Rakiura Challenge

It’s the perfect excuse to get to know the Land of the Glowing Skies.

New Zealand’s southernmost trail run, the Rakiura Challenge, is the ultimate weekend getaway anchored around the hugely rewarding experience of conquering one of New Zealand’s famous Great Walks in a single day.

That leaves the rest of the weekend for Kiwi-spotting, sampling the best blue cod this side of the southern ocean, maybe a sunset kayak, and, of course, exploring the pristine native bush and sandy beaches. You may feel like you’re the only person left on earth, give or take the odd lounging sea lion or seal.

From the moment you step off the ferry or hop off your flight, you’ll feel the island’s special sense of community, a welcome that is as genuine as it is warm.

It’s a community event for people of all ages, shapes and sizes who want to challenge themselves in the best possible way.

It’s effort rewarded with riches — stunning views of Te-Ara-a-Kiwa/Foveaux Strait — and that oh-so-deserved glass of wine at the end of the day.

Next event date: 5 October 2024
Location: Stewart Island
Keen to learn more: rakiurachallenge.co.nz

Cheered on your way by a good number of the island’s 400 residents, you snake your way round the coastal road to Lee Bay — past the magnificent anchor sculpture commemorating the opening of Rakiura National Park. Then it’s onwards and inland as you are sustained by beautiful regenerating podocarp forest and lush, dense virgin forest.

Along the way, you’ll spot hulking log hauliers dating back to the late 1800s when giants of the forest were dragged to coastal sawmills. Descending to North Arm, you’ll follow in the footsteps of early Maori, who, as far back as the 13th century, embraced the island’s mahinga kai (food gathering sites).

Now you’re heading for the eastern coast, undulating through myriad hidden bays, crossing tidal mudflats and passing historic milling sites. Then, inland for the final stretch through regenerating bush and that last climb where your mind begins to mull your post-challenge options – maybe you will have that second piece of blue cod. You deserve it, after all.

Because the end of the challenge is just the beginning on this island of exquisite contrasts.

Explore the towering, ancient rainforests of pest-free Ulva Island sanctuary – teeming with birdlife, just over the hill from your home base in Oban. Seek out an audience with a Stewart Island Brown Kiwi, often seen out and about during daytime. 

Rakiura’s verdant rainforest grows right down to sea level – it’s a primaeval place that will leave you spellbound.

As the sun sets, look to the stars for some of the purest dark skies you’ll find — you may even be rewarded with a lush display of colour from the resident Aurora Australis.

The Land of the Glowing Skies is waiting for you — what are you waiting for?

While you’re down this way, you must explore everything that makes this rugged and untouched corner of New Zealand so magnetic. You’ll find a world of ultimate nature and wildlife destination; its dramatic scenery spans pristine rainforests, fertile farmlands and rugged coastlines.

Discover More - Southland's Unmissable Events

Explore Southland’s fantastic line-up of unmissable events "You Won't Want To Miss!" . Appreciate reading each event’s tale which is told through the eyes of a storyteller and enjoy a sneak peek highlight which is sure to entice your attendance. 

Discover More - Events In Southland

Looking for events to attend in your community? Events in Southland have you covered. Take a break from your every day and discover a wide variety of events with picture-perfect backdrops all year round!

You might also like...

Bluff Natural Spaces
Videocopter NZ


Southland features many gorgeous coastal outlooks and excellent beaches for many kinds of…

Ulva Island

Ulva Island  (Te Wharawhara)  is a predator-free open island sanctuary in Paterson Inlet…

Florence Hill Lookout, The Catlins
Florence Hill Lookout, The Catlins

Discover The Catlins

Considered by many New Zealanders as a must visit, The Catlins is a stunning coastal stretch between…

Milford Sound - Kayak
Rosco's Milford Sound Kayaks, Fiordland

Discover Fiordland

Tucked away in the South Western edgeof New Zealand, Fiordland is home to 14 fiords, New…