7 May 2019

Why I love travelling New Zealand with Stray as a solo backpacker

I've had the pleasure of travelling with Stray twice now, New Zealand's award-winning guided hop-on-hop-off bus network for adventurous travellers.
Last year I discovered the South Island with their Ron pass and this year I explored more of the North with the Jonah pass, and both trips were unforgettable experiences.

I can't rave about Stray enough, they are the ultimate way to travel New Zealand, especially as a solo backpacker. Read on for my top reasons why!

Oh, The Places You'll Go

If you close your eyes and imagine New Zealand, what do you see? If it's pristine beaches, rolling green hills dotted with sheep, snow-capped mountains, perfect mirror-lakes, glaciers, geysers, fiords and rainforests, then you won't be disappointed. You get to see all of this and so much more with Stray, they really do take you everywhere!

Depending on what freestyle pass you choose, (I would recommend the Max pass so you can go all over!), you have an awesome network of routes planned out that take you to so many #NZMustDo hotspots as well as truly special Strademark places that are further off the beaten track. 

With Stray, you get the ultimate New Zealand tour with a great balance of city life, getting stuck into nature and experiencing the local culture.

In the North Island, my favourite places were Paihia right up the top, Hahei in the Coromandel, and Blue Duck Station, a working eco-farm. In the South Island, I loved Fiordland (and staying off the grid at Gunn's Camp), Stewart Island and Mount Cook.

The Flexibility

Your pass is valid for an entire year and being a hop on hop off style you have the freedom to get on and off wherever you like and stay as long as you want. It's perfect for those who have a working holiday visa, a gap year or have the time to see as much as possible.

If you only have the minimum recommended time to travel your pass, don't fret, the recommended days are plenty of time to see each place and do some awesome activities.

Last year, the flexibility came in super handy for me at Franz Josef. I was determined to do the Glacier Heli-Hike and it was cancelled on me three days in a row (due to bad weather). I loved that I could stay behind and just hop on the next Stray bus coming through whenever I wanted to. (P.S. it was totally worth the wait!).

The Awesome Driver Guides

One of my favourite parts about travelling with Stray are the truly awesome Driver Guides you get.
They are all super knowledgeable and will share local stories, handy information and tips and help you with anything you may need. They are also super fun, easygoing and keen to play and socialise throughout the trip. They make your NZ tour that little bit extra!

Accommodation & Activities

With Stray, booking accommodation and activities has never been easier. It's all done and paid through the handy and easy to use Stray app. Even in peak season, you will always have accommodation and an activity place reserved for you, as long as you book before the cut off time (usually the day before).

Stray has some exclusive and unique accommodation options, including staying steps away from the beach in Hahei, the Maori cultural stop at Lake Aniwhenua, a glimpse into rural life at Blue Duck Station, staying off the grid in Fiordland and under the shadow of New Zealand's highest mountain, Mount Cook.

At each place, there are recommended activities to choose from which you can read information about on the app. Most activities have a special Stray discounted price which is super sweet!

I loved ticking off so many fun bucket list activities on my Stray trips, my favourites being bungy jumping in Queenstown, the Glacier Heli-Hike in Franz Josef, White Water Rafting in Rotorua and surfing in Raglan.

The People You Meet

One of my favourite reasons I love travelling with Stray is whether you're with others or you're a solo traveller (like most people), it is the best way to meet cool, like-minded travellers from all over the world. It doesn't matter how shy or awkward you are, you're going to be included if you want to be! You get to share in this ultimate experience with your new Straymates, make connections and even life-long friends.

The Experience You Get

Most of all, it's the experience and value that you get out of it that is the ultimate reason to travel with Stray. The entire bus tour from north to south is extremely well planned by experts, that want you to have the best time possible in New Zealand. 

I love the guaranteed constant pulling over for the best views and photo opportunities, the thoughtful supermarket stops to make sure you have enough food for the next couple of days (and stick to a budget!), the short hikes to stunning waterfalls - you get so much more out of your New Zealand road trip. 

Best of all, it's a stress-free way to travel. You get to sit back and relax on a comfortable bus while you get shown around and taken to all of these epic places. What could be better? All you have to do is turn up with a heart of adventure and you'll have the time of your life.

I saw so many unbelievably beautiful sights, did the most fun adrenalin-pumping activities, met so many cool people from all over the world and loved the Strademark off the beaten track places we stopped at.

I absolutely loved my travels with Stray and want to do it all over again!

Want to read more? Read all about my Ultimate New Zealand South Island Road Trip with Stray.

Happy Travels,
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  1. This looks like an amazing trip! I really want to visit New Zealand one day. My husband and I have said we may go in a few years when our boys are a bit older to be able to do all of this. We did a hop on hop off bus in Marseille years ago and it was a great way to see the city.

  2. What a fabulous trip. We've travelled to New Zealand twice now and it's a stunning country. I love the idea of the flexible bus pass. It offers such good value for money and without tying you into a specific schedule. I wish they offered these types of pass in more places.

  3. This sounds like a fantastic trip! I've not been to New Zealand yet but it's definitely on my bucket list... particularly as we have family moved there a couple of years ago!

  4. This is an awesome pass to go and discover New Zealand in a relax and adventurous way. I would love to use it to take a trip! I never been to NZ but I would love to visit.

  5. I have never heard of Stray but what a fabulous idea! Definitely something I would love to try one day.

  6. I want to travel here so bad!! It’s on my bucket list for sure, everything there is so beautiful!

  7. Sounds like an amazing memorable vacay! I love traveling solo too and spending time with other solo travelers! I love the views.

  8. Sounds like a great way when you are a solo traveler to be part of a larger group. Looks like you had an amazing time out there.

  9. Last night I was talking with a friend about bucket list trips, and New Zealand was one of them! This is such a great way to travel the country.


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