An Unspoilt Southern Paradise
The 5-day guided Stewart Island Track hike takes you on a loop of the island from sweeping, remote Mason Bay in the west to Halfmoon Bay, site of island's only town, Oban.
This 5-day trip will have you walking, water taxiing and flying! A highlight: the bird sanctuary of Ulva Island.
Day 1: Invercargill
Welcome to Invercargill, New Zealand's southernmost city, and a handy stop-off point as we prepare for tomorrow's journey to Stewart Island (known in Maori as Rakiura). Your accommodation tonight is at the Victorian Railway Hotel. You'll meet your friendly guide for a trip briefing at 6 pm, followed by an evening meal.
Day 2: Invercargill to Mason Bay, Stewart Island
An exciting start to the day. You will fly by light plane from Invercargill Airport, past Codfish Island, an important sanctuary for the rare, flightless kakapo parrot, to Mason Bay. The plane will land on the bay's sweeping crescent-shaped beach (the landing time is therefore tide-dependent). It's an isolated wonderland. Tonight is our night in the wilderness. We'll walk to the Mason Bay Hut and camp alongside. Tonight keep your eyes peeled for tokoeka (Stewart Island kiwi), and your ears open to hear its haunting calls.
Day 3: Mason Bay to Halfmoon Bay
We'll start with an flat, easy walk to Freshwater Landing, on the Freshwater River. You'll see huge sand dunes, towering tussocks, and native manuka trees. The trees are a habitat for native robins, kiwi, and many other endemic birds.
We'll take a water taxi from the landing for a half-hour river ride across Paterson Inlet to Halfmoon Bay.
Tonight, we'll have electricity and running water again! We'll stay in a 'crib' — the Southland term for a simple holiday home.
Day 4: Halfmoon Bay and Ulva Island
Today we'll explore Halfmoon Bay, a large bay on the east of Stewart Island. We will also walk out to Ackers Point exploring history and the lighthouse on the point
One of the highlights of the day is a visit to Ulva Island, one of several islands in the inlet. Ulva is an important plant and bird sanctuary, hosting many species that have died out on the mainland. You may see birds including the green kaka parrot and the kakariki (a parakeet); the kukupa (plump native wood pigeon); the small, colourful mohua (Yellowhead); the tieke (saddleback) with its brown saddle-like back markings and orange wattles); and the weka, a flightless wood hen with a big attitude.
Tonight we'll stay in the same accommodation.
Day 5: Halfmoon Bay, Invercargill
Today you'll explore Halfmoon Bay. Try one of the many local short walks, visit one of the local craft galleries, or just relax!
At about 1:30 pm, you'll return by air to Invercargill with great memories of the rugged and beautiful southern paradise that is Stewart Island.
**This tour is run in conjunction with another operator.
Dates For Next Summer
- November: 15, 30
- December: 15, 30
- January: 12, 27
- February: 11, 26
- March: 12, 28
- April 13, 28
We can build a tour especially for you or your group.