In case you haven’t noticed yet, our mission is to get you off the beaten track in New Zealand.
Our crew have spent years travelling this beautiful country and found some incredible destinations that we call our 'Strademark' places.
These are the special places that embody Stray’s values and ethos as an adventurous, off the beaten track travel operator. Many of them are places Kiwis haven’t even heard of!
They are the places that you are less likely to find in a guide book, but the ones you’ll be talking about long after the adventure has ended. Put simply, if they carry the ‘Strademark’ stamp they are what makes Stray stand out from the crowd and are not to be missed!
To earn this badge, each destination must meet some or all of the following criteria:
- An iconic Stray stop with X-factor, simply not to be missed.
- Unique local, cultural experience.
- Has an environmental or conservation focus.
- Cannot be accessed by public transport.
- No other hop-on hop-off operator goes there.
Stray Journeys tours visit the stunning Hokianga Harbour, a special spot on Northland’s west coast not easily accessible on public transport. We stay right near the mouth of the harbour with magnificent views of the water and the sand dunes. No trip to Hokianga is complete without the thrill of sandboarding down those massive dunes and a visit to the magical Waipoua Forest, home of the world’s largest Kauri tree Tane Mahuta.
Hahei is a beautiful white sand beach in the Coromandel and Kiwis love to holiday here. From Hahei you can access the stunning scenery of Cathedral Cove by boat, sea kayak or on foot, and just down the road you'll find the famous "Hot Water Beach", where you can dig holes in the sand and relax in the hot water which comes up from underground natural springs. If you want to visit this iconic Kiwi beach destination and mingle with the locals, both Stray Journeys tours and hop-on, hop-off passes can take you there!
Raglan is New Zealand's most iconic surfing mecca, renowned for its famous left-hand break and stunning black sand beaches. Our accommodation is built in amongst dense native bush and includes a surf school so you can have a go at surfing, try some sunset yoga or just enjoy the amazing views over the Tasman Sea as you watch the sun go down at the perfectly named Inspiration Point. Raglan is an overnight stop on our hop-on, hop-off passes and no other hop-on, hop-off company will take you there.
The East Cape of the North Island is a remote and intriguing region of New Zealand, steeped in rich Maori heritage and still untouched by commercialism. Maraehako Bay is a coastal settlement that's inaccessible by public transport. Take the kayaks or the Stand Up Paddle Boards out on the bay, walk around the rocks and explore the rock pools, or just relax in a hammock. This is one of the most relaxing places you'll visit!
Tatapouri is another overnight stop on the East Cape, situated about 15km away from Gisborne. Stray stays at the local dive school hostel, nestled on a private beach. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy sundowners on the deck or build a beach bonfire and feel the outside world drift away. Don’t miss the amazing sunrise on the beach in the morning or your chance to handfeed wild stingrays just off shore. No other hop-on, hop-off bus visits the East Cape.
A tranquil lakeside lodge run by a family with an inspiring higher purpose, Lake Aniwhenua is simply not to be missed. It embodies all of the Strademark criteria, but what’s more, it will stay in your heart long after you leave. Your hosts at Kohutapu Lodge are a local whanau (family) who have lived in the area for generations and are passionate about helping the children of their community. You'll have the opportunity to take part in their traditions, explore secret local spots and try a traditional “hangi” meal cooked under the ground!
Blue Duck Station can be found deep in the remote and rugged Ruapehu District, alongside Whanganui National Park in the North Island. This authentic and exclusive farmstay is a Stray fan favourite, truly off the beaten track destination and meets all the Strademark criteria. The station’s core values are based around the conservation of its endangered wildlife, increasing the health of the native bush and rivers, and preserving the history of the area, while educating visitors about the endangered New Zealand species.
Raetihi is a friendly, historic town nestled in between two national parks. We stay at Snowy Waters Lodge, historic former Nurses Home set within 5 acres of park-like grounds. Snowy Waters has quickly become a traveller's favourite with it's spa room, man cave, hot tub, pet goats and horses and well stocked box of doctors, nurses and crazy patient costumes! In addition Stray passengers are helping to regenerate the native forest in the area by planting native trees.
We stay at the Barn, right on the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park with a walking track directly into the national park! Marahau is commonly regarded as one of Stray passengers’ favourite stops, with both Stray Journeys and hop-on, hop-off having at least two nights to access the stunning golden sand beaches, lush rainforest, numerous walking tracks and incredible sailing and kayaking options.
Gunn's Camp is a quirky little historic camp in the spectacular Fiordland National Park. It house families during the 1920s and 30s, whilst the men were building the road into Milford Sound. These days it is a base for hikers who want to tackle the fantastic Fiordland walking tracks, but more importantly it’s a unique stop for Stray hop-on, hop-off! With no mobile reception and almost no light pollution, you can look up at the stars in the night sky and feel like you've travelled back in time to the way life was in New Zealand's early formative years.
Nestled in the valley beside New Zealand’s tallest mountain, Stray’s overnight stop in Mt Cook Village brings you right to the heart of a rugged alpine wonderland of magnificent snowy peaks and astoundingly clear skies. During the day there are so many world-class hikes on offer that you’ll have a hard time choosing just one. In the evening, the stargazing will blow you away as you can view the planets and constellations of the Milky Way with the naked eye. This is one iconic South Island destination you won't want to miss!
Stray Journeys tours stay in Makarora in the stunningly beautiful Mount Aspiring National Park. Situated in a river valley surrounded by towering mountains, Makarora is the perfect base to view the pristine waterways, snow-capped peaks and native bush teeming with bird life. It’s also one of the best places to go jet boating and experience the best in shallow water boating, skimming just inches from the riverbed for the thrill ride of your life!
Peel Forest - Rangitata
Welcome to real Middle Earth territory! With breathtaking mountains, dense native bush and the wild rapids of the Rangitata River, Peel Forest is a hidden gem in the South Island that was featured in the “Lord of the Rings” films. The best way to soak up the amazingly dramatic scenery is with an adrenaline pumping white water rafting trip down the river, followed by refreshing sundowners on the deck back at the lodge of a historic Canterbury sheep station.
See More. Do More - with Stray New Zealand