New Zealand’s third largest landmass is Stewart Island, but it also has an extremely tiny population of only 381 people that live predominantly in the eastern part of the island, within the Oban settlement. Fishing is the area’s main industry, but tourism is growing in prominence as more people visit the island. The island experiences plenty of rainfall but is also quite warm. Therefore, it’s a very green island with a plethora of flora, fauna, and animals that thrive in this climate. Much of the island is unspoiled due to its small human population. Tourists who enjoy visiting regions that seem untouched by modernity will absolutely love Stewart Island!
1. Immerse yourself in nature at Ulva Island
Ulva Island is a popular choice for many visitors due to its unspoiled beauty. It’s an incredibly clean and green environment, with plenty of vegetation and bird life. You may even be lucky enough to spot a kiwi! You can choose to hire a guide or explore the area yourself, but give yourself at least two hours to see as much as possible.
Address: Stewart Island, New Zealand
2. Take a boat trip with the Stewart Island Ferry
This is the catamaran which provides transport from ant to Stewart island. It is so fast and when you are sitting in the front, It is like on a roller-coaster.Posted by Roman Hodain on Sunday, 14 June 2009
There’s no better way to travel to Stewart Island, the Foveaux Strait, and surrounding islands then with Stewart Island’s catamaran service. The on board staff is friendly and helpful, providing much information about the region’s wildlife and important landmarks. This service also offers passengers complimentary tea and coffee. The catamaran departs from Bluff coast where there’s ample free parking near the terminal. A return trip is around 180 NZD (125 USD) per adult, which is great value for money for such an experience.
Stewart Island Experience
Address: Stewart Island Visitor Terminal, Main Wharf, Stewart Island 9846, New Zealand
Website: Stewart Island Experience
3. Watch a cultural movie at the Bunkhouse Theatre
Poi E: The Story of Our Song is screening tonight at 7.30pm. "...the film is joyful, artistic, and most importantly; distinctly Kiwi." NZ Herald Last NZ Independent Film for the season!Posted by Stewart Island Bunkhouse Theatre on Tuesday, 4 April 2017
Don’t allow Stewart Island’s lack of a large population convince you that there’s nothing interesting taking place. In fact, this island has its own theatre that features a locally produced film about its inhabitants, history, and local economy. Visit the cozy Bunkhouse Theatre to watch an interesting film that’s narrated by the resident dog!
Address: 10 Main Road, Stewart Island 9846, New Zealand
Facebook: Stewart Island Bunkhouse Theatre
4. Tour the island with Village and Bay Cultural Tours
Stewart Island’s local settlement, Oban, offers visitors plenty of stunning sights, interesting landmarks, and surrounding bays to discover. Take one of the Village and Bay tours on a modern mini-bus that will shuttle you around destinations such as the Rakiura National Park, Lee Bay, and Horseshoe Bay. The entire tour lasts around an hour-and-a-half and costs approximately 60 NZD (42 USD) per adult.
Village and Bay Cultural Tours
Address: Oban Visitor Centre, Elgin Terrace, Stewart Island 9846, New Zealand
Website: Stewart Island Experience
5. Hike on the Rakiura Track
The view at the Port William campsite, one of the many great stops on Stewart Island's Rakiura TrackPosted by Stewart Island Experience on Wednesday, 20 January 2016
Without any doubt, Stewart Island is a lavish landmass with plenty of gorgeous beaches, stunning birdlife, and bountiful bushes. It would be a wasted opportunity to visit without getting close and personal with the island’s rich natural beauty. Experience it all by hiking on the Rakiura Track, which is a 32-kilometer (20 mile) trek through luscious forests and Maori settlements that takes three days to complete.
Address: Lee Bay Road, Rakiura National Park, Stewart Island, New Zealand
6. Watch the island’s birds with Nature and Wildlife Tours
Guided group taking a break on a scenic beach on Ulva Island.Posted by Ruggedy Range Wilderness Experience - Stewart Island on Thursday, 19 November 2015
Do you enjoy bird watching when visiting various destinations? Then, the Ruggedy Range Wilderness Experience might just be what you’re looking for! This tour offers visitors walks through Steward and Ulva Islands that focus predominantly on the natural habitat of wildlife and birds. Trips are varied and visitors can expect to travel through wetlands, forests, wild beaches, and dunes. The tour guides are on hand to provide travelers with important information about the areas they visit.
Ruggedy Range Wilderness Experience
Address: 14 Main Rd, Oban, Stewart Island 9846, New Zealand
Website: Ruggedy Range Wilderness Experience
7. Navigate the waters of the island with a kayak tour
Rakiura Kayaks is a company that specializes in kayaking in the region. They offer kayak tours around Stewart Island complete with a friendly guide on hand. Therefore, those who don’t have much experience with kayaking are in good hands. There are various tours available at different price points, with a guided half-day tour costing 80 NZD (55 USD) and the full-day tour priced at 115 NZD (80 USD) per person.
Address: Liz Cave & Heath Allen, Stewart Island 9846, New Zealand
Website: Rakiura Kayaks
8. Catch fish with fishing charters and tours
Feeding and photographing albatross and giant petrels on a birding trip on a recent crisp autumn morningPosted by Rakiura Charters & Water Taxi - Stewart Island on Saturday, 12 April 2014
The Rakiura Charters & Water Taxi service offers a comprehensive range of normal and fishing tours. A typical guided tour to Ulva Island costs 320 NZD (222 USD) per adult and 180 NZD (125 USD) per child, while a fishing tour costs 135 NZD (94 USD) per adult and 95 NZD (66 USD) per child. The fishing tours are great as visitors are provided with a rod and reel and they may be lucky enough to catch the region’s Blue Cod!
Rakiura Charters & Water Taxi
Address: 10 Main Rd., Halfmoon Bay, Stewart Island 9846, New Zealand
Website: Rakiura Charters & Water Taxi
9. Get ecological with Stewart Island Water Taxi & Eco Guiding
Eco-tourists and treasure hunters are in for a treat! The Stewart Island Water Taxi & Eco Guiding offers travelers a vast range of touring services that are aimed at the environmentally conscious. They offer coast-to-coast packages, visits to the Ulva Island Bird Sanctuary, and trips to the Rakiura National Park. There’s plenty of opportunities for visitors to learn about natural hot spots and take photographs.
Stewart Island Water Taxi & Eco Guiding
Address: 44 Elgin Terrace, Oban 9818, New Zealand
10. Take a guided tour of Ulva’s Bird Sanctuary
Lovely photo of a Morepork taken by Dot, one of the summer volunteers on Ulva Island.Posted by Ulva's Guided Walks on Saturday, 1 April 2017
Ulva’s Guided Walks is one of the original bird watching services on the island. Their walking tours are diverse, which include guided tours of Ulva Island, Ulva’s Bird Sanctuary, Port William, and bird and kiwi watching. They have extensive knowledge of the birdlife in the region and will help visitors spot rare birds.
Ulva’s Guided Walks
Address: Ulva Island Bird Sanctuary, Oban, Stewart Island, New Zealand
Website: Ulva’s Guided Walks
Stewart Island is a sanctuary for nature lovers
It’s not often that one comes across a destination that’s unspoiled and rich in natural diversity like Stewart Island. The island may be small, but that’s part of its charm and make it easy to get from one point to another. Furthermore, many of the tours offer good value for money that should satisfy even budget conscious travelers.
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