Breadcrumb
Destination view

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.

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.

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.

Stewart Island Full Day Trip

Stewart Island Full Day Trip

A perfect way to spend a day. Firstly relax on the scenic flight from Invercargill to Stewart Island. Then enjoy the 15-minute walk to Golden Bay Wharf to catch your water taxi to Ulva Island bird sanctuary. Spend an hour or two on Ulva Island strolling along the excellent walking tracks amongst podocarp forest, home to many endangered species. Return to Golden Bay and walk over to Oban township, where you may purchase lunch at one of the cafes. In the afternoon, learn more about Ulva on your 1.5-hour Island Explorer bus tour; discover landmarks and the history of the island, before finally meeting your return flight to Invercargill.

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.

Captivating Coastline Half Day Tour with Phil's Sea Kayaks

Captivating Coastline Half Day Tour with Phil's Sea Kayaks

Once you’re comfortable with the easy foot-operated steering and paddling strokes you’re off along the coastline taking in the natural beauty all around you. Rimu and Rata trees feature in the native bush reaching right to the high-tide zone – a precious insight into how much of the New Zealand coastline used to be. You’ll drop into bays and paddle around islands, all the time taking in the sights and sounds of the bountiful, unspoiled marine ecosystem. Fancy a hot drink, baking and a stroll along a remote beach? Done!

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.

Check out our travel blogs here

Get inspired with stories and advice on visiting New Zealand.

Planning your New Zealand touring holiday
Let the experts at Discover New Zealand help

Our team of New Zealand specialists can help you create the perfect touring itinerary. Whether you want to explore the South Island on a self drive holiday or the North Island on an escorted coach tour package we can design or recommend the best options. We have a huge range of accommodation ideas to suit everyone and our first hand experience of destinations and activities means that we can give the best, most up to date honest advice.

About Discover New Zealand

Discover New Zealand is part of the New Zealand Fine Touring Group of companies. It specialises in self drive, seat in coach and escorted coach touring holidays across New Zealand's North & South Islands. We have hundreds of tour ideas listed to inspire you or give you an indication of what is possible to achieve on your New Zealand adventure. Whether it is a luxury fully escorted coach tour or a self driven off the beaten track adventure, we have something suitable for everyone. Our wide range of tour lengths and tour prices give you options and are tailor made so we can build the itinerary to suit your interests and needs.
Our team of consultants are all 100% Pure New Zealand Certified specialists and are passionate about designing your New Zealand holiday. Our consultation service is free and our quotes are provided with no obligation. Based in the heart of Wanaka you can be assured you will get the best local advice when planning your dream holiday to New Zealand. Contact one of our experienced team today.
Discover New Zealand is also Qualmark Gold Certified. This is Tourism New Zealand's official measure of how our business impacts the environment and our team are proud to have achieved the highest level of quality.