An Unspoilt Southern Paradise.
“Picture yourself in the Southern most island of New Zealand wandering under a stadium of stars to try your luck at native kiwi spotting”.
Stewart Island offers the best chance most people will ever have to see New Zealand’s national bird, the kiwi, in its natural environment. Rest assured not many New Zealanders can make that claim.
Many centuries ago Maori came by canoe to the island to harvest shellfish and mutton birds, traditions still carried out today by local iwi. They named the island Rakiura – ‘Land of the Glowing Skies’ as it is renowned for lingering summer sunsets and the Aurora Australis or Southern Lights.
Our five day guided walk takes a nice loop across Stewart Island. Starting in the southern town of Invercargill we travel to Mason Bay on the West Coast of Stewart Island. Then walk, water taxi and sea kayak our way across the island to Halfmoon Bay. A visit to the stunning open sanctuary Ulva Island and some time to explore Halfmoon Bay before flying back to the mainland at Invercargill.
5 days / 4 nights
Above average level of fitness. Walk 20kms, Bike 45kms. Formed tracks and roads with average to steep inclines at times.
Do you have another date in mind?We can build a tour especially for your group, please enquire for dates available.
Victorian Railway Hotel
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 the Victorian Railway Hotel. You’ll meet your friendly guide for a trip briefing at 6pm, followed by an evening meal.
Invercargill to Mason Bay, Stewart Island
Departure time changes with the tide ( literally ! ) Fly by light plane from Invercargill airport to Mason Bay passing Codfish Island, an important Kakapo sanctuary. Landing on Mason Bay beach we take some time to explore this isolated wonderland walking to the Mason Bay Hut, the one night where we “rough it” camping alongside the Mason Bay Hut.
This evening we will see if we can spot one of the local residents, a kiwi. Stewart Island Kiwi, or Tokoeka in Maori, are unique in that they are sometimes seen during the day so if you do miss out under the stars there is always tomorrow!.
Mason Bay, Freshwater to Halfmoon Bay
Southland Crib (holiday home)
An easy ( flat ) walk across the Island to Freshwater. Massive sand dunes, head high tussock and Manuka trees house many native birds, including kiwi’s and robins.
At Freshwater Landing we meet the water taxi for a half hour ride down Freshwater River and across Paterson Inlet to Halfmoon Bay. Tonight we stay in a classic Southland “crib” or holiday home with power and a shower! Dinner is generally fresh Salmon caught that day.
Halfmoon Bay and Ulva Island
3 to 5 hours
Today we explore Halfmoon Bay by foot and water taxi. In the morning ( this can alter depending on the weather ) we take a walk to Ackers Point exploring historic buildings on our way to the lighthouse.
Then we visit Ulva Island, an open sanctuary playing an important role in the conservation of threatened species. Birds we may see include the weka, kaka, kakariki, kukupa, mohua and tieke.
This is our second night in Halfmoon Bay.
Halfmoon Bay to Invercargill
Time to explore Halfmoon Bay. Try one of many short walks, visit a local craft gallery, or just soak up the island ambience.
In the afternoon ( generally the 1:30pm flight ) we fly to Invercargill for the completion of our journey.
Many customers chose to stay an extra night or two on Stewart Island or back in Invercargill.
All food on the tour is included in your tour cost. You will enjoy great local cuisine; continental breakfasts and hearty packed lunches during the day, and either restaurant meals or wholesome home-cooked fare prepared by your host/hostess in the evenings.
If you have any dietary issues or food allergies, we are happy to cater for these, please advise the office of details when you make your booking.
Our guides are very experienced, friendly walkers and bikers who love to share their knowledge of New Zealand’s flora and fauna and local history. They all hold current first aid certificates, passenger driving licences and are the very best people to ensure your experience will be one to remember.
We do the Rest.