Stewart Island

Stewart Island Bathing Beach
BackpackerGuide.NZ
Stewart Island Bathing Beach
Stewart Island, New Zealand

Stewart Island (Rakiura) is the southernmost and smallest island of the three main islands of New Zealand. Just 30km from the South Island, it is a perfect retreat for those seeking peace, quiet, and adventure.

Stewart Island is a unique environment; despite being Subantarctic, its clear turquoise sea and white sand beaches make Stewart Island look more like a tropical paradise. The Aurora Australis (Southern Lights) can be regularly sighted from the island, making it a spectacular location for astrotourism and leading to the name Rakiura, “The Land of Glowing Skies”.

Activities on the island include walking, birding, fishing, sea kayaking, diving, and hunting. Stewart Island has over 280km of walking tracks, including a Great Walk; the Rakiura Track. It is also a haven for bird life, such as friendly Kaka, little Blue Penguins, rare Yellow-Eyed Penguins, and dozens of other native species. It is the only place in New Zealand where you can readily see Brown Kiwi in their natural habitat.

Access to the island is by a 20 minute flight from Invercargill or a one hour ferry ride from Bluff.