14 Apr Gone A-STRAY On New Zealand’s North Island
New Zealand is a country that’s known for being overwhelmingly welcoming to backpackers. With so many young people on their year-long sabbatical to Australia (aided by a working visa so they can work at orchards and farms or the random odd-job to further fund their travels) New Zealand is frequently a starting or ending point on their journeys. In most towns there are often more hostels and backpacker lodges than traditional hotels, and costing under $18 USD a night for a bed in a dorm room, it’s the best and most economical way to travel… Especially if you’re traveling alone and on a budget like I am! Many of the people I’ve met saved up for quite awhile in order to come abroad, so cheap accommodation is crucial.
Another service that caters to the backpacker crowd is the extensive bus transit system that operates throughout both islands. Naked Bus is the most popular, and is known for having $1 fares if you book far enough in advance. There are also several hop-on/ hop-off bus tours, which I used for my first week here in order to meet people and get my bearings.
I picked the Stray bus, which essentially markets itself as being a little more active and going off the beaten path to places those other companies don’t. (Those other companies are the Kiwi Experience and the Magic Bus-known for attracting a bit of a younger crowd looking to party hardy alongside their travel.)
I met up with the Stray group in Auckland and have been traveling with my new friends the past week. “Trouble” was our driver, and I’ve met other backpackers from England, Wales, Korea, France, Ireland, Germany and the US along the way. I was really luck to have such a great, friendly group. Also, the weather has been absolutely perfect- crystal clear and not too cool.
Sadly, after a week, my time with the Stray bus is over and I’ve left the group to move further south down to Queenstown.
Since I’ve been a bit delinquent with my posting due to lack of free time and internet I’ll do a quick recap with the highlights shortly! Stay tuned…
Me and “Trouble”:
Some of my group out last night in Wellington: