Check out our most frequently asked questions to learn more about us and how Stray works.
1. ABOUT STRAY
Who travels with Stray?
Stray attracts adventurous travellers from all corners of the globe with the majority from the UK, Europe and America. When we say “adventurous”, we don’t mean we expect you to do a bungy jump or even a 10 mile hike… but an open mind and a thirst for exploration is important! Most are aged between 20 - 35 although we have no maximum age because we believe age doesn't matter - it's all about attitude! 75% of our travellers are travelling solo and some travel as part of a couple or group of friends.
Is it okay to travel alone?
Totally! A lot of our travellers arrive alone, others are with friends or partners. It doesn’t matter, because by the end of day one you will have already made a great group of friends on the bus! (“Meeting like-minded travellers” is frequently rated in the top 5 reasons to travel with us.)
How many people will I be travelling with?
Our groups are usually around 15-20 people, with summer being busier than winter. Our main buses seat 40 and we have 24-27 seaters that accommodate smaller routes and our day trip to the Blue Mountains.
Do I need to be really fit?
You don’t have to be an athlete to travel with us – all walks and activities are optional and there is something for everyone.
Is Stray a party bus?
Ultimately, Stray’s main priority is getting you out to see the real Australia, and we have some early starts so that we can fit as much adventure in as possible. What you do in your evenings is your own choice... However, of course we are a sociable bunch and we do enjoy a cold beer or two! Because many of our overnight stops are so "off the beaten track", you will find at many of these fine beverages are shared around a campfire rather than in a bar, but there's also plenty of opportunities to party in places like Byron Bay and Cairns.
Are you on the bus/train every day?
Stray includes free days (non-travel days) in our itinerary, e.g. Byron Bay and Magnetic Island, so even if you’re completing your Stray trip in the “minimum days” required you’ll still have time to do activities and explore each of these areas. We also include free mornings or afternoons in most places for you to do local activities, just relax or even do some necessary laundry!
Will there be WIFI on the bus?
No we don’t have WIFI on our buses and that’s for a couple of reasons:
- It doesn’t work all the way up the coast so we could offer it but you still couldn’t access it everywhere and at a decent speed (that’s the same for other bus companies who promote they offer it).
- It discourages actual human connection. Share stories and make friends, be in the 'now'! This way your experience becomes even more memorable.
2. PREPARING FOR YOUR TRIP TO AUSTRALIA
What should I pack?
You should bring…
- A backpack or small/medium suitcase (up to 15kg) filled with…
- Your clothes – mainly light but also at least one warm item
- Swimsuit / Towel
- Bug repellent
- Reef Safe Sunblock / Hat
- Day pack
- Water bottle
- Waterproof jacket (shell)
You won’t be needing…
- Sleeping bag
- Blankets or sheets
Do I need a visa?
Unless you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen, you will need a visa to enter Australia. If you just plan on visiting, you can apply for a visitor visa, and can spend up to 3 months in the country at a time.
If you plan on working while in the country, you must apply for a Working Holiday visa. A Working Holiday visa will enable you to work and travel in Australia for up to a year, and if you are a citizen of a qualifying country, you can even complete 88 days of farm work in order to gain an additional year to work in the country.
You can find more information about visas here: http://www.border.gov.au/.
How many days does it take to travel the East Coast?
Australia is the world’s largest island and with over 10,000 beaches along Australia’s coast, you won’t run out of places to soak up the sun.
Australia’s highway is the longest highway in the world, stretching 14,500km. It runs along nearly the entire diameter of the country and is called the Highway 1. Stray travels along the Highway 1 in some of our passes. On each pass page we’ve offered a minimum travel time as well as a suggested travel time, but with Stray you can take in the east coast at your own speed.
What's the weather like?
Australia is located on the southern hemisphere, which means the seasons are at opposite times to the seasons of countries in the northern hemisphere.
Because Australia is such a large country, the climate varies immensely. Most of the country is covered in desert, meaning the weather is very hot and dry. Desert regions can be found in the middle of the country, as well as in Western Australia.
The climate is temperate on the southeast and southwest corners of the country. Here you will have quite mild temperatures, without extreme hot or cold.
In the northern coastal areas of Queensland, the climate is tropical: hot and humid. The dry season takes places during the winter (May-October) and the wet season in summer (November-April). During the wet season, you can expect regular, heavy rain and even cyclones.
When is the best time to travel?
It’s arguable that the best time to travel in Australia is during the shoulder seasons (Sept-Nov and Mar-May) because the weather is typically warm but mild, and tourism isn’t quite as busy. Peak season takes place in the middle of summer (December/January/February) and many tours and accommodation are fully booked weeks in advance. If you avoid the busy summer season, you’ll have more freedom and less stress to travel your own way, however even in peak season Stray guarantees you accommodation, as hostels hold spaces for Stray customers.
How much should I budget per day?
This is up to the individual as you can sleep in the cheapest dorm, self-cater* and not do any extra activities and you could spend $60 – 70 per day. You could also stay in your own room*, eat at cafes/restaurants for every meal, and do every activity possible and spend up $300-$400 some days!
*Stray’s special stops are an exception as your dorm/camping accommodation, dinner and breakfast is usually $60 per person, or $75 – $120 with activities included.
Do I need travel insurance?
There is no travel insurance cover included with a Stray travel pass. We strongly recommend that you take insurance to cover you for cancellation, medical expenses, personal accident, personal baggage, money and public liability. We do not take responsibility for any personal possessions under any circumstances.
3. MANAGING YOUR PASS
What is hop-on-hop-off?
This means you have the flexibility to get on and off at any of our stops and stay longer. Your pass is valid for 12 months so you can even jump off to work or study for awhile and then just jump back on the next departure coming through the destination.
What is included in my Stray Travel Pass?
Hop-On Hop-Off: All transport along your pass route, guidance from your guide, access to the Stray Mate app, and some activities (see individual pass pages to see exactly what’s included for each pass).
Freestyle Tour: In addition to all transport along your pass route, guidance from your guide, access to the Stray Mate App, Freestyle Tours also include the first night's accommodation (sometimes 2 nights) at each stop as well as heaps of activities and some meals. (see individual tour pages to see exactly what is included for each tour).
What's not included in my pass?
Your accommodation, food and extra activities i.e. skydiving, Fraser Island trips, Whitsunday Island trips.
Can I change my departure date?
Absolutely! You change your departure date as late as 5pm the day before departure (preferably 24 hours in advance for rail sectors between Noosa/Rainbow Beach and Cairns). You can change your date by:
How long can I hop off for?
Our passes are valid for up to 1 year, so as long as you complete your pass within 12 months, you can hop off for as long as you want, as many times as you want!
Can I get off at any train station?
Yes if you’d like to hop off a train station not listed on the regular Stray itinerary as an overnight stop (such as Bundaberg, Maryborough, Miriam Vale etc), just email us. We recommend booking these sectors in advance especially during peak periods (Christmas/New Years/School Holidays) to ensure availability.
Can I visit any location on the East Coast not in the itinerary?
Possibly, depending on location we can either drop you off at the nearest bus stop or train station and/or have suggestions on how to get there. Please email us to find out more. We’re happy to figure out the best travel options for you!
Why do you travel with guides?
Your guide is there to help point you in the right direction, give you information on the places we visit and cool things to do there, and above all, make your trip awesome! If you’re a bit nervous about travelling and/or travelling by yourself they’ll be there to answer any questions you have, and help introduce you to the other travellers.
4. ACCOMMODATION AND ACTIVITIES
Is accommodation included?
Hop-On Hop-Off Passes: No it isn’t. This is so you can choose how long you want to stay in each location. You can book your accommodation yourself before you start your trip or you can use our Stray Mate app. We recommend booking at least a few days in advance at peak times as hostels hold allotments for Stray but will release these 1-2 days out. Check our pick up times and places for a list of departure points.
Freestyle Tours: Your first night's accommodation (sometimes two) at each stop along your itinerary is included with our Freestyle Tours. This takes the stress out of planning too many details of your trip and gives you a great starting point. Our tours combine the flexibility of our hop-on hop-off passes with more inclusions, so you can still hop-off at the places you like most and book additional accommodation. Note that a Freestyle Tour are not fixed itinerary so depending on which day you depart you may need to pay for 1-2 additional nights in some locations. The cost of additional accommodation outside of the nights included in your tour is not included, but can easily be booked via the Stray Mate app.
What is the cost of accommodation?
The average price for a multi-share dorm room is about $32, but accommodation varies from place to place along the coast. Dorm options start at around $22 and can range as high as $55 during peak/holiday season.
How do I book activities?
You book and pay for any activities as you go or prior to your trip. You can book on your Stray Mate app or with your Driver Guide. Feel free to ask them for recommendations!