A chance to glimpse Kiwi in the wild, experience the spectacular dune environment and wild west coast beach and learn about the natural history and early European history of the area. View an array of ecosystems and wilderness habitats, from east to west coast and across Stewart Island's interior. Enjoy a variety of native and endemic birds and plants, including orchids in season. Experience a stay in a back country hut, this is an amazing experience for all.
The middle section of Stewart Island from west to east coast comprises: Mason Bay, the Freshwater Flats/Freshwater Valley and Paterson Inlet. This is a stunning and largely untouched wonder and remarkable to explore.
Mason Bay has approximately 14 kms (9 miles) of curved beach, one of the most extensive natural sand dune systems in New Zealand with native coastal floras, sea and shore birds and a significant population of Kiwi. A great place to go Kiwi spotting, enjoy the stunning seascape, watch the surf crash on the beach and feel at one with nature!
Coastal forest, tussock, grasses and scrub surround Mason Bay. Further inland, the surrounding northern and southern hills slope down to an extensive wetland area - the Freshwater Flats. A multitude of creeks that run through the flats feed water into Freshwater River. The river meanders down to its estuary at the start of Paterson Inlet, releasing tannin stained water and silt. The changing habitat, allows a variety of native and endemic birds and plants to exist in the area. There are plenty of opportunities for amazing photos on this experience.
Our trips provide an opportunity to discover Kiwi habitat, listen to Kiwi calling in the evening and with some luck, actually seeing a Kiwi. Our success rate for sighting Kiwi is about 90%, with 80% seen during the daytime. Kiwi are wild birds and sightings are not guaranteed. It is a privilege to see a Kiwi, an experience that many clients never forget!
We offer 2 regular trip options:
Option 1: Boat In / Boat Out
Option 2: Fly In / Boat Out
Additionally: A customised option fly in / fly out, may be possible at extra cost, subject to our availability, participant numbers and timings.
- Our trip times are dependent on daylight hours and high tides for boat trips to / from Freshwater River and low tides for plane access to Mason Bay. Weather is always an important consideration.
- Our day to day itinerary may vary due to weather / client preferences / aspects of nature.
Kiwi Journey - Boat In / Boat Out
- Boat to Freshwater River.
- Hike to Mason Bay and stay the night. Next day hike back to Freshwater River.
- Boat back from Freshwater River.
Note: This is an active trip.
Kiwi Journey - Fly In / Boat Out
- Fly to Mason Bay and stay the night
- Next day hike to Freshwater River
- Boat back from Freshwater River
Note: This trip allows more time to explore around Mason Bay, at a more comfortable pace.
Mason Bay and the Freshwater Valley, Rakiura National Park, Stewart Island.
ACCOMMODATION ON THE HIKE
We stay at Mason Bay Hut, which is operated by the Department of Conservation. Facilities are shared with other independent hikers.
Mason Bay Hut does not have a hut booking system. In the event that the hut is full, we have stored tents and sleeping mats for our clients at Mason Bay.
Facilities at the hut include: Sleeping area, separated from kitchen/communal area. The sleeping area is partitioned into three areas, two with 4 bunks each, and one with 12 bunks. The bunks have mattresses. The kitchen has work benches, sinks with cold running water, tables and seating. There is an outside washbasin with cold running water and long drop toilets.
FOOD ON OUR TRIP
We provide healthy meals and snacks (plus the sweet things too), with local seafood where possible. We cater for most dietary requirements.
Meals on our trips include:
Day 1: Lunch, pre-dinner snacks, dinner, hot drinks. Snacks during the day.
Day 2: Breakfast, lunch, hot drinks. Snacks during the day.
Meal arrangements can vary depending on the timing of our trips.
WEAR AND BRING
Contact us for customised packages to include travel to and from Stewart Island by ferry or plane and accommodation before and / or after your guided walk.
OTHER RECOMMENDED TOURS
To appreciate the diversity that Stewart Island has to offer, we recommend that you come on the following tour:
Some commonly seen birds include:
Land birds: Kiwi, Stewart Island robin, Stewart Island fern bird, New Zealand pipit, tui, bellbird, South Island tomtit, fantail, grey warbler, red-crowned parakeet, wood pigeon, kingfisher, brown creeper, Australasian harrier, skylark, chaffinch, dunnock.
Sea birds: Little blue penguins.
Shore birds: Black-backed gull, red-billed gull, variable oystercatcher, banded dotterel, Stewart Island shag, pied shag, white-fronted tern, black swan.
Note: Southern New Zealand dotterel are seen on some trips.
The flora is varied and includes podocarps on the slopes of the Freshwater Valley, manuka, wetland plants including mosses and lichen, tussock, scrub, flax, coastal and dune plants and a variety of orchid species.
- Natural Attraction
- Guided Tours
- Nature & Wildlife
- Outdoor Activities
- Tours & Tastings
- Water Activities
- Less than half day
- Wildlife Spotting
- Scenic Photo Point
- Scenic Tour
- Walking & Tramping
- Guided Walks