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Stewart Island

Stewart Island: Our most recommended tours and activities

Stewart Island: 2.5-Hour Cruise and Ulva Island Guided Walk

1. Stewart Island: 2.5-Hour Cruise and Ulva Island Guided Walk

Discover Stewart Island from the water with a 2.5-hour experience including a cruise of beautiful Paterson Inlet and a 45-minute guided walk in Ulva Island Wildlife Sanctuary. Admire Paterson Inlet’s stunning scenery from hidden coves to unspoilt beaches. Hear fascinating stories of early Maori history and European settlement from your guide as you pass various landmarks. Your passionate guide will provide engaging commentary and is more than happy to answer questions. While on board, keep a lookout for fur seals, penguins and other wildlife, as sightings are common. Paterson Inlet is home to renowned wildlife sanctuary Ulva Island. Disembark here for a 45-minute guided walk with a specialist nature guide. The island is home to weka (native woodhen), bush robins, rare saddlebacks and yellowheads amongst other species. It is also a protected habitat for some of New Zealand’s rarest plant species. Relax for the remainder of the cruise around Paterson Inlet and enjoy the coastal scenery before heading back to the wharf.

Stewart Island: Village and Bays Tour

2. Stewart Island: Village and Bays Tour

Are you ready to leave behind the hustle and bustle of city life? Explore New Zealand's Southernmost community from the comfort of a modern mini bus. The local guides are passionate about Stewart Island and enjoy sharing their in-depth knowledge of the history and environment of the region. During the tour, your friendly guides will take you on a journey though Oban township and across numerous picturesque bays and inlets. Unspoiled, incredibly beautiful, and steeped in stories of Maori legend, Stewart Island is well worth this informative introduction. There is plenty of time to get off the bus for photo stops and short walks along the way. Highlights include the Rakiura National Park entrance at Lee Bay, Halfmoon and Horseshoe Bays, and views of Paterson Inlet from Observation Rock.

Stewart Island: Wild Kiwi Encounter

3. Stewart Island: Wild Kiwi Encounter

At dusk, depart from Stewart Island's Halfmoon Bay in a catamaran. Cruise across Paterson Inlet to Little Glory Cove, passing Ulva Island, a predator-free sanctuary, and learning about Stewart Island's rich history along the way. Once at Little Glory Cove, disembark onto a wharf at the southern part of the peninsula known as The Neck. The walk, led by your nature guide, is on a well-formed track across the peninsula, through spectacular coastal forest to a secluded sandy beach. As dusk sets in and daylight diminishes, venture by torchlight through the native forest with the stars and forest night sounds around you. The walk will take about 45 minutes one-way and the track emerges on to Ocean Beach. Keep your eyes peeled for Southern Brown Kiwi (Rakiura Tokoeka) searching for food among the seagrass on the beach. Afterward, retrace your steps through the forest to Little Glory Wharf for your catamaran ride back to Oban township on Stewart Island.

From Queenstown: Day Trip to Stewart Island by Plane

4. From Queenstown: Day Trip to Stewart Island by Plane

Take a trip by plane from Queenstown to New Zealand's southernmost island, Stewart Island, also known as Rakiura. Explore the island at your own leisure for the day, including its impressive national park, before being flown back to the mainland. Start in Queenstown, where you'll be picked up and taken to your flying location. From there, you'll fly south over the Oreti River, before enjoying views over Toetoes Bay on the southern coast. Pass over Dog Island and Ruapuki Island before reaching your destination. Once at Stewart Island, enjoy the flexibility to create your own itinerary for the day. Consider exploring Rakiura National Park, which makes up over 85% of the island and is a paradise for birdwatching and hiking. Look out for the Tokoeka (brown kiwi bird) native to the island. Plan your day with help from your local pilot. Choose from walks along the coastline, rainforest hikes, and the option to visit Ulva Island via water taxi. Stop for lunch at Kai Kart, famous for its fish and chips. At the end of your adventure, you'll be flown back to Queenstown and dropped off at your hotel.

  • Guided tours
  • Water activities
  • Adventures

Top sights near Stewart Island

Other Sightseeing Options in Stewart Island

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What people are saying about Stewart Island

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 108 reviews

Very enjoyable trip with excellent Driver (Bevan’s) commentary. His knowledge of the island is amazing and his Māori knowledge and spoken word, is amazing. Bus is very comfortable to travel in and very safe. You certainly won’t be disappointed if you go on this trip. Thank you Bevan for a very enjoyable 1 1/2 hours. Betty & Garry Baker, Levin, New Zealand. 11 Jan 2023.

it was an informative and enjoyable tour. I couldn't believe how many birds we saw up close on ulva island. and the overall experience was made special by Bevan and especially Karen with their enthusiasm and knowledge

Excellent trip with good commentary on the boat on the way over, along with a very informative and friendly guide. Also appreciated the punctuality of the trip.

Awesome! We saw so much wildlife as well as seeing the kiwis, and the guides and crew really looked after us all, and were just as excited to see the wildlife!

This is ASB excellent option if you’re limited in time, getting a good look at what’s to offer.