The Island Hopper

Time for an overseas holiday? Dreaming of island hopping? Look no further than your backyard. Take a flight or board a boat to discover the secluded sights of Ulva Island & Stewart Island. Wander through an unspoilt, renowned wildlife sanctuary, enjoy a scenic boat trip along Freshwater River, and then enjoy some well-deserved R&R at a secluded B&B island retreat. Of course, no island holiday is complete without mouthwatering seafood. And when it comes to the freshest seafood around, you're spoiled for choice in Southland.

Duration

3 Days

Distance

250 km

Best Time

Anytime

Stewart Island Flights

View the wonder of Stewart Island with a comfortable 15 minutes flight from Invercargill, taking you to the heart of New Zealand's ecological playground. Whether your trip is to experience the amazing birdlife, to do a spot of…

Day 1

Dreaming of island hopping? Head on over to New Zealand's third island, Rakiura Stewart Island. Take a flight or board a ferry to discover the secluded sights of Ulva Island & Stewart Island.

View the wonder of Rakiura with a comfortable 15-minute flight from Invercargill, taking you to the heart of New Zealand's ecological playground. Whether your trip is to experience the amazing birdlife or to walk some of the epic tracks in Rakiura National Park, Stewart Island Flights will have you there in minutes. 

Add on a beach on Mason Bay Beach landing for something more off the beaten track! A popular destination for adventurers because of its historical and wildlife appeal. The bay was once home to ancient Māori and is still held in great reverence.

Stay overnight at either the Mason Bay or Freshwater Department of Conservation hut allows for the increased opportunity of spotting New Zealand’s national bird, the kiwi, in its natural environment, plus the area is amazing for stargazing.

Brew'd

On the first floor of The Langlands Hotel in Invercargill, you will find Brew'd. The cafe is bright…

Mason Bay

Mason Bay is a popular destination for adventurers because of its historical and wildlife appeal…

Discover Ulva Island with Rakiura Charters

Bring a friend or your whanau and discover this local gem in the heart of Stewart Island/Rakiura! Enjoy our flexible on demand ferry, with commentary on the scenic journey across Paterson Inlet to Ulva Island for as little as $25…

Day 2

Start the day off by brewing a cup of tea or making an instant coffee (fun fact did you know that instant coffee was invented right here in Southland, in Invercargill, to be exact?) and start your walk to Freshwater. From here, you can enjoy a scenic boat trip with Rakiura Water Taxi along the meandering Freshwater River, crossing Paterson Inlet to Golden Bay.

Rakiura Water taxi will take you to Te Wharawhara / Ulva Island, where you have the option of a guided or self-guided tour across the island bird sanctuary. Ulva Island is located off the coast of Stewart Island, and this predator-free island is home to dozens of native species of flora and fauna, including many rare and endangered birds. 

All this walking and sightseeing has got you feeling hungry, well you're in luck the South Sea Hotel in Oban, the island's only township, serves a mean feed. They're renowned for their cold beer and mouth-watering kaimoana / seafood. And if you're here on a Sunday, be sure to check out the iconic Stewart Island Pub Quiz.

Even if you make it a late night, your room at Stewart Island Lodge is within easy walking distance. The Lodge is a peaceful and secluded B&B island retreat, nestled amongst native bush with outstanding views of Halfmoon Bay and the surrounding ocean.

Monkey Island/Te Puka o Takitimu & Beach

The fascinating Monkey Island can be reached by foot - but only at low tide! A stairway leads to the top of the island, where there are spectacular views of Te Waewae Bay and the mountains of Fiordland. Before the road from Riverton…

Day 3

Grab a quick bite at the island's newest cafe, The Snuggery, before boarding your flight back to Invercargill. If you're lucky, you can get a seat next to the captain, so enjoy those views,

While in Invercargill, be sure to check out one of many cafes in the city; most of them serve the iconic Southland Cheese Roll. Go to The Batch for their amazing scones, or head over to Black Shag for an excellent coffee, and the beans are roasted in-house, so grab a bag before you leave. 

Make your way to Riverton along the Southern Scenic Route and meet up with Jess from Southland Surf School. This National Champion will surely teach you some tricks to surf or paddleboard. The business is mobile, so they can give lessons at the best surfing locations along the Western Southland coast according to the weather, swell size, wind, and tides on the day.  

Lastly, before heading on your next adventure, check out another wee island along the coast, Monkey Island, where you can climb to the top of the island on low tide. The long, uncrowded beach along the eastern end of Te Waewae Bay is perfect for horse riding, motorbiking or surfing, picnicking, paddling, and sandcastle building - it's a great place for kids to play. While here, explore rock pools or take in a magnificent sunset.

 

Choose your Southland experience today

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Time for an overseas holiday? Dreaming of island hopping? Look no further than your backyard. Take a flight or board a boat to discover the secluded sights of Ulva Island & Stewart Island…

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