Stray together, stay together!

Ever wondered what it’s like to Stray with your other half? We caught up with an awesome couple: Kaya Bulbul from Turkey and Amelie Krug from Sweden. They made the most of their university break and used a Stray Tour to see the best of the North Island.

Why did you choose to travel Stray?

We chose Stray for two reasons. Firstly, it was recommended to us by a friend who also had an excellent experience on her Stray bus tour. Secondly, it was the ideal trip for the short time period we had. We wanted to see as much as of North Island as possible and the Stray route covered all of the best bits. We think a Stray Tour is ideal for people who have a limited amount of time – we could sample all types of landscapes from beaches to cities to national parks. The only problem was that it left us desperate to return!

Cathedral Cove, Hahei
Enjoying the sunshine at Cathedral Cove

What was it like travelling as a couple on Stray?

It was great travelling as a couple because it can be nerve-wracking to meet new people but when you have your best friend beside you it makes it a lot easier. We could also combine moments of hanging out with the whole group with moments alone. We often shared a room with other Stray passengers (limited backpacker budget, you know?!), but it was great because we got to know them so much better.

Looking over a lake in the mountains
Being the perfect #instagramboyfriend and taking photos of Amelie
A traveller jumping in New Zealand
She always returned the favour though!

Do you have any advice for other couples thinking about Straying in New Zealand?

Don’t always stick to yourselves – get to know the people you are travelling with! On our first bus ride, we passed around a microphone and were all asked to introduce ourselves. When it was Kaya’s turn to speak he said “Alright, who’s single and ready to mingle?!” This was followed by “Nah, I’m only joking. I’m here with my girlfriend and she gets super jealous so don’t even look at me”. It definitely got a lot of laughs and people wanted to get to know us after that. So yeah, put yourselves out there! Be bold! Mingle even if you’re not single!

Geo thermal spa in Rotorua
Before we went for a mud spa at Hells Gate in Rotorua

What was the most bizarre thing that happened to you on your trip?

The MOST bizarre thing happened to us at Blue Duck Station. There was an opportunity to go hunting (an ecological effort to rid the area of invasive species that are non-native to New Zealand and destroying the Blue Duck population). Two of our friends went along and shot a goat, which we could eat for dinner. The locals then convinced them that it was a local tradition to eat the goats (still-steaming) testicles….. and they did!!!

What was the standout moment from your North Island adventure?

Although there were so many highlights, the standout moment was skydiving over the stunning Lake Taupo. Amelie’s face went purple before she jumped and she said goodbye as if we would never see each other again. Good news is that we DID see each other again during the free-fall (which was indescribable) – our tandem masters coordinated to float towards each other and Amelie and I were able to exchange huge, beaming smiles. It was an unforgettable moment.

A group of skydivers
Obligatory team photo after falling 15,000ft from the sky!

What did you miss the most when you returned home?

It was a close tie between the magical places we stayed in New Zealand and the awesome group of friends we made along the way – saying goodbye in Wellington was tough!

What is the one thing you’d like to say to the new friends you made on the bus?

5 year reunion, guys?

The Stray group of travellers
The people make the place!

Thanks to Kaya and Amelie for sharing their stories from the road and for showing us how to ‘mingle even if you’re not single’ 😉 If you want to experience a trip around the North Island then check out our current Stray tours.

Tara profile picture


Originally from Birmingham, UK. Favourite Stray stop: Tongariro National Park. Fun fact: she has done every Bungy Jump in New Zealand.

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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.

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