Stewart Island
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Trish H-C
Stewart Island
,
New Zealand

Tour Stewart Island

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New Zealand

Inspiring you to tour Stewart Island and immerse yourself in its stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, and share your authentic travel experiences

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Stewart Island, known as Rakiura in Māori, is located south of New Zealand's South Island. It is the third-largest island of New Zealand, with its primary access point being the town of Oban. The island covers an area of 1,746 square kilometers and features a diverse landscape, including rugged coastlines, sandy beaches, dense forests, and mountainous terrains. The highest point on the island is Mount Anglem/Hananui, which stands at 980 meters above sea level.

Stewart Island has a temperate maritime climate, characterized by mild temperatures and high rainfall throughout the year. The weather can be unpredictable, with frequent shifts between sunny and rainy conditions. The altitude variation across the island influences the vegetation, with coastal areas featuring lush forests and higher elevations supporting subalpine flora.

The island is home to an array of unique plant species, including ancient podocarp forests dominated by rimu, miro, and totara trees. Stewart Island is also a haven for wildlife, hosting several rare and endangered species. It is one of the best places to see the native kiwi bird in its natural habitat, particularly the Stewart Island brown kiwi (tokoeka). Other notable fauna includes the New Zealand fur seal, the yellow-eyed penguin, and various seabirds.

Visitors to Stewart Island can engage in a variety of outdoor activities. Popular pursuits include hiking the Rakiura Track, one of New Zealand's Great Walks, which offers a three-day trek through stunning landscapes. Kayaking, fishing, and birdwatching are also popular. The island offers guided tours for wildlife spotting and educational excursions about its natural and cultural history.

Stewart Island holds significant cultural value for the Māori people, with many sites of historical and spiritual importance. The island’s Māori name, Rakiura, means "Glowing Skies," referencing the beautiful sunsets and the Southern Lights (Aurora Australis) that can sometimes be seen. Local traditions and stories, including those of early Māori navigation and settlement, enrich the cultural tapestry of the island.

Stewart Island is largely protected under the Rakiura National Park, which covers about 85% of the island. Conservation efforts focus on preserving its unique ecosystems and native species, with particular attention to controlling invasive species that threaten local biodiversity. Sustainable tourism practices are promoted to minimize environmental impact and maintain the island’s pristine condition.

Visitors to Stewart Island often remark on its tranquil and untouched atmosphere. Memorable experiences include the serenity of the island’s remote beaches, the thrill of spotting a kiwi in the wild, and the awe-inspiring beauty of its coastal and forest landscapes. Practical tips for visitors include preparing for rapidly changing weather and taking advantage of local guided tours to enhance their understanding and appreciation of the island’s natural and cultural heritage.

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Geeky Facts about Stewart Island

Fact 1

Stewart Island is home to over 280 kilometers of walking tracks.

Fact 2

The island’s Paterson Inlet is famous for its phosphorescent waters.

Fact 3

Stewart Island is one of the best places in the world to see the Aurora Australis.

Tours in Stewart Island

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New Zealand South Island Adventure

New Zealand South Island Adventure

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New Zealand
Tour type
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Active
Activity level
Activity Level
3 - Average

12 days from

£3,425 / person

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Unseen Stewart Island

Unseen Stewart Island

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New Zealand
Tour type
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Cruise
Activity level
Activity Level
1 - Easy

8 days from

£3,585 / person

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Southern Spirit

Southern Spirit

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New Zealand
Tour type
Tour Type
Small Group
Activity level
Activity Level
2 - Light

14 days from

£3,815 / person

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Beyond Fiordland: Wild Islands of New Zealand

Beyond Fiordland: Wild Islands of New Zealand

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New Zealand
Tour type
Tour Type
Cruise
Activity level
Activity Level
1 - Easy

12 days from

£7,250 / person

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Essence of New Zealand

Essence of New Zealand

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New Zealand
Tour type
Tour Type
Small Group
Activity level
Activity Level
2 - Light

18 days from

£5,150 / person

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Subantarctic Discovery

Subantarctic Discovery

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New Zealand
Tour type
Tour Type
Cruise
Activity level
Activity Level
1 - Easy

15 days from

£9,872 / person

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Queenstown Southern Loop

Queenstown Southern Loop

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New Zealand
Tour type
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Adventure Tours
Activity level
Activity Level
3 - Average

6 days from

£1,830 / person

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Stories from the Stewart Island

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