Stewart Island Aerial - Oban township
Jeremy Pierce


Oban is the only town on Stewart Island, the southernmost and smallest island of the three main islands of New Zealand. It is located in Halfmoon Bay within Paterson Inlet, with access via aircraft from Invercargill and regular ferry services from Bluff. It has a choice of places to eat, a few souvenir retailers, and all the essential shops.

Due to the strong influence of Scottish settlers on early colonial southern New Zealand, Oban was named after Oban in Scotland (meaning “The Little Bay” in Scottish Gaelic). The town’s main industries are fishing, and tourism and it serves as a base for sightseers, hikers, birdwatchers, divers and hunters. It’s the perfect place for both adventurous types and those looking to relax on the beach.

Most of Stewart Island’s walking tracks start from within or very near to the town, while others can be accessed by water taxi. Birdlife is prolific, with a good chance you’ll see and hear Bellbirds, Tui, Fantails, Kaka and many more from anywhere in town. Photograph the Aurora Australis (Southern Lights), walk the Rakiura Track (one of New Zealand’s Great Walks), or visit Ulva Island (one of the few pest-free sanctuaries in New Zealand) - Oban is the gateway to a range of unforgettable experiences.

Rakiura Track - Stewart Island
Rakiura Track, Rakiura Stewart Island