Stray achieves Qualmark Gold for best business practice

Stray has gone for gold again and been awarded the prestigious Gold Sustainable Tourism Business Award by Qualmark for the fifth year running!

Supported by Tourism New Zealand, Qualmark is New Zealand tourism’s official quality assurance organisation and they offer independent accreditation for tourism businesses.

A Qualmark Gold Award is their highest accolade, recognising the best sustainably operated tourism businesses in New Zealand. To be awarded Gold, a business must be delivering exceptional customer experiences and leading the way to make New Zealand a world-class and sustainable destination.

How did Stray achieve this award?

While not an all-inclusive list of the criteria, the Qualmark assessment looks at a company’s commitment to:

  • Protecting what makes New Zealand unique and special,
  • Protecting the beautiful natural environment in which they operate,
  • Enhancing local communities,
  • Delivering a high quality and safe experience for customers.

If any of that sounds familiar, it’s because Stray’s been incorporating these values into the route and customer experience for years!

Here are just a few of the ways Stray has committed to making a difference as a tourism operator and led their customers to make a positive impact while travelling:

Lake Aniwhenua Community Programme

Since Stray started staying overnight at Lake Aniwhenua’s Kohutapu Lodge and travellers from around the world began interacting with the local school kids in an outreach programme, the positive impact on this struggling community has been incredible. Aside from expanding the minds of the school kids to think outside the confines of their tiny Murupara township, Stray passengers have also nourished their bodies by delivering more than 16,000 hangi meals to the community.

Stray NZ - Lake Aniwhenua - MicahNZ17_2340wright_WEB

Blue Duck Conservation Programme

Visitors to Blue Duck Station know that a huge part of their mission is to protect the endangered native bird life. Not only does Stray sponsor a line of 10 pest traps to catch the predators that threaten the namesake blue ducks and other birds, but Stray passengers are encouraged to get involved with pest hunting and trapping, restoration of the native environment and the station’s other numerous conservation efforts.

Stray NZ - Blue Duck Station - MicahNZ17_2583wright_WEB

Native Tree Planting

When it comes to New Zealand’s native trees, Stray is known to attract some real tree huggers! Over the years, Stray passengers have planted nearly 2000 trees in Abel Tasman National Park and a recently launched tree planting programme at the newest overnight stop Raetihi promises to carry on that tradition.

A member of the Stray team getting her hands dirty.

Staff Enviro & Community Programmes

The staff at Stray HQ don’t let the passengers have all the fun – they like to get out and do their part too! The most recent initiatives by the Auckland-based office team include volunteering at the Eat My Lunch charity to make lunches for Kiwi kids in need, raising money for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer NZ through the Auckland Sky Tower Stair Challenge, and participating in the Sustainable Coastlines Manakau Harbour beach clean-up in Auckland.

Stray staff volunteering at Eat My Lunch

If you want to learn more, check out the ‘Our Story’ section on the Stray website for even more insights into how Stray passionately strives to make a difference and promote sustainable tourism.

LisaT profile picture

Lisa T

Originally from Delaware, USA. Favourite Stray stop: Blue Duck Station (New Zealand). Fun fact: her knowledge of sci-fi, Disney and British literature make her the Queen of Trivia.

These New Zealand tours will depart soon!

New Zealand is a tiny country that packs a scenic punch! Explore New Zealand the 'Stray' way - getting further off the beaten track, seeking out one-of-a-kind experiences and meeting a bunch of epic fellow adventurers.
All tours are Stray Journey small group tours!

Wanderlust - See it All in NZ

24 days - starts & ends in Auckland

On this trip, you get the best combination of nature, relaxation, beautiful scenery and adrenaline. In 24 days, you will experience beautiful nature consisting of rainforests, mountains and volcanoes.

Takahe - South Island Tour

11 days - starts & ends in Christchurch

From the golden sands of Abel Tasman National Park to the West Coast’s glaciers and rainforests, the party and adventure capital of Queenstown, to the “Roof of Aotearoa” Mt Cook National Park.

Ruru - All of NZ Tour

18 days - starts in Auckland, ends in Christchurch

Hike some of New Zealand’s best tracks, kayak at sunrise, taste a delicious traditional hangi meal, bathe in a hot thermal stream surrounded by native bush.

Or check out these articles for more travel inspiration

Discover the thriving community of local artists offering a distinct Kiwi sound. Our favourite artists to see live.

If you’re a true music lover as well as an avid traveller, then you’re probably inclined to check out the local music scene in every new destination you visit. New Zealand may be small, but travelling music buffs shouldn’t be […]

Read More

Can you explore New Zealand without a driving licence? Is it possible to get off the beaten path without one?

New Zealand is one big playground. There is always something to climb on, jump out of, hike to, a path or a trail to follow… You name it, New Zealand has it! Aotearoa truly is one of the world’s ultimate […]

Read More

Our sustainable traveller’s bible will help you to live your best life – without it costing the earth

We all share a common goal: more travel, and less impact. There’s an overwhelming amount of information (and disinformation) about how to be more sustainable, and we know that when you’re travelling, it becomes 10 times harder. We’ve put together […]

Read More
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Scroll to Top