How to Plan your Dream Trip to New Zealand

So you want to come to New Zealand? Who doesn’t! We all know that so much more goes into planning your dream trip than what you see in those epic insta pics, and sometimes it is hard to know where to start.

We’ve got the scoop on which blogs to read, how to get cheap flights and how to travel stress-free in NZ.

Read all the blogs

You’ve probably already started doing this, which is how you found yourself reading this article. But which blogs should you read? There are so many out there, and ain’t nobody got time for trawling through irrelevant family travel blogs and poorly edited content to find the gems. Our reading list for the budget, adventure backpacker is all you need to get inspired and informed.

Check out:

  • Stray NZ Blog (obvs). Our content is tailored for backpackers, budget travellers, and those who want to get further off the beaten track! Start with what it’s like to travel solo with Stray, and or our guide to the ultimate North Island Road trip.
  • Backpacker Banter has everything from wanderlusty photo blogs to budget advice
  • Culture Trip is full of city guides, tips and advice and cultural gems
  • The Ultimate New Zealand Travel Guide has everything you need to know about New Zealand in one handy little free PDF! You can also download the 90 page guide to your phone and read it offline.
  • Follow us on Instagram for a daily dose of what awaits you in the land of the long white cloud

Book flights like a boss

The most offensive thing about New Zealand is that for most people, it is really, really far away. That means it’s usually a pretty long and expensive flight over (we promise it is totally worth it). But with a bit of careful planning and patience, you can save hundreds of dollars on flights.

These are our top tips

Set flight alerts – if you know when you want to go, check out prices on websites like Skyscanner and Kayak. Set price alerts on your dates, so you’ll get an email whenever the prices go up or down and pounce on the best deal.

Travel strategically – if you’re planning on spending a long time in New Zealand, and it doesn’t matter too much when you fly, try booking flights in the off-peak or shoulder seasons (in NZ, this means March – June & October – December) . Booking for the end of New Zealand winter (September) means you could experience a full summer at home, a dusting of snow in NZ, the wild and beautiful weather of spring, and then a full Kiwi summer. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

If you have strict time constraints, you can still get more bang for your buck travelling in shoulder season. March in New Zealand can still be really warm and beautiful, and the sights are a loss less crowded than at the height of summer. If you’re pining for the stunning snowy beauty of the South Island, travelling in autumnal May could fulfil your desires with a side of stunning leaf fall.

Hahei Explorer Boat Tour, New Zealand

Once you’ve filled your head with so much Kiwi goodness that you are determined to make that dream come true, we’ll show you the way. When you book a Stray travel pass, and you can do it all and so much more.

As travel & NZ addicts, we pledge to…

See more, do more

Some bus companies will take you straight from A to B with barely a toilet break in between but, with us, you will experience great stops and inclusions en route to your next destination. A typical travel day can see you stopping off for a short walk to a waterfall, climbing to a lookout for a photo opportunity, pausing at an unusual piece of New Zealand art along the roadside, or stopping to check out a wild fur seal colony.  You’ll fit so much more into your NZ road trip!

Get you further off the beaten track

We all want to see the best bits of any country we visit, but most of us want to experience them without hordes of humans buzzing around. What if we told you that some of the very best bits of New Zealand are places where there is no one else around? Better yet, we’ll take you there! Of course, we still take you to popular destinations like Rotorua ( hello Hobbiton), but we mix it up with some truly spectacular “middle of nowhere” destinations that will take your breath away.

Share your experiences with likeminded travellers

Travelling solo is an awesome way to push your comfort zones, try new things, meet new people and have new experiences. Jumping on the Stray bus, you’ll meet heaps of travellers with the same idea; to see beautiful places, make friends and unforgettable memories. The passengers on Stray buses are always a rad, welcoming, energetic group of people. You never know who you might meet on the bus… some passengers make best friends for life, and a few of them have fallen in love, gotten married and had babies!

Help you stress less and stay flexible

Stray is the ‘no stress’ way to get around. You don’t need to drive, navigate, work out where to go or where to stop. You just relax in air-conditioned comfort as your Driver Guide takes you on an awesome road trip. In saying that, what you choose to do is totally up to you! With 12 months to travel, you’re free to hop off, slow down, work, volunteer, or just play in the places you really love. Even better – you can retravel the route again for up to a year!

Give you environmental warm fuzzies

Care for the environment is something every company says, but not many actually do. We follow through with this promise, from our push to go paperless, to our driver training for increased fuel efficiency. We know that it is our responsibility to help protect our beautiful country for future generations of rad humans just like you.

Check out our passes, and come see what all the fuss is about for yourself!

Who is Stray?

We’re the flexible adventure travel network that gets you further off the beaten track in New Zealand (and Asia and Australia too). Our purpose is to share our people, our culture and our places with you beautiful people, and to be the energy for positive change. We’re seriously passionate about travel, and giving you experiences that you would not get if you went it alone. So come with us!

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

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.

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