25 pictures to encourage you to go to Rakiura/Stewart Island

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After I first stepped foot on Rakiura/Stewart Island years in the past, I knew I might find it irresistible there. I didn’t know the way a lot of a mark it will have on me. 

New Zealand’s third island is called a haven for wildlife lovers. Not like the remainder of New Zealand, stoats, goats, mice, or pigs had been by no means launched to Stewart Island, which allowed the uncommon chook life to hold on whereas it was decimated elsewhere. That being mentioned, it’s nonetheless declining, because of issues like feral cats (the worst).

Nevertheless, Rakiura/Stewart Island nonetheless ranks excessive as the most effective locations in New Zealand to rise up shut and private with the wildlife. It’s additionally the most effective locations to have the prospect to see kiwi within the wild. Residence to solely a pair hundred folks, Rakiura very a lot seems like a special period, maybe even a glimpse of what New Zealand used to appear to be or may even appear to be once more.

stewart island travel

stewart island travel

As somebody who feels inherently linked to the land, Rakiura spoke to my soul the primary time I used to be right here.

After which it left an indelible mark on me once I stumbled throughout a whole lot of stranded pilot whales on a distant seashore tramping. Days from assist and fully off the grid, this traumatic expertise modified my life. On the time, I assumed I might by no means return to Stewart Island. However ultimately, I made peace with it.

A part of Southland, Stewart Island is totally magical no two methods about it. It’s far too particular to disregard. 

I spend a minimum of per week right here every year, and final summer season was no exception. I flew over and again from Invercargill for the primary time as a substitute of cruising throughout, which provided a special expertise. Listed below are a few of my favourite snaps from my Stewart Island journey – get pleasure from!

stewart island travel

stewart island travel

Go to Ulva Island and get your chook nerd on 

One of many highlights of any go to to Rakiura/Stewart Island is embracing all the birdlife. And the most effective locations on Stewart Island is somewhat island a brief boat trip away from the principle city, Oban, within the Paterson Inlet. Most of our predator-free offshore islands which can be chook sanctuaries are closed to the general public and require a allow to entry. Ulva Island is among the few exceptions.

There are numerous methods to expertise Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara, however I at all times discover a whole lot of worth in guided wildlife journeys – and Ulva’s Guided Walks isn’t any exception. Began by native Ulva in 2000, it’s an unbelievable expertise. Following alongside behind Ulva like her shadow, her power and keenness had been infectious; I discovered quite a bit from the expertise (and I already know quite a bit about birds).

Pest-free since 1997, Ulva Island gives a glimpse of what New Zealand’s unbelievable nature and birdlife may appear to be with out predators. Amongst pristine rainforests and beautiful seashores, you’ll discover lots of our rarest birds, reminiscent of kiwi, tīeke/saddleback, and mohua/yellowhead. 

stewart island travel

stewart island travel

stewart island travel

stewart island travel

Fly out to Mason Bay and go tramping

Prior to now, with Stewart Island journey, I’ve at all times taken the ferry or a ship throughout the well-known Foveaux Strait from Bluff (and one time a helicopter, however that’s a narrative for an additional time). Solely an hour, it’s a straightforward technique to entry the island.

Stewart Island Flights operates small locations from Invercargill to Stewart Island a couple of instances per day, and it’s an epic technique to hop throughout rapidly with some nice views. However a little-known secret is that they will additionally land their small planes on the lengthy sandy seashores round Stewart Island. Distant and wild, these seashores usually sit on the well-known North West Circuit Track. By flying in, you may get provides dropped off. You can begin and end tramping wherever you need, shortening an extended observe. 

For those who’re eager to see a distant a part of Stewart Island, right here’s my greatest tip. Catch a flight to Mason Bay and keep on the Mason Bay backcountry DOC hut for an evening or two. Drop your pack and discover throughout the world – it’s epic! I at all times see kiwi right here too. Then stroll out to Freshwater Touchdown and catch the water taxi again to city with Rakiura Charters. You’ll get the very best of the whole lot in a brief time frame. 

stewart island travel

stewart island travel

stewart island travel

stewart island travel

stewart island travel

stewart island travel

Get out on the water and search for seabirds

Whereas staying on Stewart Island, it’s an absolute should to get out on the water and discover the island. When you have a ship, your greatest wager is hopping on one of many many guided boat excursions. Stewart Island is among the few locations on this planet the place you’ll be able to simply see a number of the most luxurious seabirds, like albatross. 

Ulva’s Guided Walks and Rakiura Charters run a land and sea bird full-day tour. This can get you out onto the water and likewise a guided journey round Ulva Island for the day. Each are must-dos!

stewart island travel

stewart island travel

stewart island travel

stewart island travel

Eat at Fin and Feather

Stewart Island journey requires some planning upfront. It’s small, and also you’re restricted by way of lodging and eateries. I used to be so stoked to see a brand new place pop up in time for my go to final summer season – Fin and Feather Eatery – a gourmand meals truck proper in the course of city. Their menu modifications on a regular basis, and their hours range quite a bit, however no matter they’ve is implausible.

I ate there three completely different instances. And would have gone again for extra. 

stewart island travel

stewart island travel

Search for kiwi after darkish

If you end up on Stewart Island after darkish, it’s an absolute should to search for kiwi. There’s at all times an opportunity you’ll be able to stumble throughout kiwi wherever on the island. However if you happen to aren’t an enormous chook nerd and are unfamiliar with their calls and on the lookout for them, then your greatest wager is to hop on a kiwi recognizing tour. 

I spent a night with locals Beaks and Feathers as we wandered round non-public land on the lookout for kiwi. We noticed 10, together with infants. If you’re chook looking at evening, you have to use a purple gentle so that you simply don’t trouble or shock the kiwi, and it means that you can see higher in low gentle, which is why I don’t have pictures. It’s a good way simply to sit down again and luxuriate in a implausible expertise.

The Rakiura tokoeka/Stweart Island kiwi is a subspecies of the southern brown kiwi, and they’re uncommon in a number of methods. A bit extra frequent than the remainder of our kiwi, it’s estimated that round 20,000 of them are nonetheless on Rakiura. They’re additionally well-known for being lively in the course of the daytime, and they’re massive. The most important of the kiwi, with massive women virtually reaching to your knees. Additionally they aren’t solitary, and so they dwell in household teams.

Keep at Argyle Flats

Discovering a spot to remain on Stewart Island has lengthy been difficult – you have to ebook locations nicely upfront as a result of there’s restricted lodging. This time round, I obtained to remain in a model new construct – the Argyle Apartments, proper on the town. Flash, cozy, and shut by, the views out over Half Moon Bay and the encircling bush had been simply magical. They usually had houseplants. 10/10. 

stewart island travel

stewart island travel

Try the Rakiura Museum/Te Puka o Te Waka

I like small-town museums, and the Rakiura Museum doesn’t disappoint. Housing an intensive assortment showcasing the early historical past right here, from muttonbirding to Māori and whaling settlements, Rakiura was very a lot an interesting wild west. The tales are wild, and I typically think about what life would have been like again then. 

An avid reader and author, I at all times choose up a couple of books from museum reward retailers that share extra in-depth tales concerning the place. Typically the books there are onerous to seek out, small print run or self-published, making them much more distinctive. 

Have you ever been to Rakiura/Stewart Island earlier than? Have any Stewart Island journey suggestions? Share!

stewart island travel

stewart island travel

Many because of Nice South for internet hosting me on Stewart Island; like at all times, I’m maintaining it actual – like you could possibly count on much less from me!