Discover New Zealand's smallest island by cruise with regular stops to explore the native bush and visit historical sites.
This popular tour provides the opportunity to enjoy a scenic cruise and guided walk to the Whalers' Base and other historic locations as well as a chance to view some wildlife. Your Skipper / Guide will provide some excellent commentary.
Paterson Inlet is a pristine waterway, situated in the middle of Stewart Island, approximately 100 square kilometres in size, with 20 islands and islets.
For nine seasons, the Norwegians travelled to the Ross Sea of Antarctica to capture blue whales. The historic Norwegian Whalers' Base is located on the northern shoreline of Paterson Inlet. It was established in the 1920's to provide an overwintering and repair base for harpoon boats returning from the Ross Sea. In the 1930's the Whalers' Base was abandoned after the last whaling season in 1932/1933.
The Whalers' Base, also known as the Kaipipi Shipyard has now largely reverted to native bush. It is set in a beautiful part of Paterson Inlet in sheltered waters overlooking Kidney Fern. A delightful short walk takes you from Millars Beach Jetty to the Whalers' Base where the foundation of buildings, propellars and boiler, along with other artefacts still remain. Interpretation panels provide an insight into the life of the Norwegians and Stewart Islander's who worked and lived and worked here.
We visit Kaipipi Bay and Ryans Creek, former saw milling sites, and the charming bay surrounded by Faith, Hope and Charity Islands.
Our itinerary for this cruise may operate in reverse, based on weather, sea conditions and wildlife opportunities.
Some commonly seen birds include:
Land birds: Bellbird, tui, wood pigeon, grey warbler, fantail, South Island tomtit.
Sea birds: Little blue penguin
Shore birds: Royal spoonbills, white-fronted tern, pied and variable oystercatchers, Stewart Island shag, spotted shag, pied shag, little black shag.
Note: on some of our trips we have also seen yellow-eyed penguin.
Bottle-nosed dolphins are seen occasionally.
Regenerating mixed hardwood-podocarp forest, manuka and flax.
- Natural Attraction
- Culture & Heritage
- Guided Tours
- Nature & Wildlife
- Outdoor Activities
- Private Hire & Charters
- Less than half day
- Family Friendly
- Wildlife Spotting
- Scenic Photo Point
- Scenic Cruises
- Scenic Attraction
- Scenic Tour