Some people don’t even know of the existence of Stewart Island (also known as Rakiura), a tiny little area of land 30 kilometres below the South Island. Famous for it’s stunning sunsets, the island is home to just 400 people, but is an amazing place to visit if you are in New Zealand and fancy visiting somewhere slightly off the beaten track.

You can travel to the island by ferry, which takes an hour, or even fly or helicopter over from Invercargill airport if you want to make a James Bond like entrance! There’s a whole host of amazing things to see and do on this delightful island, and don’t forget your camera as the photos you will take will have your friends green with envy when you return home.

Shark Diving

Not for the faint hearted, Stewart Island is one of the few places on the world where you can come face to face with a Great White Shark! This is the ultimate adrenaline experience, as you enter a cage to one of the most feared animals on the planet. The team have many years of experience, and are truly passionate about the sharks. They have a 100% safety record, and are one of the few companies that allow you the chance to see these amazing creatures close up. A once in a lifetime experience (you hope!).

Rakiura National Park

Now over a decade old, this 157,000-hectare park covers 85% of Stewart Island. With amazing sunsets and sunrises, this is a great place to spend the day walking and checking out all the amazing wildlife. One of the most southernly islands on the whole world, this is one place that needs to be seen to be believed, with a feeling of almost Jurassic tranquility.

Water Taxi Nature Guide

Zip around the island on a water taxi to check out some of Stewart Island’s most scenic spots. With daily trips to the Ulva island bird sanctuary, a journey up the freshwater river, nature tours and kayaking opportunities, this form of travel is by far the best (and most exhilarating) way to see the island.

Bunkhouse Theatre

This is a must visit when on Stewart Island. The Bunkhouse Theatre shows a 40 minute film all about the island that tells tales of the local history and recent goings on. The cinema is tiny, with big comfortable red seats, and even has a popcorn machine. A great place to stop off first to learn about the island itself before you go off to explore it in person.

Fishing Charter

With it’s clear blue waters, Stewart Island is the perfect place for a spot of fishing. So why not charter a boat for the afternoon and tap into the vast amount of local experience on hand to make the most of your expedition. If you like fishing, you’ll love Stewart Island.

Stewart Island may be small, but it’s perfectly formed. It’s one of New Zealand’s hidden treasures, that if you take the time to visit, you will see that it’s worth it’s weight in gold.


Image Credit : Oban on Stewart Island, NZ – different kind of crossingby Bruce Tuten, on Flickr