The southern most island in New Zealand, Stewart Island is very relaxed and laid back and is reminiscent of what the rest of New Zealand was once like. Friendly people, beautiful beaches and close to "The Mainland", at Bluff.


Stewart Island is named after William Stewart. In 1809 he was aboard the "Pegasus", sailing from Port Jackson, Australia on a sealing expedition. While the boat was in the large south eastern harbour which now bears its name, [Pegasus], William Stewart began charting the southern coasts, and his work is acknowledged by the island's name. One of the Maori names given to the island, Rakiura, recalls glowing sunrises, sunsets, and the aurora australis, or Southern Lights. For those who enjoy walking, Stewart Island offers an array of fabulous walks whatever your fitness or ability. Each walk has something different to offer, from bush to birds, scenery and landforms.

The Rakiura Track is a moderate 3 day hike through native forest along coastal areas and sites of historical significance. This 36 km track is one of New Zealand's Great Walks and offers a great introduction to tramping. Stewart Island tracks are open all year round but the weather is unpredictable. Fishing here has been part of the life on Stewart Island from the days of the earliest Maori occupation. Blue Cod, Crayfish and Paua are all very popular here.

Stewart Island offers some of the best land and sea birding in New Zealand. Bird Watchers come from all over the world to enjoy the birds here. Largely unmodified, the island provides excellent habitat and food for native birds. The sea surrounding the island is rich in food and attractive to a large number of sea birds. Ulva Island is the jewel in the crown here with a predator-free environment for rare and endangered birds including the South Island Saddleback, mohua, rifleman, and Stewart Island Robin. Other birds found on Stewart Island include bellbird, tui, kaka, tomtit, grey warbler, kakariki,  and the New Zealand Wood Pidgeon.  Some of the birds are unique to the region and include the weka, robin and fernbird. The Stewart Island Brown Kiwi or the Southern Tokoeka, Apteryx Australis Lawyri - is one of six identified species of Kiwi. Kiwi are flightless and nocturnal, however, the Stewart Island Brown Kiwi is active during the day and night. There are estimated to be 20,000 here.

Seabirds abound in the coastal waters due to the rich supply of food. Albatross, mollyhawk, prion, petrel, cormorants and blue penguin are regularly seen. Sooty Shearwater are seen in large numbers during their breeding season.

Ulva Island is a forested island situated within Paterson Inlet and managed by the Department of Conservation as an Open Island Sanctuary. It is one of few predator-free sanctuaries for native birds and plants in New Zealand. A visit to Ulva Island is a "must do" for anyone interested in native birds and flora. With its well maintained tracks the island offers an easy walk for most people and a chance to enjoy the lovely beaches and views.

At latitude 47 degrees south [the "Roaring Forties"], the weather is often unpredictable, but the climate is surprisingly temperate with summer temperatures climbing to the mid-20's. However, because showers and cold snaps can occur at any time, clothing and footwear for "all seasons" is recommended.

Stewart Island is New Zealand's newest National Park. Stewart Island is able to be accessed by daily ferry service from Bluff on the mainland via Foveaux Strait, or by daily regular scheduled light aircraft from Invercargill Airport. This untouched paradise is a haven for any traveler wishing to get away from it all. 

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