Stewart Island is home to New Zealand's newest national park, Rakiura National Park. The third and most southerly of New Zealand's main islands, Stewart Island is separated from the South Island by the 24-km (15-miles) Foveaux Strait. Its original Māori name, Te Punga O Te Waka a Maui, means "the anchor stone of Maui's canoe." Māori mythology says the island's landmass held the god Maui's canoe secure while he and his crew raised the great fish—the North Island. View more
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Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of Stewart Island with this walk to Ackers Point which will provide you with an unforgettable insight into the diversity and beauty of this island sanctuary.
Your guided walk includes a visit to Ackers Point lighthouse and to Ackers Cottage, Stewart Island's oldest cottage and hand made by an early American settler who married a local Maori women. Throughout your walk you will be told about Stewarts Island's unique cultural and natural heritage with particular reference to the diverse plant and bird life. The coastal views are superb while it's likely you will see muttonbirds or sooty shearwaters returning to their nesting sites
Afterwards, return to the pier where you will take the tender back to the ship.
Please note: This tour requires extensive amount of walking, approximately 1.5 hours in duration. This tour is not recommended for guests with limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair. We recommend bringing a warm, waterproof jacket, sunglasses and wearing sturdy, comfortable walking shoes. Participation is limited. Wildlife cannot be guaranteed.
On this short overview tour, experience some of the special atmosphere of the island as you drive along almost all of its 12 miles (20 kilometres) of roads.
After tendering to the wharf, you will drive with your driver-guide through the tiny settlement of Halfmoon Bay, or Oban as it was formerly known. Here, you find a general store, a hotel, a couple of cafés and retail stores. Continue with your drive to Lee Bay, for a photo stop. Travel past the golden stretch of Butterfield Beach and Horseshoe Bay. From the lookout point on Peterson Hill, enjoy panoramic views of both Halfmoon Bay and the Paterson Inlet.
At the completion of the tour, you may opt to explore the village on your own or continue back to the wharf. One of the places worthwhile visiting in Halfmoon Bay is the Rakiura Museum or the Department of Conservation Centre. The best place to meet the locals is at the South Seas Hotel.
Afterwards, return to the pier.
Please note: This tour requires a moderate amount of walking and is suitable for guests with limited mobility. Those who utilise a wheelchair must be able to embark and disembark the coach via the bus steps and manoeuvre in and out of the tender at the wharf. Tour operates in mini-coaches with scheduled tender departures from the ship. Participation is limited and all seats may be utilised. We suggest you book in advance to avoid disappointment.
With over 115 miles (184 kilometres) of coastline and many small islands, Paterson Inlet is one of the most beautiful harbours in New Zealand. Native forest extends down to the waterline in many places, while the coastline is a rugged mix of rock and sandy beaches. Its pristine condition is evident in the clarity of the water, where it is possible to see the bottom of the harbour, 30 feet (about ten metres) below. In an area renowned for its marine life, over 200 species of red and brown seaweed thrive in these waters.
This excursion provides the opportunity of cruising in comfort around Paterson Inlet where the rich fauna and flora, as well as the heritage of the area, will be explained by the knowledgeable captain.
After tendering to Oban Wharf, board your chartered launch and commence your cruise around Paterson Inlet. At Prices Inlet, the Captain points out the remains of a Norwegian whaling repair base. Here, for eight years in the mid-1920s, a number of Norwegian whale chaser boats would be repaired during the winter months, while the mother ships returned to Norway with the oil extracted from the whales.
The launch will also cruise out to the Mutton Bird Islands for a chance to view New Zealand fur seals and a variety of sea birds including Buller's albatross, White-capped albatross, several varieties of penguins, petrels and terns, and the Sooty Shearwater or Titi Mutton birds as they are known to local Maori. The Sooty Shearwater breed on these small off-shore islands and Rakiura Maori carry out traditional harvesting of the chicks for a limited period in the autumn. The adult birds migrate to Alaska during the New Zealand winter, returning in the early summer to nest in the same place at Stewart Island, year after year.
During the cruise, coffee, tea and biscuits are served. At the end of your cruise, the launch returns you to the wharf for your tender back to the ship.
Please note: This tour requires a minimal amount of walking and is suitable for guests with limited mobility. Guest utilising a wheelchair must be able to manoeuvre in and out of a tender and a boat, where caution is advised. The boat has covered space in case of rain. We recommend wearing flat, rubber-soled shoes and bringing a warm, waterproof jacket. Space is limited; we suggest you book in advance to avoid disappointment.
Enchanting Ulva Island, near the inlet entrance, has long been recognised for its special beauty and abundance of bird and plant life. The island is managed by the Department of Conservation as an 'open sanctuary' where native birds can be seen at close quarters.
After a short tender ride to Oban, board the ferry for your transfer across to Ulva Island. Then, commence your guided walk, which takes you over much of the island. Listen as the guide proffers details highlighting the rich bird and plant life and early Maori and European history. Keep your ears and eyes open for some of New Zealand's native birds, such as the Kaka or forest parrot, the native wood pigeon or the energetic weka, which looks similar to the kiwi
At the end of your walking tour, you will be transferred back to Oban wharf from where you will tender back to the ship.
Please note: The walk on Ulva Island is extensive and approximately one hour in duration. The trails are well maintained and are only moderately undulating. This tour is not recommended for guests with limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair. We recommend bringing a warm, waterproof jacket and wearing sturdy, comfortable walking shoes. Participation is limited; we suggest you book in advance to avoid disappointment.