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Stewart Island (Rakiura National Park)

Stewart Island is New Zealand's third largest island, approximately 75 kms long and 45 kms wide and separated from the South Island by the Foveaux Strait. The Island is relatively low lying and undulating with the highest point, Mt Anglem/Hananui just 981 metres high. The island is largely uninhabited and unmodified which led to 85% of the island being declared a national park in 2002, named Rakiura National Park. 

The name "Rakiura" is the Maori name for the island - which means "Glowing Sky", apt as Stewart Island enjoys spectacular sunrises, sunsets and aurora. The island is mainly covered in native bush, with wetlands, sand dunes and a varied coastline from sandy beaches to sheer cliffs. The coastline is fringed with vegetation and bordered by crystal clear waters hosting an abundance of marine life – fantastic for fishing and wildlife watching.  

Stewart Island is New Zealand's southernmost populated area, but has less than 400 residents who mostly live around Halfmoon Bay.  With just 28km of roads and 280km of walking tracks, the island is all about appreciating the natural wilderness. Nearby Ulva Island is an idyllic, predator-free bird sanctuary for rare and endangered bird and plant species, a paradise for birds and bird lovers.  The highlight for any visit to Stewart Island and Rakiura National Park is the isolation and the untouched, unspoilt wildlife and native bush.

Ulva Island Explorer

Ulva Island Explorer

A leisurely cruise of beautiful Paterson Inlet and a guided walk in the renowned bird sanctuary of Ulva Island. The cruise showcases some stunning scenery including the hidden coves and unspoilt beaches of Paterson Inlet. The local guides are passionate about this area and provide informative commentary during the scenic cruise. While on board look out for fur seals and penguins – there are a lot of them around. At Ulva Island there’s a 45 minute, easy guided walk. The island is a renowned wildlife sanctuary where many rare and endangered native species of birdlife and plants flourish in a predator free environment. Home to weka (native woodhen), bush robins, rare saddlebacks and yellowheads among other species. The tracks are well-formed and suitable for most ages and fitness levels and small group sizes make it highly personalised.
Includes Picnic Lunch.

Wild Kiwi Encounter

Wild Kiwi Encounter

This is your chance to view the iconic Kiwi in its natural habitat. These rare birds are a symbol of New Zealand and Stewart Island is the best place to view them in the wild. Depart Oban on the Foveaux Express from Halfmoon Bay at dusk and cruise across Paterson Inlet to Little Glory Cove. Cruise past historic settlement sites on The Neck and learn about Stewart Island’s rich history and nature along the way.
Once there, take a short guided bush walk by torchlight through spectacular coastal forest to a secluded sandy beach where Kiwi are often found searching for food after nightfall.  Here, in the darkness, you’ll get up close to the Southern Brown Kiwi in its unspoilt natural habitat. The native name for these amazing creatures is Rakiura Tokoeka (pronounced Rucky-oo-ruh Taw-kaw-eck-uh).  They are the Stewart Island variety of Brown Kiwi and are found nowhere else. After searching for kiwi, the group will return to the vessel along forest track and cruise back to Oban Main Wharf.

Stewart Island Ferry Bluff to Stewart Island Return

Stewart Island Ferry Bluff to Stewart Island Return

Stewart Island is perfect for a day excursion or an extended stay. Experience Foveaux Strait in comfort and style on board The Stewart island Experience express catamarans. During the one-hour crossing between Bluff and Stewart Island keep a look out for wildlife, including seals, dolphins and sea birds. Ferry schedules allow for almost a full day to explore Stewart Islands wonderful scenery and nature.

Guided Port William Walk with Rakiura Charters

Guided Port William Walk with Rakiura Charters

The Port William coastal track, part of the Rakiura Great Walk, is one of the island’s most popular half day walks. After a short cruise along the stunning coastline including historical commentary, you will be dropped off at the Port William Wharf. Here you can discover the former Maori Beach saw mill settlement on the 3-4 hour hike through the varied Rakiura National Park forest to Lee Bay.

Phil's Sea Kayaks

Phil's Sea Kayaks

Tours are all customisable showcasing Paterson Inlet on the beautiful Stewart Island.  You may visit Ulva or Te Wharawhara marine reserve historic site, spot seahorses, penguins or mollymawk before you land on a golden sandy beach for a cup of tea and some baking.  Tours utilize very stable, sit-in sea kayaks that are easily steered with a foot-operated rudder.  The tour is not a marathons and times/routes reflect the best option for the prevailing conditions.

 

Stewart Island Full Day Trip

Stewart Island Full Day Trip

 

 

Stewart Island Village and Bays Tour

Stewart Island Village and Bays Tour

The Village and Bays tour is a must for any visitor to Stewart Island. An informative insight into island life, culture and history, the 1 1/2 hour tour takes in Lee Bay, Horseshoe Bay and Observation Rock amongst others. With photo opportunities and some great tales along the way, the tour is not to be missed.

Tequila Fishing Charters Stewart Island

Tequila Fishing Charters Stewart Island

Discover your one-of-a-kind fishing experience on the fishing vessel Tequila, while taking in the spectacular surroundings of Foveaux Strait and Stewart Island. Using traditional hand lines, you will be able to fish for your own Blue Cod to take home. Observe the workings of a local commercial fishing operation with a demonstration on how to prepare, set & retrieve cod pots and process the catch once landed. Keep your eye out for a great variety of sea and wildlife living in and around the waters of Stewart Island.

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New Zealand touring ideas

A popular style of touring is to take a preplanned self drive road trip.  After a thorough consultation with you we expertly plan and create your self drive tour around New Zealand allows you the freedom to explore at leisure with the comfort and security of pre-booked activities and accommodations. Route suggestions, GPS and APP guidance plus local support mean you are in safe hands. See self drive ideas here

If you prefer to let someone else do the work then an escorted small group tour or a private guided tour might be for you. Our range of hand picked small group itineraries are ideal if you prefer to travel in the company of like minded people. These tours limit the number of participants which means different accommodation options, exclusive activities and of course a knowledgable guide ensures you get to see the best of New Zealand. See our small group tours here. 

A private guided tour offers true flexibility and the security of a knowledgable local guiding you all the way. Well planned itineraries ensure you see exactly what you want to see but with your own driver-guide you can adapt to suit the day or your preference. 100% tailor-made to suit you a private tour is a great option when travelling as a small group. all our self drive itineraries can be replanned and priced using a private driver and guide. Just contact us to discuss your needs.

All North Island touring ideas - explore the diverse North Island with these itinerary suggestions. See here

All South Island touring ideas - Iconic scenery and landscapes await on this made for touring island. See here

All Nationwide touring ideas - see the best of New Zealand on these all encompassing touring itinerary ideas. See here

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