An easy way to travel New Zealand sustainably without breaking the Earth or the bank

If you’re part of the global army of good people doing their best to fight the climate change, we salute you. It’s going to take the efforts of everyone to ensure a healthy future for us and our planet.  But does living sustainably mean that you can’t do the things you love, like travel to amazing places? We’re here to tell you that for once, you actually can have it all. Like everything when it comes to living well on this giant rock, it’s all about making informed choices. Let us explain…

How to travel to New Zealand sustainably

New Zealand is a top destination for travellers from all over the world, and we don’t need to tell you why… but we will anyway because we’re obsessed with this little slice of paradise. Golden sand beaches, dramatic mountain ranges, bizarre and amazing wildlife and a laidback lifestyle are all things that make this country special.

Since COVID-19 hit, more and more kiwis are exploring their backyard which is amazing. The thing is, we all love this country so much, when we travel around Aotearoa we want to do our best to protect the land, the rivers, the oceans, the environment and the communities that live here.

Glaciers Heli Hike experience in New Zealand
Stray recommends sustainable and low carbon local activities, which can show travellers authentic New Zealand and rise our concerns on climate change

How to get around New Zealand sustainably  

Choose your mode of travelling the country to significantly reduce your impact, without sacrificing any of the fun!

Did you know that driving a camper van around New Zealand produces 10x more carbon than taking the bus? Check out this table we made, which shows the carbon impact of the most popular modes of transport around NZ.

Approximate carbon dioxide produced per person

The comparison below is for a 5,500km trip, for example, the Stray Morepork Tour (a 24-day tour to see all the highlights of New Zealand)

Table showing how to travel New Zealand sustainably
See the difference in CO2 emissions when using different transports to travel in NZ

As you can see from the table above, Stray bus gives you the most sustainable style to protect the environment by the time of travelling. Check out the emissions calculator to do your own calculations.

Advantages of travelling by Stray bus

Jumping on the Stray bus, you’ll produce just 10% of the carbon that you would if you rent a camper van. Not to mention the fact that you’ll meet other cool travellers and get further off the beaten track. You could rent a compact rental car, that sounds sustainable right? Unfortunately, you’d still be producing 80% more carbon than your mates on the bus.

Then there is the cost to your pocket. While renting a car might initially seem cheaper per day, when you add insurance, the frightening cost of petrol (approx. $2.20 per litre), Interisland ferry costs, extra fees for under 25’s and extra drivers, it can add up to a steep figure. Then there’s the issue of what to do with the car when you’re not using it. Inner-city parking is expensive, and if you wanted to get into nature for a few days it can be difficult to find secure parking. Plus you’re still paying every day to rent it!

In contrast, you can choose from a wide range of Stray tours. So, for a travel experience that is easier on your wallet and the planet, the big orange bus is the way to go!

A girl sitting in the front of Stray Bus
To keep your travel around New Zealand sustainably, taking Stray Bus is the best way.

Making a positive difference when you travel 

Travelling abroad is stepping willingly into the unknown; embracing new, unusual and wonderful experiences with an open and curious mind. But travelling is also a chance to do great things for the country you’re visiting. Here at Stray, we know there is a sweet spot that gives you an awesome travel experience while having a positive impact. We call it ‘making a difference’. Here are some of the ways you can make a difference and have awesome travel experiences with us:

Become a conservation champion:

In the North Island, we head to Blue Duck Station, a working high-country farm with a hefty conservation focus. Here you can choose to get involved in different conservation initiatives, chill out, or walk to the waterfalls and try to spot the rare Blue Duck. You’ll learn about the threats faced by our native birds and what we can do to protect them. You can even take part in a guided hunt, which eradicates a pest and provides food for hungry travellers – a win-win for the environment!

Blue Duck Station sustainable conservations
Blue Duck Station is not just a working farm or the Stray traveller’s exclusive destination. It’s combined with both as a model of sustainable New Zealand rural lives and conservations.

Support small communities:

Only Stray takes you to the remote small town of Murupara, the home of rich Maori history and one of the poorest parts of the country. Staying at a tranquil lodge on the shore of Lake Aniwhenua, you’ll see ancient rock carvings, learn to play traditional Maori games, eat a delicious Hangi, and hear stories that have been passed down through generations.

The next day, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the local school and spend some time with the children (during term time). Sharing stories of your home country and travel experiences help to broaden their horizons beyond the confines of their small town and inspire them to dream big. We’ll take our leftover Hangi meals to provide them a delicious and filling lunch or if the school’s not in session, these will go to the local elderly community.

Make a difference Lake Aniwhenua travel New Zealand sustainably
Interact and mingle with local students in the remote Maori community

These are just a few ways that you can make a difference travelling with Stray. We also regularly organise beach clean-ups and native tree planting, because we seriously care about the way to travel New Zealand sustainably and we know you do too!

Travel enriches your life. It provides you with a worldly context that can help to power your environmental efforts. Seeing how other people practise helps to connect us to others, which make us become more compassionate and open people. You can do all of these and make sustainable choices to reduce your travel footprint. So, if you’re dreaming of visiting New Zealand without costing the earth, we’d love to see you on the Stray bus!


Emily is a native creative nerd. This creative crew member's favourite stop is Bay of Islands.

These New Zealand Tours will depart soon

Fantail South Island Tour

14 days - starts & ends in Picton (optional: Wellington or Christchurch)

Explore the best the South Island has to offer: highlights and lots of hidden gems.

Morepork All of NZ Tour

24 days - starts & ends in Auckland

Explore the North and South Island. Hike some of NZ's best tracks and kayak at sunrise and more, much more.

Weka South Island Tour

10 days - starts & ends in Christchurch.

This tour is all about the scenery. Each day delivers more breathtaking views, epic hikes & landscapes.

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