Why You Should Travel with Stray New Zealand

There are SO many ways to get around in New Zealand. You can rent a car, a campervan, take an Intercity bus, a tour, cycle, or book a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus like Stray New Zealand. Everyone will have opinions on what method of transportation is best. However, it’s important to consider the method that works best for your needs and travel goals. Before I bought my plane ticket to New Zealand, I spent hours agonizing over how I’d get around this gorgeous country and eventually, landed on a sweet as deal from Stray New Zealand.

It was one of the best decisions I made for this trip. And that’s why I’m encouraging you to consider a Hop-On Hop-Off bus for your next trip to NZ

But first…

What is a ‘Hop-On Hop-Off’ Bus?

On a Hop-On Hop-Off bus, travellers have the freedom to hop off the bus whenever they desire based on their pass itinerary. Travellers can hop back on the next available bus anytime they choose. Thus, people have the freedom to explore at their own pace without the time constraints of a scheduled tour. With Stray, travellers have the opportunity to use their bus passes within a year of their first date of use. Which is awesome because this means my Short Moe pass is valid until April 12th NEXT year.

Each bus is equipped with a friendly and knowledgeable Driver Guide responsible for your safety and entertainment on the road. With Stray, the Driver Guides are also responsible for booking your first nights accommodation and desired activities. I’ll dive deeper into this topic below, though!


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Why You Should Travel with Stray New Zealand


Stray NZ - Cathedral Cove

So why do I rave so much about Stray? Does the bus come equipped with dancing elves from the Lord of the Rings or something? Well, not quite – but NZ is pretty magical so you never know. In all seriousness, I’ve spent the last few weeks brainstorming every reason why you should travel with Stray New Zealand based on my own personal experience. And no, I’m not being paid to write this article. This is coming from my heart, soul, and first-hand knowledge.

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Why You Should Travel with Stray New Zealand

1 | Heavily Discounted Bus Passes:

As a solo traveller, finding an affordable transportation method in NZ was one of the hardest parts of planning my trip. But, when I saw a HUGE discount for the Short Moe Pass for $659 NZD, I had to buy it. To me, this was a completely reasonable price to pay for four weeks of travel (and more if I decide to go back within a year!). So I’d highly recommend keeping tabs on the Stray NZ website and look for discounts like the one I got. Paying full price could mean over $1000 in transportation costs; potentially scraping part of your activities budget and if I’m honest – I’d rather do few more bungee jumps rather than spend my money on transportation.

2 | Access to Driver Guides:

I had three Driver Guides during my time with Stray and I have to say: these guys were some of the most energetic, personable, and knowledgeable people I met on my trip (Shoutout to Rhino, Hemmi, & Lightning!). Having access to a Driver Guide for information on accommodation, activities, the amount of time I should dedicate to each stop etc etc. meant I felt significantly less stressed during my travels and could enjoy my time abroad. Also, having a Driver Guide meant I could learn about New Zealand from a local without the time constraints of a scheduled tour. How awesome is that? It was like having my own on-hand local travel agent :).

Why You Should Travel with Stray New Zealand

3 | Flexibility:

One of the best things about a Hop-On Hop-Off bus, is the opportunity to create your own schedule with the flexibility to change it as needed. Stray New Zealand has their own passenger portal you can access and change your travel dates at any time. For example, before arriving in New Zealand, I planned to stay longer in Rotorua, but instead jumped on the bus a day earlier than planned without any issues! Now, if you’re travelling through the summer months, changing plans on a whim like this may be more difficult as the buses and accommodations fill up. So keep that in mind if you’re planning to travel through December to February.

Why You Should Travel With Stray New Zealand

4 | Easily Meet New People (and Locals!):

While I’ve already mentioned how friendly the Driver Guides were, but another great thing about Stray is that you’re immediately shoved into a tiny bus with 20-40 backpackers. After a few days on the road, you rarely feel alone (unless you want to!) and some of these people will even become lifelong friends! I’ve already visited two of the friends I made in NZ in Chicago and the Netherlands. Stray makes it super easy to build connections with people from all over the world through group activities and other fun things along the way. This is one of my favourite parts of group travel!

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Why You Should Travel with Stray New Zealand

5 | Off the Beaten Path Locations:

In this section, I’d like to mention Stray’s dear Hop-On Hop-Off competitor Kiwi Experience. I’ve never travelled with Kiwi Experience, however, their rates were a little cheaper than Stray New Zealand. So buying a Kiwi Experience bus pass crossed my mind a few times before biting the bullet and purchasing my Stray Pass. However, the one thing Stray has over Kiwi Experience is their off the beaten path ‘Strademark’ locations. I am all for off the beaten path travel and these locations ended up being some of my favourite places in New Zealand! So if you’re looking into seeing some of the less explored locations in NZ, I’d highly recommend spending a few extra dollars to travel with Stray.


Overall, travelling with Stray New Zealand was one of the easiest and smoothest experiences I’ve had while travelling. It definitely helped that I had some of the best Driver Guides and met the most amazing and down to earth people that I can still call friends on this trip. My experience wouldn’t have been the same without them and I’ll never regret making the decision to travel with Stray New Zealand!

So if you’re considering a trip to New Zealand and you’re unsure how to get around, check out the Stray New Zealand website and take a look at the various packages offered. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or email one of the Stray representatives on their website!

Why You Should Travel with Stray New Zealand