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Check out our most frequently asked questions to learn more about us and how Stray works.


1. About Stray

Is a Stray tour for me?

Do you want to: Soak up some incredible scenery? Be adventurous ? Learn and be part of our proud Kiwi culture? Discover incredible off-the-beaten track places away from the crowds? SEE and DO as much as possible? Make incredible connections with like minded travellers? If you’ve answered "YES" to any of these questions then STRAY TOUR is definitely for YOU!

Stray attracts adventurous travellers from all corners of the globe with the majority from the UK, Europe and America. When we say “adventurous”, we don’t mean we expect you to do a bungy jump or even a 10 mile hike… but an open mind and a thirst for exploration is important! 75% of our travellers are travelling solo and some travel as part of a couple or group of friends.

Most travellers on our tours are aged between 20 and 50 although we have no maximum age because we believe age doesn't matter - it's all about attitude!

Most travellers on our tours are aged between 20 and 50 although we have no maximum age because we believe age doesn't matter - it's all about attitude!

Absolutely! A lot of our travellers arrive alone, around 75% of our travellers are travelling solo, others are with friends or partners. It doesn’t matter because by the end of day one you have already made a great group of friends on the bus! (“Meeting liked-minded travellers” frequently is rated in the top 5 reasons to travel with us.)

The number of people you'll be travelling with depends on the type of tour you're doing, where you're travelling, and the time of year.

  • New Zealand: We are fun and multi-cultural small group tours with a maximum of 24 passengers plus a driver guide per bus.
  • Australia: Stray travels by private, air-conditioned bus with a maximum of 24 onboard for your comfort.
  • Asia: Groups are usually around 10-15 people, with a maximum of 24. 

Please note: October - March is generally busier in all regions than April - September.

We try to use the appropriate bus for the group size, keeping it as small and nifty as possible! This means you can do and see more in a day and it's better for the environment too.

You don’t have to be an athlete to travel with us – all walks and activities are optional and there is something for everyone.

No we don’t have Wi-Fi on our buses for a couple of reasons:

  1. It doesn’t work everywhere we travel so we could offer it but you still couldn’t access it everywhere and at a decent speed (that’s the same for other bus companies who promote they offer it).
  2. It discourages actual human connection. Share stories and make friends, be in the 'now'! This way your experience becomes even more memorable.

We recommend checking in with your mobile provider before you leave home to ensure that your device is internationally unlocked. That way you can pick up a local sim card when you arrive. 

Prepaid SimCards with data plans provide faster and better coverage and data packages are flexible and affordable.


Not every day is a travel day. Our itineraries include non-travel days in a few locations along the way so you have time to do activities and explore each of these areas further (or of course just relax by the pool/beach/lake!)

Ultimately, Stray’s main priority is give you authentic experiences by taking you further off the beaten track, and we have some early starts so that we can fit as much adventure in as possible. What you do in your evenings is your own choice... However, of course we are a sociable bunch and we do enjoy a cold beer or two! Because some of our overnight stops are so "off the beaten track", you will find at many of these fine beverages are shared around a campfire rather than in a bar, but there's also plenty of opportunities to party.

COVID-19 was a challenging time for everyone in travel & tourism. But it was also a great time to re-think our products & services and to make changes. We have launched new tours in New Zealand and Australia. These bus tours include accommodation, some meals, some activities and more and go off the beaten track for some hidden gems.

Further updates about and timelines for our (other) tours in New Zealand, Australia and South-East Asia can be found on our Service Updates Page. That page will be updated regularly so keep your eyes on it.

To answer your question about what happened to the Hop-On/Hop-Off Tours, check out this blog post. And definitely have a look at this articles explaining why the new tours in New Zealand are so much better than our classic tours or a regular bus pass.

Your Stray Guide is there to inform, enthral and entertain you with facts, stories and give you important insight into the local culture. They will recommend top notch things to do every step of the way. Our guides are consistently one of the most highly-rated features of our trips - just ask any traveller of ours! They will become a good friend and source of support to you.

A Strademark Place is a special destination that our travellers love, but that you're less likely to find in a guide book. They're the places that set Stray apart from other tour companies and the places you'll likely be talking about long after the adventure has ended. Learn more about our Strademark places.

Yes, you sure can! Email us and let us know you'd like to travel with us again and we'll hook you up. You'll get 5% off and pass (even the ones already on sale!). 

Email us and provide your previous confirmation/booking number.

Our Reservations Team is based in New Zealand so the times below are NZST

SUMMER (October - April)

Monday - Friday: 8am - 3pm

WINTER (May - September)

Monday - Friday: 8am - 1pm



We also have customer support teams in Australia and Bangkok who can help outside of these hours. Contact Us.

First step - please check with your bank as to whether you have sufficient funds or if there is a block on international transactions.

If your bank says there shouldn't be a problem on their end, then send us an email or give us a call.

Contact Us

2. Preparing For Your Trip

You should bring a backpack or small/medium suitcase (up to 15kg) filled with…

  • Your clothes with at least one warm jumper and a pair of trousers.
  • Swimsuit / Towel
  • Bug repellent
  • Reef Safe Sunblock / Hat
  • Day pack
  • Water bottle
  • Waterproof jacket (shell)
  • Walking shoes/trainers
  • Sarong/shawl

In winter (May - September) we also suggest packing a warm hat, jacket and light thermals or clothes you can layer, particularly for the South Island of New Zealand where it gets very cold. In Asia between Nov - Mar it can also get pretty cold in Northern Thailand and Laos and you will need a warm jumper and trousers.

You won’t be needing…

  • Sleeping bag
  • Pillow
  • Blankets or sheets

Either is fine, it’s up to you! We ask that you bring only one main piece of luggage (backpack/suitcase) and a day pack.

We suggest travelling with around 23kgs of luggage. You'll only ever have to transport your luggage short distances but you need to be able to manage this yourself.  If you are going to be travelling with a lot more than 23kg, then please let us know.

If you are travelling with us in Asia, travel insurance is compulsory and you must provide us with your insurance details prior to starting your trip. 

We highly recommend you get travel insurance when travelling with us in New Zealand and Australia. 

We recommend looking at Allianz Insurance, but any insurance provider, as long as they cover for loss, accident, tour cancellations and medical is fine.

3. Accommodation


On our SELECT NZ tours, you'll stay in a mixture of comfy 3-4 star hotels and unique destinations designed to show you the real New Zealand. Hotel rooms are ensuite, while shared facilities are offered in unique destinations which we called ‘Strademark places’. Upgrade to solo occupancy may be possible and subject to availability.

On our ADVENTURE NZ tours, you'll stay in dorm rooms with shared facilities.

Learn more about Stray's Accommodation


Stray carefully selects quality places as our accommodations included, no matter which is a hotel, resort, lodge, farming station or backpacker. This means our accommodations are popular and easy to be booked out by the time you travelling.

If you're a solo traveller and considering to have your own private rooms during the whole trip, or worrying about being paired up with a unknown stranger that might impact your travel experience, we would highly recommend you secure the private rooms at the time of booking.

Please note: Stray cannot guarantee room upgrade within 31 days of each departure. All requests will be subject to availability. If you wish to upgrade rooms after the trip starts, please ask accommodations at check in. You can be upgraded based on the availability and pay for the difference directly with the accommodations.

Yes, most places offer wifi. Some places offer it for free, others charge a small fee. 

Sure, we do. In Auckland CBD, we recommend the 3 hotels below, about 5-10 minute walk to Stray pickup:

  • Crowne Plaza Auckland (128 Albert St)
  • The Grand by SkyCity (90 Federal St)
  • President Hotel Auckland (27-35 Victoria St West)
  • CityLife Auckland Hotel (15-25 Durham St West)


In Christchurch Central, we would recommend below (please note for Kaka Tour passengers, you will need to organise your own transport to the Railway Station):

  • Bealey Quarter (263 Bealey Avenue) - Stray groups stay here
  • Salerno Motel Apartments (148 Bealey Avenue)
  • The Salisbury Business Class (345 Madras St)
  • Rydges Latimer Christchurch Hotel (30 Latimer Square)


In our optional starts, Wellington or Picton, we recommend the below accommodations in downtown areas:

  • Naumi Wellington Hotel (213 Cuba St) - Stray groups stay here
  • Ramada by Wyndham Wellington Hotel (123 Taranaki St)
  • The Villa, Picton (34 Auckland St)


Please contact us if you wish to know the quotes from Stray.

4. Activities

There is so much to do! Feel free to ask your Guides for their personal recommendations.

New Zealand & Australia: You can book and pay for any activities as you go, through your Guide on tour.

There are loads of incredible activities on offer! Whether you are a hiker, a biker, a culture hound or an adrenaline junkie you can start getting inspired by checking out our Travel Guide

5. Travelling in New Zealand

Stray Journeys Tour

Accommodation, some meals and the ferry are all included so you just need to worry about your additional activities and other meals.

Food: this comes down to you, so anywhere between $20 and 100 per day! We stop at supermarkets but there’s (almost) always an option to visit a restaurant or local café. If you’re lucky our drivers have even been known to cook a very impressive BBQ/spaghetti bolognese/roast/chocolate cake.

Activities: these vary wildly, from $25 to visit a museum to $399 to jump out of a plane!

You will find that New Zealanders barely ever carry cash, as 99% of shops, restaurants and even taxis will accept debit cards. However they won't always accept credit cards and it’s handy to always carry $50-100 to cover you for circumstances.

Europeans, please bear in mind that you'll need a MasterCard or Visa debit or credit card to be able to pay in shops. A Maestro Card isn't accepted in shops in New Zealand as it uses a different payment system in the back-end. However, you can use your Maestro Card to get cash from ATMs, just make sure you have set it to worldwide usage..

Most visitors to New Zealand need a visa or an NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority). Find out more about how you can get one.

The cost of the ferry ticket between the North and South Islands is included in all National itineraries. We use the Bluebridge Ferry.

6. Travelling in Australia

Accommodation is included in your Stray Journey Tour (usually in 4-6 share dorm rooms for Adventure Tours and twin/double rooms for Select Tours).  

Unless you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen, you will need a visa to enter Australia. If you just plan on visiting, you can apply for a visitor visa, and can spend up to 3 months in the country at a time.

If you plan on working while in the country, you must apply for a Working Holiday visa. A Working Holiday visa will enable you to work and travel in Australia for up to a year, and if you are a citizen of a qualifying country, you can even complete 88 days of farm work in order to gain an additional year to work in the country.

You can find more information about visas here: http://www.border.gov.au/.

Australia is the world’s largest island and with over 10,000 beaches along Australia’s coast, you won’t run out of places to soak up the sun.

Australia’s highway is the longest highway in the world, stretching 14,500km. It runs along nearly the entire diameter of the country and is called the Highway 1. Stray's biggest tour EMU takes 21 days from Sydney to Cairns.  If you have time we recommend you stay an extra few days in Sydney and Cairns before and after the tour to explore these areas.

Australia is located on the southern hemisphere, which means the seasons are at opposite times to the seasons of countries in the northern hemisphere.

Because Australia is such a large country, the climate varies immensely. Most of the country is covered in desert, meaning the weather is very hot and dry. Desert regions can be found in the middle of the country, as well as in Western Australia.

The climate is temperate on the southeast and southwest corners of the country. Here you will have quite mild temperatures, without extreme hot or cold.

In the northern coastal areas of Queensland, the climate is tropical: hot and humid. The dry season takes places during the winter (May-October) and the wet season in summer (November-April). During the wet season, you can expect regular, heavy rain and even cyclones.

It’s arguable that the best time to travel in Australia is during the shoulder seasons (Sept-Nov and Mar-May) because the weather is typically warm but mild, and tourism isn’t quite as busy. Peak season takes place in the middle of summer (December/January/February) and many tours and accommodation are fully booked weeks in advance, however even in peak season Stray has allocations for accommodation and activities so you won't miss out.

This is up to the individual as you can self-cater and not do any extra activities and you could spend $10-20 per day.  You could also eat at cafes/restaurants for every meal (that's not included in the tour), and spend $30-80 per day.   Stray has included many activities along the way so you don't need to spend much more on additional activities - a few examples and approximate costs are:

  • Surf Lesson, Byron Bay $75
  • Dolphin Tour Kayak, Byron Bay $89
  • Noosa Everglades Kayak $110-$189
  • Skydive in Byron Bay, Noosa or Cairns $299 - $359
  • Great Barrier Reef Full Day Tour, Cairns $240 + $45 (intro or certified dive option)
  • Cape Tribulation Day Tour, Cairns $199
  • Bungy Jump, Cairns $149
  • Tully River Rafting, Cairns $225

7. Travelling in Asia

Visa requirements vary depending on where you’re coming from and where you going, we recommend that you contact the appropriate embassy in your country of origin. For a general overview, you can find information about visas for Asia here. 

The short answer is: to comply with Stray's Health and Safety policy. The long answer involves complying with our Health and Safety policy, Thailand's requirements around insurance should any medical emergency occur and the Laos government's legislation relating to travelling on our buses within Laos and crossing borders in Laos. If you require any further information please contact [email protected].

Western food is sparse outside the main centres so come open-minded about eating local food. At our stops we will recommend tasty restaurants but when you get into local villages and homestays be prepared to eat simple local fare, with maybe the odd wild-card ingredient (which is part of the fun!). Supermarkets are not the norm but we will point out places where you can stock up on food for the day. Depending what you eat, you can spend US$10 - 35 a day on food.

Please note vegetarian meal options may at times be limited for choice but there is always rice, noodles and soups, and excellent fruit and vegetables are plentiful at the local markets.

We suggest you bring up to US$35 each day for food and entertainment.