Stray was born in 2002 with a mission to change 'group travel' as we knew it.
We wanted to offer travellers a different way to travel from traditional mainstream tours with rigid itineraries and time schedules.
"Freestyle" was created to offer travellers more freedom to customise their travel experience, while travelling with likeminded travellers and an awesome, knowledgable Guide.
Our Freestyle Travel route covers all of New Zealand and includes the internationally famous hot spots as well as some epic, handpicked, off the beaten track locations that we love.
How 'Freestyle' works
Managing your travel
Once you’ve bought a pass, you’ll need to download our Stray Mate app, sign up and log in. Once you’re in, you can read about each destination you’ll visit and book buses, activities and accommodation. If you’re travelling on a short timeframe, we recommend booking your dates in advance (particularly between Nov – March) as buses can fill up. Dates are fully flexible and you can change them any time in the Stray Mate app.
Hopping on and off
Your pass is valid for 12 months from the first day of travel, so you can hop on and off as much as you want and extend your stay in any of the destinations along the travel route.
Not sure where to hop off? We’re New Zealand nerds, so if you need help choosing where to hop off, read this blog, or just ask us!
If you’re short on time, you don’t need to hop off at all. There are non-travel days built into the itinerary so you won’t be travelling every day.
It’s day one of your Stray adventure! You’ve booked your first bus at least, and you can see the pick-up time and location in your app. Head down to the bus stop 15 minutes before departure and say hello to your rad new group of friends. Don’t worry if you’re standing in awkward silence for a bit, your Driver Guide will break the ice! Stray buses depart several times a week, but frequency depends on the time of year (check the timetable).
Your Guide is the glue that holds your bus together (not literally). They’re your bus driver, tour guide, story teller and party starter. They’ve had a lot of practice taking a group of strangers and turning them into lifelong friends, so you’re in good hands. If you’re doing the trip in the minimum amount of time (not hopping off), it’s likely you’ll be with the same driver, and many of the passengers the whole way through.
Booking your accommodation and activities
You may have already noticed that the Stray Mate app is full of discounted prices, but that’s not all. Every day that you’re on the bus, you’ll have a bed reserved for you at the destination, and we get places reserved for us for a bunch of activities too.
You just need to book these in your app the day before to make sure you get one of our special spots. Don’t worry, your Guide will let you know when to book things for each destination, and if you have any issues, they are great problem solvers too.
Buses will pick you up from and drop you off to the Stray-preferred accommodation venues. If you stay somewhere else, that's no problem, just make your way to the closest pick up option.
Your time, your way
Stray is not just a bus network. We make stops along the way to show you amazing things, like a beautiful waterfall, a short scenic walk, local food tasting or breath-taking view!
If you arrive in a place and it feels like home, you can just hop off and take your time. After all, you’ve got 12 months to travel the route! When hopping off, just make sure you cancel any activities or accommodation you've booked in advance.