Stewart Island

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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.

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Stewart Island: Wild Kiwi Encounter

2. 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.

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Stewart Island: Village and Bays Tour

3. 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.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Stewart Island

Want to discover all there is to do in Stewart Island? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Stewart Island

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 45 reviews

It’s the middle of winter The forecast is for hail, thunderstorms, strong westerlies and rain and we decide to go to Stewart Island and Ulva Island. Mad? Not at all. It was a wonderful trip. The ferry crossing was fairly calm, the trip around Paterson Inlet was interesting and very lovely and Ulva was a revelation: so beautiful, so interesting and full of life. Our guide was knowledgable and made the tour fun and fascinating. Recommended.

Great guide who pointed out the flora and fauna of the island and took time to explain and answer questions.

Great host and very informative, Would recommend people to take the time and do it,

Very enjoyable and information cruise and guided walk around Ulva Island.

Very enjoyable tour around the bays and informative guide