From 25th December, 2016, our South Island overnight stop in Nelson will change to the picturesque township of Picton nestled on the edge of the Marlborough Sounds.
The new travel days for the hop-on, hop-off circuit after the overnight stop in Mt Cook will be:
- Mt Cook to Christchurch - Previously we stayed overnight in Rangitata. Christchurch will replace Rangitata as our overnight stop after Mt Cook. We've teamed up with All Stars Hostel in Christchurch, a very new hostel that is centrally located, to provide accommodation for the short to mid-term. For anyone wanting to raft at Rangitata, we will still offer this as an option. You will simply get off in Geraldine and the team from Rangitata will pick you up, raft the heck out of you on Grade 5 rapids, dry you off, and drop you to our accommodation in Christchurch.
- Christchurch to Picton - Picton will replace Nelson as overnight stop at the top of the South Island. As Kaikoura is still heavily damaged due to November's earthquake, the northbound Stray bus will express from Christchurch through the scenic Lewis Pass to Picton, arriving in the evening. The accommodation in Picton will be the highly rated Picton Villa.
From Picton, the next travel day will depend on if you are on a National Pass or the Ron or Willy South Island Passes:
National Pass Travellers:
- Picton to Wellington - Those heading to the North Island will have a morning free to explore charming Picton. There are a couple of wonderful short walks that your Driver can recommend. Check-in at the Bluebridge Ferry is 1:00pm for the 2:00pm sailing that will carry you to Wellington for your next overnight stop.
- Free day in Picton - Make the most of a free day in Picton by getting out to enjoy some of the best activities in the area. You have the opportunity to go swimming with dolphins or catch a water taxi to walk a section of the unbelievably beautiful Queen Charlotte Track (highly recommended) in the heart of the Marlborough Sounds.
- Picton to Abel Tasman - You have the morning free to relax before the next orange chariot comes to collect you at midday and carry you via sunny Nelson to your next two night stop in Marahau, Abel Tasman.
- First time arriving in Picton - Spend a free day in Picton and then travel from Picton to Abel Tasman
- Second time arriving in Picton - Travel from Picton to Wellington
There will be no changes to the length of your trips, which is wonderful news for anyone on minimum time.
Your Driver Guides will have all the relevant details about these changes, so if you do have any questions, please speak to your Driver.
We are positive you will enjoy the new circuit, but our long term goal will be to return to Kaikoura. We want to support the incredible community there and help get them back on their feet. That’s what we call the “Stray Way” - it’s about looking after your mates in times of need at the end of the day!
The travel sectors will remain the same but our daily itinerary will change for the following days:
Hanmer Springs to Christchurch - Instead of stopping in Kaikoura, we'll stop in Akaroa, a gorgeous little historic French colonial town on the coast. You'll have the chance to go on a nature cruise in the harbour, swim with the dolphins or walk around the peninsula for breath-taking views.
Christchurch to Picton/Wellington - Due to the damage to the coastal road via Kaikoura we'll take the scenic road inland through Lewis Pass towards Picton. This drive is slightly longer but just as beautiful.
How can you help?
Some Stray passengers have reached out wanting to volunteer with clean-up efforts. Please refer to these links to stay up to date on what you can do.
We will continue to post updates here on the Stray website, as well as across our social media channels, and we will be in contact with those affected as more information becomes available.
To our Stray travellers out on the road - your Driver Guide will continue to give you the latest updates.
If you have any Stray-related questions, please contact Reservations on firstname.lastname@example.org or +64 (0)9 526 2140.