Happy New Year, everyone! We are writing from Sydney, Australia right now. We came over to celebrate this special day with the rest of the world, but more on that in a future post.
A month ago, we left Argentina to spend 4 weeks exploring New Zealand, a country (and whole region) we had never set foot on before. At first glance, 4 weeks seems like a long time, but as we started discovering what was available in that vastly adventurous country, we realized it was going to be close to impossible. With that in mind, we flew into Auckland in a relaxed mood, expecting to make the best out of our time without rushing around or stressing out about our lack of time. What we managed to see, we would enjoy. What we didn’t manage to see would be left for a later adventure.
Once arrived and settled in Auckland, we began our planning for the whole month, while enjoying the many food options that Auckland has to offer, walking around its polished parks and even visiting Waiheke Island for a day. As all of this was going on, we randomly ran into a Peterpan Travel Agency on the street. Embracing our original spirit of spontaneity, we walked in. Before we knew it, we were walking out of there with a fully booked Stray pass each to tour across both north and south islands, in a packaged tour, right within our original time schedule!!
Stray is one of those tour buses that carry people around for days at a time, take care of the planning for you and guide you through main attractions while you take pictures mindlessly. Although that couldn’t sound further from our own style, there are a few qualities of Stray that caught our attention and, adding some spontaneity and novelty spirit, ultimately made it the right decision for us.
- Hop-on Hop-off: you can get off the bus at any of the destinations, spend a couple of extra days on your own and catch a later bus to keep going at no cost.
- Young people, but not too young: After some research, we learned that this kind of adventure can end up being either too dull if accommodating for older crowds, or too crazy if accommodating for young 18-20 year-olds. Stray seemed to hit just the right balance for our age, with most travelers landing between 20 and 35 years old.
- A special focus on getting further off the beaten path: Stray has worked hard to not only cover the main attractions the islands have to offer, but also come up with a few of their own, where mainstream tourism isn’t as common and more personal experiences can be found.
With these qualities in mind, and knowing that we would have many more months to explore other countries our own way, we decided to think differently, improvise and take the offer. We don’t regret it in the least.
In the following posts, we’ll recap the highlights of our Stray trip across the north and south islands!