Stewart Island Rakiura: Small Group Explorer Tour

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

Following the success of our winter Stewart Island Aurora hunting tour, we are looking forward to our spring tour of Rakiura, Stewart Island!

Join our small group tour to discover the highlights of Stewart Island. We meet in Invercargill, and early the next day board a small aircraft, flying low over the Foveaux Strait, we get great vistas of the island as we come in to land....getting there is all part of the adventure of course! With 3 nights spent in Oban in a well located position over looking small seaside village, there is plenty of time to explore this magical little paradise in the far south!

Head out at night spotting kiwis in the wild, explore stunning Ulva Island, filled of birdsong, and perhaps a friendly seal lion or two, and cruise and walk the bays and inlets looking for albatross and more!

Our small group tours mean the arrangements are taken care of, there is time to make new friends, and still some free time to be flexible and do your own thing!

Viva's Best Bits...

Experience kiwis in their natural habitat. The kiwis come out at night to feed. Did you know that Stewart Island has an estimated population of 20,000 kiwis? Your guide will tell you more about these special birds.

"Rakuira was the holiday I really needed, this island is charming, quirky and laid back. You quickly unwind and relax into the pace of there are outstanding vistas, walks, wildlife galore & whats more? Fresh seafood for dinner" Tara, Team Viva

The highlights are included; the stunning flight in, magical birdsong on Ulva Island, cruising Paterson inlet, the ferry to Bluff, with an expert guide to look after you, plus time to explore and add in those other activities you want to do.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival Invercargill

Welcome to Invercargill, gateway to Stewart Island!

Upon arrival at Invercargill airport, you will be transferred to our hotel for the evening (alternatively, you may choose you make your own way to the hotel).

Our hotel is located in central Invercargill, if you arrive early today, be sure to explore the local area and check out Bill Richardson Transport World,

This evening we get to know each other over a welcome dinner.

Day 2
Invercargill Oban, Stewart Island

Enjoy breakfast at our hotel, before transferring to Invercargill airport for our flight to Rakiura, Stewart Island.

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.

Then the days of explorations begin by getting to know this charming island and her stories, on a Villages and Bays tour. We will explore Oban and the surrounding bays and our local guide will share their local knowledge and help us gain an entertaining insight into New Zealand’s southernmost community. Stewart Islanders are proud of their island, enjoying its simpler, slower pace. During your tour, there is plenty of time available for photo stops and short walks. Highlights include Lee Bay, the gateway to Rakiura National Park and stunning views of Paterson Inlet from Observation Rock.

There is time for a lunch break in town, before we head out onto the water to explore the bays of Paterson Inlet, Whaler Base, and learn more of the fascinating local history. Discover a little-known part of Stewart Island’s fascinating history: between 1923 and 1933 the Ross Sea Whaling Company of Norway made 9 expeditions to Antarctica while using a base in Paterson Inlet. The ‘Whaler’s Base’ was used to repair the whale chasers in between seasons.

There is some time at your leisure to settle into. Perhaps take a short stroll and enjoy a local meal, there are always great local seafood and other options available at the South Sea pub or places like the "kai kart".

This evening will likely be one of the highlights, as we head out in small groups on a kiwi spotting tour. This tour offers you a special opportunity to experience kiwi in their natural environment. We have exclusive access to private land where New Zealand’s precious kiwi come out at night to feed.

Day 3
Stewart Island

Enjoy waking up to breakfast, and most likely the sound of the local native Kaka birds from your room! Keep an eye out early for a stunning sunrise too - after all you are in Rakiura - the land of the glowing skies!

Today it is time to visit another highlight, the renowned bird sanctuary of Ulva Island.
It is a leisurely cruise of beautiful Paterson Inlet, past hidden coves and unspoilt beaches to get to Ulva. While on board, keep a lookout for fur seals, penguins and other wildlife, as sightings are common.

Then disembark at Ulva Island, a renowned wildlife sanctuary 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.

For the remainder of the cruise around Paterson Inlet, relax on board our modern catamaran and enjoy the coastal scenery before heading back to base.

The rest of the day is at your leisure. There is so much to do, just ask your guide for any help you may need.

Day 4
Stewart Island

Rise and is going to be another wonderful day in Rakiura.

Take a local walk, perhaps to the lighthouse, or to stunning Bathers Beach, there are so many trails to take...if you are keen on hiking, you could even book a guided walk to Port William & Maori Beach - its one of our favourites! The local museum, art galleries and quirky movie theatre are all worth a visit. Nature lovers, there are so many options, another cruise, or even a return trip to Ulva Island is a popular choice. Keen on something more adventurous - how about snorkelling, fishing or kayaking?

The great thing is, you have an expert guide to help you plan, and a day to do as you please!

This evening have fun with the group, chatting about the days adventures over dinner at the South Seas Hotel. Did someone say Blue Cod?

Day 5
Stewart Island Invercargill

Breakfast at the motel before the next leg of our journey, the ferry from Stewart Island to Bluff.

Experience a one-hour crossing of Foveaux Strait onboard a catamaran. Onboard commentary will point out interesting landmarks commonly seen, including Dog Island Lighthouse, Ruapuke Island, the Titi Islands and Mt Anglem - Stewart Island’s highest point, and of course, always look out for wildlife - watching mollymawks (albatross) soaring above the ferry is a fantastic sight.

On arrival in Bluff, transfer through to Invercargill for our final farewell dinner!

Day 6
Oban, Stewart Island Invercargill

Enjoy a final breakfast at the hotel before we bid farewell.

Transfer to Invercargill airport included

What’s Included

  • Included Copy 20 2 nights in 3 star hotel in Invercargill
  • Included Copy 20 3 nights motel stay on Stewart Island
  • Included Copy 31 Single room supplement NZD 562
  • Included Copy 20 Breakfast daily
  • Included Copy 20 3 dinners
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 Small group tour, minimum 10 maximum 15 passengers
  • Included Copy 20 Tour escort for the duration of the tour
  • Included Copy 20 Flight from Invercargill to Oban, 15kg check in luggage allowance
  • Included Copy 20 Return from Oban to Bluff by ferry
  • Included Copy 20 Stewart Island Village and Bays sightseeing tour
  • Included Copy 20 Kiwi Spotting tour at night
  • Included Copy 20 Ulva Island guided walk
  • Included Copy 20 Cruise Paterson Inlet on a Whaler’s Base History Tour
  • Included Copy 31 Free time to add on activities of your choice!
Stewart Island flight


  • Included Small group tour of Rakiura Stewart Island with a private guide
  • Included Kiwi spotting - there are more kiwis on Stewart Island than people
  • Included Ulva Island guided walk - abundant birdlife
  • Included Discover a little-known part of Stewart Island’s fascinating history on a whaling base tour
  • Included Experience Stewart Island before the summer crowds arrive!
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6 days

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