Explore Rakiura - Stewart Island

From Invercargill to Stewart Island Rakiura
  • Stewart Island & Chatham Islands
  • Wildlife and Nature
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Tour Description

Kiwis in the wild? Wildlife, birdsong, remote beaches, forests, great seafood and very few people. Take a week and explore off the beaten path, Rakiura – Stewart Island. This is the largest island National Park in New Zealand, located just 30km south of the South Island.

Enjoy the views over Oreti Beach and Foveaux Strait during the short 20-minute scenic flight from Invercargill, before you land in Oban, population just a little over 400. A friendly local host will be there to greet you, and plan your week ahead over a cup of tea or coffee.

Kiwi spotting will be one of the highlights of your week. You can hope to see them in the wild when they come out at night to feed. There are more kiwis than people here, so luck will hopefully be on your side! Another day, take a tour to Ulva Island, unique predator-free environment and a bird lovers paradise. With an experienced ranger, discover rare and endangered birds and plants. Port William and Maori Beach offer wonderful coastal and forest hiking opportunities,  with your local guide you will learn about the early settlers history and be immersed by nature. 

Take the time to enjoy the simpler and slower lifestyle of Stewart Island and enjoy the nature, bush and beach. Be prepared for the often-unpredictable weather of the ‘Roaring Forties’. But don’t worry, your wonderful host will help you plan your activities according to the weather to make sure you have the best experience. By the time you board the small plane to fly back to Invercargill you will feel refreshed by having spent some time in this truly special place.

We have a variety of local accommodation, and a lovely boutique lodge - due to popularity make sure you book well in advance! 

This Explore Rakiura Stewart Island tour can be customised, so let us know your interests and we will tailor make a Stewart Island break for you.

Viva's Best Bits...

Enjoy a unique opportunity to experience kiwis in their natural habitat. Walk the forests and beaches of predator free Ulva Island and you listen to bird song and spot endemic species. Watch a beautiful sunrise - this is Rakiura, the land of flowing skies

Add on a special experience - charter a fishing boat and try to catch some Blue Cod.
Or there is an epic coast to coast, fly-hike-boat adventure, appealing to any traveller up for a taste of New Zealand in its natural untouched state! Ask for more info!

"This offers a great taste of island life, including a fantastic day walk, with time to take life a little slower & simply enjoy, whatever you are doing always keep an eye out for the wildlife!" Tara, Team Viva

Tour Itinerary

Customisable ? This tour can be customised to suit your tastes and timing. Enquire here for more information.
Day 1
Invercargill Stewart Island Rakiura

Make your own way to Invercargill airport for your flight with Stewart Island Airlines to Oban.

A spectacular 20 minute flight will see us flying low over Oreti Beach, the test track for world record holder Burt Munro, and Foveaux Strait, in a small wing aircraft, a 9 seater
Britten Norman Islander. You will see the forested hills and bays of Rakiura as you come into land, certainly an exciting start to a Stewart Island adventure. (15kg luggage allowance)

On arrival you will be met by your host and given a mini orientation tour of Oban before you arrive at your lodge.

Enjoy the rest of the day at your own leisure.

Dinner is on your own account, there are great options (restaurant, pub, food carts), but as this is a small island, there is a limited number, so we recommend booking restaurants in advance over the high season.

Day 2
Ulva Island

Ulva Island Guided walking tour
The Island is part of Rakiura National Park and now free of introduced animals and is fast becoming a glimpse into New Zealand’s ancient past. Several species of threatened birds have been reintroduced to this open sanctuary and are doing very well. In addition, the forest is flourishing without the influence of rats and deer. The orchids are particularly impressive during their flowering season.

The tour is around 4 hours and includes all transfers and conservation fees. Tours can start early morning or late afternoon when the birds are at their best. Small group with a maximum size of 6 guests

If you’d like more time on the Island we can arrange for you to stay on and be picked up later, as the rest of day is at leisure

Please note all the pre-booked activities are weather dependent and we added enough time to give you that flexibility.

Day 3
Rakiura Kiwi Spotting

Enjoy a day at your own leisure.
Optional activities – e-bike hire, Greenstone carving, kayaking, fishing, discovery cruises, walking or hiking etc. Activities can be booked in advance please advise your destination specialist. Local walks map will be provided

Once it gets dark your Kiwi spotting tour will start. After a short drive and a walk across some private land, we have exclusive access to, you will be able to experience kiwis in their natural environment. You will find kiwis are quite inquisitive and will walk over to you as long as you wait quietly.

Day 4
Port William & Maori Beach

Small group guided walk:
Enjoy one of the most popular coastal and native bush walks on Stewart Island. The Water taxi will take you to Port William a site of early Maori settlement, before continuing on to beautiful Maori beach. This was also where early Maori settled and later became a saw milling community in the early 1900s. We then make our way to Lee Bay via Little River, a stunning tidal river mouth, overhanging with Rata trees.

While walking along the coast keep a lookout for the fast diversity of birdlife, such as, Mutton birds (Sooty Shearwaters), Shags, Buller’s Mollymawks, Cape Pigeons, and little Blue Pengiuns. In the native bush you may see and hear Bellbirds, Tui, Fantails, Parakeets, Shining Cuckoos, Grey Warblers, Kaka and Tomtits and more.

Duration: 4-5 hours, a medium fitness level is required

Day 5
Stewart Island Rakiura

Today is another day at your own leisure.

Optional activities – e-bike hire, Greenstone carving, kayaking, fishing, discovery cruises, walking or hiking etc.

Day 6
Stewart Island Rakiura

Day at your own leisure.

Suggested add ons:
Mason Bay “Coast to Coast”
This is a full day walk and involves a plane flight, 4 hours walk from Mason Bay to Freshwater Landing, and then a water taxi ride down Paterson Inlet to Halfmoon Bay. As it requires a low tide to land on Mason Bay, and High tide to boat the Freshwater river the walk requires more or less a full day. Tides will sometimes dictate the journey to be done in reverse.
It’s a great day walk and traverses quite a different landscape to the Port William Track.

Scenic Flight:
Enjoy a 90-minute scenic flight over more remote parts of the island

Day 7
Stewart Island Rakiura Invercargill

A fond farewell from Rakiura. Enjoy one final breakfast on the island before your transfer to the airport and flight back to Invercargill

What’s Included

  • Included Copy 20 6 nights lodge accommodation
  • Included Copy 31 Upgrade to a boutique lodge (advanced bookings required)
  • Included Copy 20 Daily breakfast
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 Ulva Island Guided Walk with entry fees
  • Included Copy 20 Return flight from Invercargill to Oban, 15kg check in luggage allowance
  • Included Copy 20 Port William & Maori Beach guided day walk
  • Included Copy 20 Kiwi Spotting tour at night
  • Included Copy 20 Return transfers from Oban airport to accommodation
  • Included Copy 31 Pre book additional activities: e-bike hire, Greenstone carving, walking or hiking
  • Included Copy 31 Add on a coast to coast flight

Stewart Island flight


  • Included Experience life on a remote New Zealand island where life is at a slower pace.
  • Included Kiwi spotting - there are more kiwis on Stewart Island than people
  • Included Birdwatching paradise and listen to the birdsong on Ulva island.
  • Included Learn about the early Maori settlements
  • Included Hike the popular coastal trek through primeval rain forest and native bush.
  • Included Optional activities to experience: scenic flight, fishing, biking, and more
Click here for dates & prices

7 days

Price from

$1,630 USD

Per person, sharing

including G.S.T

Daily Departures