Great Walk Rakiura Stewart Island

From Bluff to Bluff
  • Stewart Island & Chatham Islands
  • Walking and Active
  • Wildlife and Nature
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Tour Description

Short on time, but like nature, wildlife and hiking? Our Great Walk Rakiura Stewart Island is a fantastic, flexible option for you.

Beginning the adventure in Bluff, take the ferry across Foveaux Strait and keep a keen eye out for albatross and other wildlife on the way. Of course, if you would prefer to arrive by small aircraft, for sweeping views of the island, this can be arranged too.

Settle into relaxed island life in your well located accommodation in Oban, a quaint fishing village. Take your time to sample the local seafood and have a drink at the pub with the locals. Over the next days, take a local bays tour to get acquainted with your surrounds, and learn stories of life on Rakiura. Cruise the harbour, looking for penguins, mollymawks and more en-route to Ulva Island. Ulva is renowned for its diverse and abundant birdlife, and you will explore the trails with an expert guide looking out for weka, parakeets and more. At night, head to Ocean Beach, a fantastic place to spot kiwi in the wild.

A highlight of your trip might be a hike on part of the " Rakiura Track Great Walk". This stunning hike will take you through native bush, along beaches, exploring some of the islands early history and more.

Viva's Best Bits...

Venture out at night, listen for the shrieks and calls of the Kiwi and hopefully discover some dining on bugs and worms! There are ample wildlife opportunities, including a visit to the well know reserve, Ulva Island.

"This offers a great taste of island life, including a fantastic day walk, but in fact there are so many walks and hikes, not to mention activities like kayaking. I would add more time to your trip if you can!" Tara, Team Viva

Experience a day on the Rakiura Track as you hike from Port William via Maori Bay, discover relics from the islands history along the way, and fantastic forest and coastal views.

Tour Itinerary

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

Your journey starts in Bluff where you will board the Ferry to Stewart Island* (upgrades to a flight, additional cost). Experience Foveaux Strait onboard an express catamaran. During the one-hour crossing on the Stewart Island Ferry between Bluff and Oban keep a lookout for wildlife, especially seabirds. Comprehensive commentaries provide information on the interesting landmarks commonly seen, including Dog Island Lighthouse, Ruapuke Island, the Titi Islands and Mt Anglem - Stewart Island’s highest point. After crossing Foveaux Strait and arriving at Oban – the main settlement on Stewart Island you will be transferred to the Bay Motel.

This afternoon explore Oban and the surrounding bays in a mini-bus tour. Experienced guides enjoy sharing their local knowledge of the history and environment of Stewart Island with you. Gain an insight into New Zealand’s southernmost community. Stewart Islanders are proud of their island, enjoying its simpler, slower pace. Highlights include Lee Bay, the gateway to Rakiura National Park and stunning views of Paterson Inlet from Observation Rock during this 1 hour 30 minute tour. On return to the motel you have the afternoon free to relax.

Day 2
Ulva Island Explorer Tour & Wild Kiwi Encounter

Ulva Island (Te Wharawhara), is renowned for its diverse and abundant birdlife with a forest dominated by Rimu, Southern Rata and Kamahi, surrounded by marine reserve. It was visited by Ngai Tahu Maori as part of their food gathering trips and in the 1890s it became one of New Zealand’s first reserves. This 267 hectare island is now predator free, allowing the bird and plantlife to thrive. Enjoy a leisurely cruise from Halfmoon Bay viewing hidden coves and unspoilt beaches. Along the way learn about the early Maori history and European settlement including whaling. Your skipper and nature guide provide detailed commentary throughout the cruise and are happy to answer any questions. While on board, keep a lookout for fur seals, penguins and other wildlife, as sightings are common. Then disembark at Ulva Island for a 45-minute guided walk with a specialist nature guide. View rare plants and rich birdlife, including the inquisitive weka, which are often seen on the beach. Returning to the motel in the afternoon.

At dusk depart from Stewart Island's Halfmoon Bay in a catamaran for a cruise across Paterson Inlet to Little Glory Cove. During the cruise, pass Ulva Island and learn about Stewart Island's rich history. 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. This wide sandy beach is where kiwi are often found feeding among the grasses and seaweed. Afterwards retrace your steps through the forest to Little Glory Wharf for your catamaran ride back to Oban township on Stewart Island.

Day 3
Great Walk Rakiura Track

Great Walk Rakiura Track - unguided 1/2 day Freedom Walk
Enjoy a walk on one of the most popular coastal and native bush walks on Stewart Island. Water taxi to Port William, 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. Then make your way to Lee Bay via Little River, a stunning tidal river mouth, overhanging with Rata trees. Along the coast lookout for a plethora of birdlife, such as, Mutton birds (Sooty Shearwaters), Shags, Buller’s Molly-mawks, 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. Walking time: duration 4-5 hours including Water Taxi.

The 1/2 Day Freedom Walk on Rakiura Track is unguided, we recommend a good level of fitness, hiking boots and sensible hiking clothing for all weather conditions.

Day 4
Stewart Island Bluff

Today it is time to depart this paradise island and return to real life. Board the catamaran and enjoy the cruise across the Straight to Bluff. (*Return flights to Stewart Island are available at a surcharge.)

What’s Included

  • Included Copy 20 3 nights motel stay on Stewart Island
  • Included Copy 20 Continental Breakfast Daily
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 Stewart Island Return Ferry
  • Included Copy 20 Village and Bays sightseeing tour
  • Included Copy 20 Kiwi Spotting tour at night
  • Included Copy 20 Ulva Island guided walk
  • Included Copy 20 Unguided Freedom Walk on Rakiura Track


  • Included Ulva Island guided walk - abundant birdlife, weka, parakeets, kaka, Tomtits and more
  • Included Kiwi spotting - there are more kiwis on Stewart Island than people
  • Included Village and Bays orientation tour
  • Included Hike part of the Great Walk Rakiura Track
Click here for dates & prices

4 days

Price from


including G.S.T

Daily departures