Every day we aim to Make a Difference!
Whether it's big or small, we do right by our customers, our team, our community and our environment.
We want all customers to have an amazing travel experience. We know that part of that is playing our part in protecting our beautiful, unique environment for future generations. It's also about supporting the wonderful local people who welcome us into their communities and aiming to become a truely environmentally sustainable company.
We've won several awards for our environmental and community efforts which we're extremely proud of.
We also seek to inspire the Eco-Warrior in each and every one of our passengers to make a difference as they travel the globe.
We continue to strive to Make a Difference in the following ways...
Lake Aniwhenua Community Programme
The closest town to Lake Aniwhenua is Murupara, one of the poorest towns in New Zealand. Stray stays at Kohutapu Lodge and our hosts there are real visionaries who understand the positive impact tourism can have on a struggling community. We've teamed up to provide food parcels to the local school and Stray travellers spend time in the classroom with the children to help expand their thinking beyond the confines of Murupara.
We have delivered more than 28,000 hangi meals to the Murupara community!
Mekong River Village Project
Included in the cost of each traveller’s stay at the Mekong River Homestay in Laos is a monetary contribution to the village project fund. This fund helps pay for valuable village infrastructure and projects that increase the overall standard of living and sustainability for our homestay villages.
In the past 5 years we have provided hundreds of new educational resources and notebooks, created a new access way to the local waterfall, partially funded the building of a new village community hall and delivered 1.2km of new water pipes fittings and materials to improve the fresh water supply.
Lone Buffalo School
Since 2015, Stray has sponsored Lone Buffalo, a non-profit community organisation and school and in provincial North East Laos. Lone Buffalo offers English language classes, career training and even football coaching for disadvantaged young people who would not otherwise have these opportunities. Stray directly sponsors an English instructor’s salary and all class materials, such as textbooks and stationary.
Read more about Lone Buffalo and Stray's involvement.
253 Children started the 2019-20 term receiving free English tuition
"Eat My Lunch"
Eat My Lunch is a charity in New Zealand that aims to ensure no child at school goes without lunch. Stray first got involved by getting together to all order Eat My Lunch, by purchasing our lunches, the charity would also provide lunches for kids in need. We thought it was such a great concept that we took it one step further and our staff volunteered at Eat My Lunch making the lunches!
Our team made 1,400 lunches for kids in need!
Blue Duck Conservation Programme
As you arrive at Blue Duck Station in New Zealand, the education begins! Passionate staff explain the conservation efforts in place to save the native and endangered Whio (Blue Duck). Stray sponsor 10 traps to catch rats, ferrets and other pests that eat Blue Duck eggs or kill chicks. Stray passengers can get off the bus here and time as Blue Duck "Eco-warriors", getting involved in conservation projects. If you spot a Blue Duck at Blue Duck Station, this means we are doing a good job of protecting them!
Stray's 10 sponsored traps have trapped over 200 pests that kill native birds!
World Oceans Day - Coastal Clean Up
Stray celebrated World Oceans Day on 8 June. Our awesome Stray passengers and their dedicated guides collected rubbish from beaches and waterways across New Zealand, Laos and Australia.
Our HQ staff also previously worked with Sustainable Coastlines as part of their 'Love Your Coast' Manukau Harbour Clean-Up in Auckland.
Plastic, even in tiny amounts is harmful for the ocean, so we encourage everyone to #take3forthesea whenever they visit the beach, as well as practice the 3 R's (Reduce, Reuse & Recycle) to prevent plastic pollution to begin with.
Stray's Borneo Explorer tour includes a visit to the Walai Turtle Conservation Park on Libaran Island. Each visit features an engaging presentation detailing the community-based conservation efforts to save the endangered sea turtles and a visit to the hatchery.
If any eggs have hatched, Stray travellers take the baby sea turtles to the beach and release them into the sea! At night you can stand watch with the rangers to monitor if any mama turtles come up the beach to lay eggs. When she's finished, these eggs are safely transferred to the hatchery.
Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef
We’re proud to be part of the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, whose aim is to protect and conserve reefs around the world including the Great Barrier Reef. As a Citizen, we’ve joined a global movement by collaboratively taking actions to positively impact the reef such as using reusable bottles and bags, and promoting this to our travellers around the world. You can join us in making a positive impact by either becoming a Citizen or making a donation.
Native Tree Planting
Planting native trees has been an ongoing initiative at Stray for many years. In 2013 Stray passengers planted nearly 2000 trees near Abel Tasman National Park. This newly forested area is now seeing the return of native birds to the area. In 2016 Stray staff planted over 500 new Manuka and Kanuka trees (the trees that allow the bees produce Manuka honey!) in one day at Atiu Creek Regional Park. With our sister company, Spaceships, we've contributed to 50,000 new native trees in Children's Bay, Akaroa.
We've planted over 52,500 trees and counting!
Love Notes - Recycled Paper Programme
We try to save the trees by reducing our printing in the office whenever possible, however sometimes it's a necessary evil, so we make sure we turn it into something good! We save all of our one sided paper print outs, and then we send them to Love Notes, where they are transformed into these awesome little notebooks for our staff to use!
We've produced 85 Love Notes notebooks so far!
Supporting Worthy Causes
Fundraising - Australia Bushfires
In November 2019, a massive firestorm blazed through one of Stray's "Strademark" Stops River Retreat at the Nymboida Canoe Centre, and all through the surrounding area. The fire devastated the small tight-knit community, destroyed 90 homes and left approximately 200 people homeless. The Canoe Centre is run by local volunteers and has always been a Stray favourite because of the stunning wilderness location and amazing, friendly staff.
We fundraised almost $1000 to help rebuild and repair the Canoe Centre so that future groups whether from Stray, schools or other communities can enjoy staying at this beautiful location. We also hand-delivered them a few beers too - Stray style!
Sky Tower Stair Challenge for charity
We put our fittest team members to the ultimate challenge, two years in a row! Climbing the 1,103 stairs of the Auckland Sky Tower is no easy feat but when it's done to raise money for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer NZ and for the six New Zealanders every day that are diagnosed blood related cancers, it's worth it. The fundraising target was $5,000 but the whole office, industry partners, friends and family rallied behind the Stray team and both years we SMASHED it. In 2017, we raised a whopping $8,082! That placed Stray in the top 10 highest fundraising teams in New Zealand!
We raised over $ 13,000 for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand!
Supporting 'The Loop' in Laos
Working with NZ Aid, Stray is helping to develop a short self-drive motorbike tour called The Loop in the south of Laos by sponsoring the tour brochure and consulting on the development of three local villages to become homestays in the area.
The Loop is a 450km journey with over 30 sights in Southern Laos which takes around 4-6 days to travel by motorbike.
This tour helps to bring more tourists to experience very remote parts of Southern Laos to support these villages and to boost their economy.
We show our support to some great causes by donating money or Stray passes to be raffled or auctioned. We've been proud to support Friends of the Whanganui River and Kaitieke School near Blue Duck Station, Heart Kids NZ, NZ Special Needs Children's Party, Brain Injured Children's Trust, Autism Special Needs Children's Party and Dry July supporting Cancer Charities. We've also run a special Stray trips for the children of Murupara to visit parliament in Wellington and Hamilton zoo. We also donate our time and volunteer with local charities. This year we worked with the Auckland City Mission to sort through clothes donations and pack emergency food parcels.
Driver Sustainability Education Programme
We provide all of our drivers with Safe and Fuel Efficient Driving training (SAFED). We have fuel monitoring systems and special training programmes so our drivers consciously try to drive in a way that reduces fuel consumption. We also train our road crew to promote recycling and to educate the passengers on important things like reducing single use plastic; saying 'No' to plastic bags, refilling water bottles and using keep-cups for coffee.
We've reduced our fuel consumption by approximately 5-6% since introducing SAFED training!
Fleet Replacement Programme
In the last 2 years we've replaced 10 of our buses with brand new buses and we'll continue to replace old models as newer buses produce less carbon emissions.
10 Brand new buses in the last 2 years!
Reducing Carbon Emissions
We like to stay as clean and green as possible, and one of the ways we do this is by actively seeking to reduce our carbon emissions by scaling our bus fleet to meet passenger demand. In winter we may not have as many passengers on our tours, so we use our smaller coaches to keep carbon emissions down.
We've reduced our carbon emissions in New Zealand by 43 dairy cows! Our annual carbon emissions are now equivalent to 397 dairy cows.
Alternative Fuel Options
Back in the day Stray was the first commercial operator to commission a bus that ran on vegetable oil. While it was a cool idea in theory the practicalities meant we couldn’t maintain Hot Chips on our national circuit. Our heart was in the right place. RIP Hot Chips. Next up will be electric buses, we are just waiting on Elon Musk to build us some ;)
Stray was the first commercial operator to run a bus on vegetable oil!
At Stray we like to keep up with the latest technology and we're particularly interested in the work being done overseas in the advancement of electric buses! We'd love to be able to get some of these on our fleet and we're currently in discussions with suppliers in Australia.
While we have reduced our carbon emissions significantly, our vision is to one day be completely carbon neutral. We work with a farm in Akaroa (near Christchurch) that plants trees to offset carbon emissions.