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Kia Ora, welcome to Stewart Island.
Over 85 percent of the island is national park.
Stewart Island is New Zealand's third largest island and is 30 kilometers south of the South Island on Foveaux Strait.
Oban is the only urban settlement on the island.
Stewart Island is also known as Kiwi Island.
Stewart Island promises almost 100% kiwi sighting chances.
Ulva Island is a bird sanctuary.
The cute yellow-eyed penguins belong to the rarest penguin species.
Lonely beach on Stewart Island.
Enchanted landscape on Stewart Island.
Discover the untouched island.
A penguin road sign on Stewart Island.
Stewart Island is the last islet before Antarctica and is a unique animal and plant paradise.
Untouched nature on Stewart Island.
Stewart Island is a protected kiwi sanctuary.
Gannet colony off Stewart Island.
Have you ever seen a kiwi in real life? Stewart Island will give you the best chances of seeing one!
Another well-known bird of New Zealand is the kaka.
Unspoiled beach on Stewart Island.
The Kaka is another New Zealand bird which is under species protection.
On the trail of the national bird, the kiwi: great sighting opportunities in the Ulva Island Bird Sanctuary
Tour to Oban Bays
Includes a ferry ride across the Foveaux Strait
Excursion to the protected Rakiura National Park
The end of the world: get to know the natural paradise of Stewart Island
Stewart Island is New Zealand’s third-largest island and an adventure playground for hikers, nature lovers, and birdwatchers hoping to see the national bird, the kiwi. During this travel block, enjoy an exciting ferry ride across the Foveaux Strait, a visit to the original Rakiura National Park, and kiwi viewings on Ulva Island.
When you visit New Zealand, you must discover the country’s third-largest island, Stewart Island. The island, as big as Singapore, hardly has any inhabitants and attracts visitors to its wild nature and stunning animals. During the next three days, you will discover the island where you have the best chance of seeing the endangered national bird, the kiwi.
You can reach Rakiura, the island of the glowing sky, as the maori call Stewart Island, by ferry from the Bluff Visitor Terminal. Via the wild Foveaux Strait between the South Island and Stewart Island, you will reach Oban, the only place on the island with a population of around 380.
During the hour-long crossing from Bluff to Stewart Island, watch out for the albatrosses hovering overhead. On the ferry, the crew will inform you about the must-see highlights such as the Dog Island Lighthouse, Ruapuke Island, Titi Island, and Mt. Anglem, the highest point on the island. The ferry offers tea and fresh coffee during your journey.
When you arrive in Oban at the Stewart Island Terminal, a transfer will take you to your accommodation in the small town. There’s a pub, a fish and chip shop, and a police station in town. But it’s more about experiencing nature than about urban life. Stewart Island is the best place to see the native kiwi bird because it’s home to around 20,000, which are particularly easy to spot at night.
About 85 percent of the island are nature reserves, so it’s not surprising that you will find some of the best hiking trails!
Ferry crossing Bluff - Oban: approx. 1 hour
Bed and breakfast on Stewart Island, New Zealand
Today, explore Oban and its surrounding bays in a modern bus with a local guide. Begin your adventure at the Oban Visitor Center. The hour and a half tour will bring you closer to local life, history, nature, and inspiring Maori tales. There are many opportunities to get off the bus for photo stops of the beautiful scenery and nature walks. The tour highlights are the Rakiura National Park and the two bays Halfmoon and Horseshoe, overlooking the Paterson Inlet. The weather can get rough on Stewart Island; therefore, don't forget to bring comfortable clothes and insect repellant with you.
In the afternoon, follow the trail of the kiwi to the Ulva Island Bird Sanctuary. You can take the water taxi to the small island in front of Stewart Island and embark on a four-hour exploration tour. The Ulva Island Bird Sanctuary is a unique refuge without rats, possums, or other kiwi enemies. The sanctuary protects them here to ensure their chances of reproduction and distribution. You can also see other plant and animal species along the gravel paths. Your guide, an experienced naturalist, will bring you closer to this hidden piece of earth. Hike through the Gondwanaland rainforest, listen to the different bird species, and admire the untamed nature.
Bed and breakfast on Stewart Island, New Zealand
Today is your last day on Stewart Island. You can combine our travel block individually with every New Zealand tour. Or would you like to explore the island further and on foot? The most impressive hiking route is the 37-kilometer long Rakiura Track, one of New Zealand's nine Great Walks. For extensions or adjustments, please ask our travel advisors.
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Bay Motel***, Oban, Stewart Island, New Zealand
Bay Motel overlooks Halfmoon Bay and the Tasman Sea. The modern rooms have a kitchen, a fridge, microwave, tea/coffee-making facilities, and a balcony viewing the bay and the surrounding landscape. You can find shops and restaurants a five-minute walk away. The hotel has the perfect starting point for hiking tours in the Rakuira National Park.
Closest city: Oban
Closest airport: Christchurch International Airport
Duration of the trip: 3 days / 4 nights
2 nights in the mentioned accommodations:
Ferry crossing Bluff - Oban and back
Transfer from Stewart Island Ferry Terminal to the hotel and back
One and a half-hour excursion to Oban and its bays
Ulva Island Bird Sanctuary half-day tour
Village and Bay Tour Oban:
Duration: 1.5 hours
Meeting point: Oban Visitor Center at the Red Shed next to the ferry terminal
Ulva Island Bird Sanctuary:
Duration: 13:00 - 16:45
Meeting point: Golden Bay Wharf, from there a seven-minute water taxi ride to Ulva Island