! Met lots of awesome people and saw things I would've have otherwise known about. Would recommend to any age traveler, whether alone or traveling in a pair.
My experience was in Northland, staying in Paihia. It was a fun spot to spend a week.
Where to start?...
My Stray experience began in February 2010 when I signed up to travel around New Zealand on their distinctive orange buses. It was one of the best decisions that I have made.
The buses were clean and comfortable, the drivers were fun and knowledgeable and the fellow travellers on the bus were awesome - I made some friends for life while traveling with Stray.
I am returning to New Zealand in 2012 and I rate Stray so highly that the first thing that I booked for that trip was my Stray pass. I know the kind of service that I will get, and had no hesitation booking with them for a second stint.
But what adds to Stray's excellence in my opinion, is the fantastic customer service that they offer. When booking this second trip, I had a few random queires that I wanted answers to. I fired off an email and expected a resonse in a few days. However, I received a response within minutes, asking probing questions to ensure that my queries were answered to their fullest. The person I was emailing established a rapport with me and went out of his way to ensure that I had sufficient information. It is very rare that you experience customer service as good as this.
I cannot recommend Stray highly enough. I look forward to traveling with them again in 2012.
I travelled up to Bay of Islands and Cape Reinga from Auckland with Lucky - one of the most beautiful places I have visited on my round the world trip complete with amazing driver! Thanks Lucky! Also met great like minded people - not wanting to party every night but up for a few drinks if the time is right!!
Stray free one day city tour Auckland - great introduction to Stray, would recommend it.
I also hired a stray SPACESHIP in the South Island - awesome vehicle for a road trip, summer or winter!
I simply loved Stray and the whole Crew. These guys are simply wicked and made my time on the other end of the world really special.
I came as an Intern through Intern NZ and they recommended Stray for travelling and I am recommending that to you now!
Go for travels with Stray and you have a memorable time, meeting people from all over the world, seeing the best spots and having heaps of fun!
It was awsum as :)
hi i went on the stray tour back in june and it was the best trip i ever took in my life. i am on a years working holiday visa and still have to do the south island and the top half of the north island and i am really looking forward to doing it. the fun on the bus was great we had a class driver called scratch and the people on the bus were brill time. Scratch was the best driving i had on any trips i have taken. when its time for me to go to the other places i have not being to it will be stray i will be doing them with. i am hoping to have the same driver as well. it was money well spend in nz so far so i just cannot wait till its time 2 go on stray again
it was sweet as...
I would like to recommend Nana from Stray as the best tour guide/driver/PA in the world. From start to finish, he was informative, entertaining, patient and took us off the beaten track to some of the most beautiful spots. I think you would find it hard to find another driver like this as as well as being genuine, he has a real interest in the tour and the people. Was sad to leave his bus and I hope you can give him a pay rise! Viva Nana!
Access savings worth hundreds of $$ on Top Ranked NZ Accommodation and Activities for just $1 per day.
I had a lot of fun on the Stray bus! Some drivers were not the best, but generally it was very good. I have no regrets what so ever about choosing to travel with stray.It might just be a little bit more pricey then the alternatives, but it is worth it.
I decided to do the Stray bus tour when I landed in NZ because I liked the info I had been given from the stray shop of Fort Street.
My first bus driver was awesome, she gave us so much information about NZ and areas we were passing.
It was great being on the stary and not having to worry about accommodation and always having the option of dorms, doubles etc.
The people I met on the bus were fantastic and I really have made some friends for life.
I found all the drivers I had were amazing at their job and local knowledge. They helped me so much eps when I left a jacket in one of the hostles and another driver picked it up and got it back to me.
It was good value, I really did everything I wanted to do in NZ and more through stray and saw some really spectacular views.
I will reccomend stray to other people traveling alone or in groups, and I shall be doing Stray in Thailand.
Thank you stray for making my stay in NZ more that awesome, keep up the good work :D
The main reason I chose Stray was that I wanted a care-free way to travel NZ and to meet other likeminded people. My belief was (and still is) there are 3 main 'hop on hop off bus companies' and they are fairly easily summed up as
Kiwi Experience - Gapyear kids drinking a lot and trying to sleep with each other (mainly British).
Magic - A quieter, mainly older crowd (different nationalities).
Stray - Mid twenties average, a nice balance (different nationalities).
I found a couple of ways to get the most out of my experience and hope this would help others.
Book in advance - Some routes are especially busy, especially in high season. I found booking a place on the bus a few days in advance was the only way to guarantee a seat on a couple of occasions.
You don't have to spend money - Tours are offered on most days and although they all look great and will be discounted it's easy to get carried away. I found myself saving money to do the tours I really wanted and taking time off to relax, go for a walk, catch up on emails on other days.
I hope this helps
We were the oldies on the bus (we are 48 and 50), but even so we had a great time. It was so well organized and there were lots of stops for photos, walks, activities etc. It was so relaxing and fun on the bus. We're so glad we didn't hire a car and drive. And New Zealand is just so beautiful and stunning. It was a great belated honeymoon!
First, the good:
Drivers were generally very knowledgable and gave us good insight as to what was worth the investment/time
It's good to have the comfort of first night's accomodation guarantee
Having various options, rather than doing everything as a group, made for an enjoyable experience.
Now the "needs improvement":
It would be nice if Stray would consider non-party hostels for participants who'd rather have a full night's sleep than get loud and drunk.
Understandably, drivers would like to have as hassle-less an end of day as possible, but for the sake of security, it would be nice if they'd be willing to hear travel concerns even after everyone has checked into the hostel. They should also take a more active role in security.
The online bus registration system is confusing to follow and could be simplified.
Though Stray participants recieve "discounts" on various activities, there have been cases where those staying in certain hostels or holding a YHA card have found better bargains.
Overall, if you'd like the comfort of travelling around NZ without worrying about car rental, Stray is a decent option.
Thanks Irisheyes, we always appreciate any constructive feedback. We're not sure what you mean about 'taking more of an active role in security' - we hope all our customers feel safe while travelling on Stray and take the normal travel precautions while off the bus and staying with the group. If you could please email us directly with more specific details on this - firstname.lastname@example.org so we can follow this up, it would be great. We always offer a choice of hostels when we can, however in busy periods to guarantee you get a bed (and in places off the beaten track) the choice can be limited. If you could also mention which hostels you found too noisy in your email we'd really appreciate it as this is something we can take up with the individual hostels (we too appreciate the value of a good night's sleep, especially if you have a big day of adventure ahead of you!)
We currently have the best online reservation system in the market and unfortunately by nature of the hop-on hop-off system it is quite complicated. You are right though, it could definitely be more user-friendly. Our staff are currently working very hard on new ways to make it easier for people to use.
Thanks again for your comments,
The basics: this is a backpacker bus for those in their early 20s to late 30s interested in seeing the amazing Kiwi countryside, meet people, have fun, and occasionally go out and party.
I've had such a great time in the two weeks I toured South Island with Stray. It was a very different experience for me at first as I never backpacked before in my life, but it grew on me so much that I was really sad to leave my newly made friends and the amazing experiences of my journey with Stray.
The bus drivers are a mixed lot from the sweet to the crazy (in a good way) to the adventurous. I really enjoyed getting to know them and my fellow travelers. This was one of the best parts of my trip as I was able to share the breathtaking Kiwi views with people who really appreciated it as much as I did. The bus drivers are not there to just control the steering wheel but to help make the backpackers' experience something beyond a regular tour bus.
The accommodations the drivers arranged were basic but well priced and clean. Some were better than others, but that mostly depended on the size of the town and the availability of accommodations. It is on a first-come, first-serve basis, but overall I had few complaints about the lodging. The activities at a discount were an incentive to me to participate in more than I originally planned.
As with anything else, there is always room for improvement, so my one recommendation to Stray is to cultivate an even more customer-service oriented culture among the drivers by having them be responsive to the needs of their customers even on their days off. I noticed that one of the drivers would not even hear about our tour-related questions on days they were "off". I think that with a job like this, there really are no days "off" while you're on a route.
Overall, I had a great time and would recommend Stray to friends and family.
Does not take you 'off the beaten track' but only to tourist areas, no historical or educated information, way too expensive.
We believe we do take you off the beaten track - Whakahoro, Maketu, Mt Cook, Gunn's Camp, Stewart Island to name just a few places. Our drivers also provide historical, cultural and fun facts on each area. If you did not find this on your Stray trip, can you please let us know who your drivers were and which passes you did so we can follow it up. Please email email@example.com with your name, when you travelled and who your drivers were.
Thank you for your comment.
Had an amazing time on the Stray bus! Met some great people and felt welcome in the bus group.
Stray took us to some great places and I am really happy with the experience that I had. There was a variety of activities to choose from and although I would not describe myself as 'adventurous' there was always something for me to be involved in.
I do not regret choosing Stray to explore New Zealand but there were a few things I would point out to be improved:
*The online booking system is not easy... it could be made better.
*The costs of the activities and accommodation added up quickly and I ended up spending more money than expected - i think guideline costs should be specified on the Stray website. It just would have made budgeting easier.
Overall, I was happy - but I don't know if thats because we had a great bus driver who gave us the opportunity to do group meals and took us to places that were off schedule :p I heard that there are certain bus drivers that aren't quite as 'cool' - but if that happens I guess you have the chance to hop off and join another bus!
Really enjoying the stray bus. Tis sociable and get to see lots of different sights. Highly recommend it.
Some places eg Hahei was very rushed - we only had 45 mins at Hot Water Beach. But you have the option of staying at places longer if you want. I would advise people to book their bus throughout trip to avoid getting stuck in places due to full buses.
It is good but we have had a problem with booking on the bus.
Good, but not very easy to book the bus online all the time!! The timetable is not always respected.
Takes you to nice places, great hostels and do nice activities. However, they are not as flexible as they claim to be. Buses get booked out and you cannot hop on and off as advertised, not all 'free' activities are being carried out. Group sizes are bigger than they claim.
Good way to get to the main sights on both islands and meet fellow travellers.
Stray was an amazing way to travel around New Zealand. I travelled with my boyfriend on the max pass around the north and the south island for 2 months. We did not plan to use stray prior to our 10 month trip around Asia and Australasia but we just fell into booking it randomly and it was the best thing we did, it was our favourite part of our whole trip.
Stray can sometimes offer great discounts on some passes which is worth looking out for. We had such a wonderful bus driver called Metro who informed us on all the great discounted adventures available to us and on all the locations that he took us to in between stops, including natural hot springs, sunny beaches, seal watching etc. On the first night he cooked a BBQ for all of us and here I met friends for life. We all had so much fun that no one wanted to leave the bus at any stops so we all travelled around together until we had to say good bye at Queenstown.
If you decide to stay on the bus with out taking a break at any stops you still see such a lot of the country however I would recommend breaks in the areas you really want to explore. The bus can be quite fast paced as time fly’s when you are having fun.
I would definitely recommend stray to anyone from any country or age, our group was so mixed and it was not a party bus like I think some other bus companies claim to be, it was very educational and we all respected each other and had the time of our life. Thank you for the memories. x
I went on Stray to have a great New Zealand experiance however I would have to say that there were a couple of things that I noticed about it. First the good. It was awesome not to have to think about where I was going next and if there would be room for me at the next destination that we would be going to. It was great that we had the choice of making our own food or eating out and that there were deal with everything that we did as a group. The people on my bus were awesome, and even though I think I was one of the older ones it did not really seem to matter. I loved the places we went to and really enjoyed every place that we visited. I did notice that the discounts that were offered were the same as any other tour group and that the "special rates" were really not that special...You could get the same rates booking events throught the hostels themselfs or so it seemed. The drivers that I had were pretty good however they were new to the route or the area and the amount of information they held on somethings were minimal. There was a lot of times the pricing on the sheets from stray were way off the actual prices for the activities at hand. I never really knew how much I was going to pay for something until I got there.
Stray was great! Super easy to make new friends and travel buddies. The drivers were friendly and had useful bits to say while we traveled. And it was very convenient being able to go between places to see on my own time.
By booking places to stay, and offering discounts on all sorts of activities, Stray took what little hassle remained from touring the country and threw it right out the window.
I travelled with Stray during August on the North Island and South Island. My experience was amazing, the people I meet on bus where great and range from all different ages, countries and cultures.
What made the experience was the drivers and the knowledge they had. We stayed in some great hostels and some not so great (but thats half the fun). The activities that Stray organised where top and we got some brillant discounts.
I must say our driver we had in tne North Island was great - Natalie had great knowledge of NZ, good personality, great fun and made dinner for whole bus.
Stray - thanks for a great experence
Great way to travel around NZ, especially if your a single traveller. The drivers are all great-really friendly and informative and stop at random points of interest on route.
Also such a stress- free way of travelling as they organise all your hostels etc for you xxx
When I arrived in NZ i didnt intend on travelling around on a tour bus, but as I was travelling on my own, and wanted to see so much of the south island in so little time, Stray seemed like the best option. I did the south island and the deep south, and it was UNREAL. I had so much fun, and saw so many amazing things that I am planning my return trip to NZ. The two drivers that i had were Rob and Trouble, and they were so helpful and informative, we stopped off at so many different places. I highly recommend this company for travellers especially those you are travelling oin your own, as it's a great way of meeting people. Do the Burt pass...Stewart Island and a night in Gunns Camp is a must...it blew me away.
Good for people that want to travel in a group and don't want to arrange hostels / tours etc... It's a nice way to travel but for more experienced solo backpackers, I would definitely not recommend.
Great way to travel, lets you enjoy things without constantly having to figure out your plans. Especially great if traveling alone or don't have solid plans ahead of time. However, their online booking system needed major help and if I had not gotten a great discount because of the off season, I would have found it very expensive.
Thanks for your feedback, we're glad you enjoyed your time on Stray!
We're always trying to improve our online booking system and we need to have customers book online to ensure manifests are correct. If you could provide us with some specific information on any problems you had with it we'd really appreciate it! Probably best if you email us directly firstname.lastname@example.org if you are able to take the time
Thanks once again, we hope you enjoy the rest of your travels,
Good atmosphere, good spot, friendly rates.
Excellent way of meeting people if a lone traveller. Also excellent discounts, both online and on the bus. However, poor website and marketing makes online booking difficult.
It's great you enjoyed your Stray trip, we're sorry you found booking online difficult though. We're always trying to improve our booking system and ease of use so if you could email us email@example.com with more specific feedback we'll pass it on to the reservations system company so they can see if there's any solutions.
Thanks for your comment, we really appreciate the feedback.
Better than kiwi experience! People how want to see New Zealand, not drive it!
I was 22 when I did it and thought that I was a little to mature for the kiwi bus experience however I ended up a few times with half of my fellow passengers over the age of 45... Old folks aren't bad cept when they look at you funny every time you do something... Yea the drivers are great, but ITS NOT about them. They never pressured anyone into anything which was nice, and if you didnt want to you didnt have to. BUT I feel the best way to really see NZ would be by naked bus or rent a car. You really get a feel for the country that way more, and its not that hard to navigate. Also, the people on the busses(4) were almost always EXTREMELY cliquely, felt like high school. Did meet 3 future friends though.
Thanks for your feedback, we're sorry if you had issues with people's ages and/or meeting people - the average age of Stray travellers is 27 so we get a real mix of people from 18 - 60!
Usually the fact that you get to meet such a range of people and make friends is one of our highest rating features so perhaps you just had bad luck in this instance. If you do have any issues with the group you do have the option to hop off that bus and get on the next bus.
If you did travel with an express bus or rental car you wouldn't have access to a lot of places that we stay at and you'd need to be a lot more organised in peak season as accommodation and activities often get fully booked so if you just turned up you'd miss out, they hold us allocations so we can guarantee you a bed in all of our night stop and the best access to activities.
Thanks again for your feedback though, we hope you enjoyed the rest of your travels in NZ,
Nice drivers so far but booking system on website is slightly confusing - could be improved. But overall really good!
(Bus tour Coromandel 3 nights)
Cheaper than many though some buses not aircon. Drivers are fun + good looks but have used hand held mobiles whilst driving :-(
Takes passengers some time, nice viewing/stopoff places
Thanks for your feedback, we're glad you enjoyed your Stray trip. We were unhappy to read about drivers using hand-held mobiles while driving, this is definitely not acceptable and they do all have hands-free devices (and are basically not to speak on the phone while driving unless absolutely necessary).
Thanks again for your comment, we will follow it up. All the best for the rest of your travels.
Depends a lot on what bus driver you get. A lot of new drivers in Januarygot lost sometimes! Cost more than Kiwi; in generala bit less rowdy but was disappointing, they still stay the same hostels as Kiwi and they advertise small buses but mostly big buses. Had really good time though.
most of the drivers were very nice and helpful. booking on the internet was difficult sometimes very nice fellow travellers good activities we had troubles getting onto our first bus but the drivers/guides found solution.
excellent, except from this internet booking system.
A lot of fun and really flexible. The online system sucks though.
Max Van der Zalm
Awesome flexible company. Besides that, its just heaps of fun people.
Jens van Evp
Awesome drivers, awesome people. Takes you exactly where you want to go, when you want to go.
Exceptional value for money. Hop on and hop off whenever you like.
I dont like all the McDonalds stops or something like that. Sometimes the bus comes to late (more than an hour). The internet booking is good then always trys to help if you have problems with booking.
It's a slow transport because, you're doing photo-stops and stuff all the time. It's more a party-bus that takes you to EVERY expensive place in a short time. If you want to party and spend a lot of money, choose stray - otherwise you'd better stay away from that bus-company.
I Love Stray!
Great inventory, nice drivers, fantastic people. Great to get off the beaten track.
Great, friendly, helpful tour - great drivers best stops
Excellent drivers, very knowledgeable
Great fun, Knowledgeable, convenient & good value for money
The service is good but they didn't tell us there would not be buses everyday in Winter which is a little annoying
When you travel around with Stray, you can see a lot for free. The hostels are good (and cheaper). But if you want to stay longer in one place, you don't really belong to the group as most people stay as short as possible.
Don't do that! Friendly crew but a horrible way of travelling.
Sorry to see your review. Did you actually travel on Stray? It would be great if you could be more specific on why you don't like Stray? We get 98% customer satisfaction usually and are not sure why you didn't enjoy yourself if you did go on our bus? (there are so many factors - buses, activities, walks, accommodation, locations, groups, timetables, reservations...) If you could please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any complaints or suggestions, we'd appreciate it so we can follow it up.
Had a fantastic time on Stray! I travelled both the south and north island on this bus. I met great people and the drivers were great banter too. Would definitely recommend!
The buses and drivers are amazing. Thx to all!
Really nice, approachable driver, flexibility to do what you want. Attracts friendly people who are easy to get on with.
Had a great experience travelling around the North Island with Stray! Met a lot of great people fro all over the world, saw stuff that I definately wouldn't have seen without stray and Gollum was a funny driver!
Also used the possibility to 'hop off' at one stop and get back on the bus later and had a little problem with the website but the support fixed it quickly after a short email from me, thanks!
Had the most amazing time thanks to Stray. The small bus size meant that our group bonded right from day one and our bus driver, Nat, was possibly the coolest lady I have ever met. In general the drivers are informative and friendly without being patronising for anyone worried it will feel like a school trip.
Stray takes you to some awesome unusual accomadation that you wont get on Kiwi Exp, such as the Raglan surf school lodge and the amazing log cabins down at Gunns Camp on the South Island.
There are plenty of opportunities to try things you wouldn't normally do and the Stray atmosphere is encouraging but not compulsary so you dont feel forced to do everything.
All in all I think Stray is a great mix of adventure, friendship and sightseeing and perfect for those old enough to have gotten over the need to drink all day/night but are still keen to enjoy themselves.
….arrived in Auckland with no itinerary and 15 min worth of googling tour companies under my belt, I wandered into the Stray office….1/2 hr later and a cuppa later had a Jill pass in my hot little hands. Who would have known that was the best decision I was to make during my time in NZ. Had the best time. I got on and off 3 times on a whim as nothing was planned, if I liked somewhere I stayed, if not I moved on and had no troubles with bookings. Even when the web site wouldn’t let me change dates I just emailed the Stray and they changed them. Not that I needed to have bothered as our driver was so cool and casual and just said “don’t worry about it there’s room on the bus I’ll call them and let them know you are with me” Thanks Mambo you rock..!! Same with Cathy when I got on her bus and I was not on her list I just showed my Stray card and no probs. Had between 15 – 20 peeps on each bus of all ages and nationalities and met a heap of like minded travellers on my journey, ie. Enjoyed adventure and activities during the day and a cold beer in the evening and not out to get wasted every night and sleep all day. As a single (more mature in years, not in heart) traveler I can think of no better way to get around and see NZ, cool peeps, cool drivers and a great atmosphere would recommend it to anyone. (….well not everyone, if you want to get p!ssed every night and shag the first thing you see bu*gger off and go travel with some other company you’ll only annoy the rest of us on Stray)
…. and to my first driver, Honey, thanks dude had a blast and sorry about the Kiwi jokes ;-)
ps Honey, Crowded House ARE Australian..!!
Hop on and off is a nice idea and works well, but it is not only transport, it is a 'must party on the bus' with the driver being the cheerleader. Probably appealing to some but I would prefer to be left in peace on the bus.
The best tour company I have used! The people are so friendly and like minded. The hop on, hop system is an excellent idea - you meet so many people and get to see so many things. Best guides too - Thanks Nat!
Moved from the Magic bus to Stray after various recommendations - and it was well worth it! Great drivers, who keep you entertained on the long journeys and know great places to visit which other bus tours drive through. Provided a great New Zealand experience.
excellent drivers and excellent all round trip, did the south island and had the best time ever! nice to have groups with all different age groups on the bus, got taken to excellent places and stayed in very good hostels which stray booked up and it really was a trip where you could relax and let stray do the work as they had lots of activities already planned which you could sign up for!!! would tell everyone to do this bus trip!!!
They say its a small bus but they put you in a big one.
It was difficult to hope on/off without booking these options in advance. They are great company if you don't want flexibility.
Good + efficent - older crowd than kiwi experience. Good way to travel solo.
Very enjoyable way to see NZ! Hope off where-ever you like. Lots of fellow travellers makes for a great experience.
Stops at loads of places, small and large.
This was possibly one of the best tours i have ever done. i originally debated booking Kiwi experience but was warned it had very much an 18-30s feel...after encountering them on the road i am SO glad i chose Stray! I had 2 awesome drivers, a great selection of passengers from all natioanalities aged from 20s to 35s, all great fun and up for a laugh and unlunke Kiwi were able to have an awesome time without the need to drink copious amounts every night and notch up the bedposts on the way ! we saw so many beautiful places and it was the perfect balance of partying and drinking with sightseeing and 'off the beaten track;. the only reason they dont get 10/10 is that the computer system for booking was slightly difficult but my driver was more than happy to help us out! WE love you Mambo!
I chose Stray after numerous recommendations from friends and travel buddies. I found them to be professional, hard working and loadsa fun. I did have one issue though. The company recently took over Adventure Tours NZ. These guys followed our itinerary on the south island quite a lot. It annoyed me since we were supposed to be 'off the beaten track'.
I did enjoy my stray experience (did the everywhere pass) though. Brilliant fun!
Thanks for your feedback Alan, it's duly noted and we'll be looking at alternative itineraries for the different companies next summer! Glad you enjoyed yourself though! Cheers, Stray!
Good drivers, good route. Booking online not the easiest.
Their computer system for booking is useless, O.K for proposed activities.
I love it because it's less stress, young people, you are sure to get accommodation for the 1sr night BUT not the others and buses are too full.
I found Stray buses to be a very mixed experience. On the positive side I met a lot of interesting people and had some great times. Most of the drivers were great about providing information and taking us to fun and/or beautiful places. Baggins and Cougar come to mind as being exceptional drivers.
Where I feel Stray fell short was in delivering on their sales pitch of being a different kind of bus company that accomodates independent travelers well. On the South Island my partner and I went a bit out of Stray's usual itinerary so that we could work in Blenhiem. This completely ruined our ability to use Stray's online booking system (which they will insist you use at significant cost to yourself if you don't book your trip in one or two internet sessions). Customer Service was inable to fix our internet booking problems for two months which was quite annoying considering our travel every 3-5 day schedule.
All in all, the buses and drivers were good but everything else about the company was questionable. If you are travelling around NZ and looking for flexible travel arrangements I would recommend Intercity, renting/buying a car, or hitching (because in most places, it is easy and you meet great people).
We chose the Arthur’s Pass to do all of the South and the bottom of the North. We would love to go back and do the top of the North! Our driver was Nana for the entire trip and he was a very professional guide and safe driver who showed us the jewels of NZ and gave us plenty of information about the sites we were seeing. He was always on time, remembered all his customers usually by name and was helpful in booking accommodation, tours and legs of the bus. Nana went out of his way to make sure every passenger was organised with what they wanted to do and experience - even when we had observed other travellers had left their bookings to the last minute! He was a very calm and experienced guide. I was very impressed with the professionalism of Stray and the opportunity to see so much of NZ - I recommend Stray if you are travelling onto NZ. I originally chose Stray because to us it was very comprehensive of NZ and seemed to be the only company to venture to the far south of the South Island and allow us to travel over to Stewart Island. Stewart Island proved to be one of our most favourite places we did a tour of the Patterson Inlet and Ulva Island seeing some very rare NZ birds and vegetation. Stray allowed us the time to get off and do many activities along the way. By being driven everywhere it gives you the opportunity to see all the sites out of the windows, hear the information from the driver, doze off when you are tired and arrive feeling refreshed to do the next activity that awaits you. I was very amazed with NZ it was more beautiful than I had imagined.
Friendly Backpacker Travel
Cairns QLD Australia
The drivers were very friendly and it was great opportunity to meet new friends. At some points there were no real options for free activities but overall I enjoyed it very much.
A really fun and easy way to see most of New Zealand. Met cool people and had a good time. Thanks Stray!
Funny 2 professional coach drivers, get lots of information. Long bus drives were a bit annoying.
Great trip, very informative and entertaining drivers and a good variety of fellow travellers of different age & nationality. No party bus! Choice! Best option if you travel on your own.
Stray is the perfect way to see NZ if you are travelling on your own and want to meet cool people and see loads.
Always friendly staff, good fun.
Good in low season. Depends on guide and group members. Less free stops than they say but well organised.
It was a really good tour for me. I have seen beauteful places and meet great people. I enjoined the time with Stray and I will do it again
Very good busdriver and we have a lot of activities done. Sometimes it was too busy and the day was strictly planned.
The Stray experience was AWESOME!!! The drivers that I had were friendly, and knowledgeable, and always up for a laugh with the people on their bus. Stray took me to places that I probably would not have gone to, and I would recommend them to anyone wanting to see the sights whilst having a good time :D
Great company, great driver!
Expensive. Jaded tour drivers. Scary driving and poor value for $$
Thanks for your feedback, we take it seriously as it is very out of the ordinary - if you can please email us email@example.com with specific details of your drivers and any issues you had, we'd appreciate it.
Great destinations and off the beaten track philosophy. Some drivers need an attitude adjustment while others are choice!
They gave us an amazing journey around New Zealand but let us down with poor service right at the end.
In the south, the buses do not go every day. Good drivers, and good activity opportunities. They offer good discounts on tours.
Some drivers put in more effort than others. They don't have a freephone number, but pick up anywhere. The Everywhere pass is excellent, it covers lots of places.
Sometimes being off the beaten track limits your choice. Walking is lovely but...
It was the easiest way to get out of Auckland at the time! It's alright. Though it totally depends on the bus driver you've got.
Very good. Except for the comfort of the bus, the company is very good. More food stops please!
Not so good. Bus was always late to pick us up, so we wait a lot. Sometimes got told the wrong time.
Great company to see NZ with. The drivers are awesome.
Great company in NZ. Lot's of freedom and opportunities.
We don't have so much time so it is easy, but our bus has a really large group of 30 people which is a bit too big.
Could've been more helpful in alternative accommodation. Changed route without advising us.
Great route and ambiance. Bus is not very good (no air con).
Only my second day, but it's all good.
Prices are reasonable, friendly staff. One bus broke down, the new one doesn't have such good air conditioning.
A bit disappointing! Too much like being in school, too busy with the bus.
One good driver, not so good.
Current driver is good, some of them are better than others.
First driver was unenthusiastic, really quiet - maybe tired. Otherwise fine. Have only been on it for three days.
East Cape. Was over the new year and so included a Rhythm and Vines ticket. Best time in NZ.
Not organised, but cool guides and good activities.
Excellent hop on hop off bus service. Driver guides you through off track sites
Quite well organised and two free activities included. Sand boarding and Dolphin watching. Brilliant way to get around and to mix with other people.
Just Northland Stray service - really nice and friendly. Small bus is nice.
Bus tour of Auckland city.
A little disorganised... but good drivers!
Personally wouldn't do it again, it's great for people without much travel experience and much time. Don't forget you can hop off! They are a good company though.
Booking system needs work!!
Nice company to tor with. But it's dependable on driver how much info you get and where s/he goes. Nice people on board.