A romantic getaway to Rakiura / Stewart Island
If you’re after a weekend away from the hustle and bustle, Stewart Island is the place to go with your significant other. This island is the perfect retreat if you’re seeking peace, quiet and adventure. With a population of only 300 people, here it can really be about just the two of you.
Take an hour ferry-ride from Bluff or a 20-minute flight from Invercargill to get to your destination for the weekend. Although temperatures down here are slightly cooler, the golden sandy bays make it feel like a tropical paradise. Go for a romantic beach walk in Halfmoon or Horseshoe Bay, only a short walk from the centre of Oban.
The island is home to over 280km of walking tracks, so it’s a great destination if you’re both keen hikers. It’s only a short walk up to Observation Rock and from here you’re treated to great views over Paterson Inlet, particularly at sunset. Another great walk is the three-hour return walk to Ackers Point & Lighthouse with wide views of Foveaux Strait and even the chance to see blue penguins.
If walking isn’t you’re thing, but you’d still like to see more of the island why not take a bird’s-eye view and go on a scenic flight with Stewart Island Helicopters. You can even make a landing on some of the most remote beaches of the island. Try beating that for a romantic (proposal) spot!
Maybe the two of you prefer to be out on the water instead and in that case there’s a range of boat cruises to choose from. Go for a wildlife cruise and enjoy the beautiful scenery, watch for many species of birds, little blue penguins and bottlenose dolphins.
All these activities must have made you hungry. The South Sea Hotel is a Stewart Island icon and a great place for a meal with locally sources seafood, but they also have vegetarian and vegan options available. Church Hill Restaurant also offers amazing homemade dishes with fresh local produce.
After this busy, adventurous day it’s time to get cosy under the stars. Stewart Island’s remoteness means it’s virtually free of light pollution, making the night sky experience among the best (and most romantic!) on Earth. Take a dark sky tour or enjoy the starry night from the comfort of your own bed at PurePod. This eco-cabin is made of glass, giving you spectacular views all the while you’re snuggled up in bed together.
Uninterrupted, Unfiltered & Unforgettable. A “food for the soul” experience serves up uninterrupted views, stunning New Zealand scenery and the opportunity to slow down. Delivered in a sustainable, stylish, and innovative glass cabin it is…
Uninterrupted, Unfiltered & Unforgettable A “food for the soul” experience serves up uninterrupted views, stunning New Zealand scenery and the opportunity to slow down. Delivered in a sustainable, stylish, and innovative glass cabin it is…
The name Rakiura means glowing skies in te Reo Māori (the Māori language), and it's aptly named because it's an ideal spot for stargazing and spotting the Aurora Australis Southern Lights. It’s one of the reasons it…
After yesterday’s adventures it is time for some relaxation. Head to The Snuggery, an old museum building that’s been turned into a café, for breakfast with fresh coffee and homemade bread.
Go to Stewart Island Spa for some pampering. At this southernmost spa you get the best private sea views in Halfmoon Bay and there are heaps of treatments to choose from. Have a Turkish bath with a body scrub or massage or dip into a romantic ocean cliff bath for two.
After that it’s really up to you and your sweetheart how you want to spend the rest of the day. Are you feeling all relaxed and lazy? Maybe all you want to do is soak up some vitamin sea at one of the secluded beaches, like Bathing Beach. Or now that you’re all charged up again, rent an e-bike and explore the island yourself or go for a paddle together in a kayak with Phil’s Sea Kayak and enjoy the sights and sounds of pristine coastal nature.
A trip to Stewart Island isn’t complete without kiwi spotting. There are heaps of local guides to show you some exclusive spots and to teach you all about our national bird’s quirky personality and habits. If you’re lucky you might even spot one from your PurePod, thanks to the special red lighting they have.
Before heading off we suggest taking the ferry to Ulva Island, a predator-free open island sanctuary in Paterson Inlet. Discover dozens of native species of flora and fauna, including many rare and endangered birds.
After your trip to this unspoiled rainforest it's time to go back to Stewart Island. Grab some fresh fish ‘n chips from the Kai Kart and enjoy it at Thomson Bay. Take these last minutes in to appreciate your time together at this remote and special island before heading back to the mainland and normal life.