The plan with ‘Stray’ from the start was to create a flexible transport network which took adventurous travellers ‘further off the beaten track’. Founder Neil Geddes had already been in the market for 10 years with his first business Kiwi Experience. After he sold his shares, he set out to work out how to best access places like Raglan, Hahei, The Abel Tasman, National Park, Steward Island… places that he most loved in New Zealand but which were hard to access for travellers.
The biggest issue was finding suitable accommodation – so from the start Stray worked with locals to create unique stops in the really cool places. This included doing things like working with Charlie and Erin from Raglan surf School who transformed an old school camp into and amazing surf lodge, working with Uncle Boy in Maketu who created a cultural stay just for Stray, building cabins in a camp ground at the start of the Abel Tasman track… much more work that just using hotels in the nearest towns – but the only way to truly get customers close to the action.
The first departure was in January 2001 and the business has thrived ever since. Running up to daily departures in summer, winning the New Zealand tourism award and ‘Golden Backpack’ for being the best transport operator and leading the market in other ways such as having the newest ‘greenest’ bus fleet. The routes are being constantly improved as new even cooler stuff comes available – new this season – stops at ‘Blue Duck Station’ for a taste of New Zealand at its most down to earth and ‘Rangitata’ for stunning ‘Lord of the Rings’ scenery and the best white water rafting in the country.