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
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.
After tendering to Golden Bay Wharf, you are met and transferred to the tiny settlement of Halfmoon Bay. 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
Your tour concludes at Golden Bay Wharf 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.
Cruise the pristine waters of Paterson Inlet and learn about the marine life and history of the area.
Mutton Bird Islands
After tendering ashore to Golden Bay Wharf, board the catamaran Aurora and set off on your two hour cruise out to the Mutton Bird Islands 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. After viewing the seabirds, cruise back in to Paterson Inlet where dolphins often follow the launch into Big Glory Bay where salmon, mussels and oysters are all farmed in the pristine waters.
Marine farming is confined to this one area to minimise any visual or environmental impact, while the remaining areas of Paterson Inlet are managed as a Mataitai reserve to preserve native fish stocks. Pass Ulva Island, a protected sanctuary for native birds and also visit Whalers Bay at Prices Inlet to view the remains of the former Norwegian Base which flourished for a short time in the 1920's until it closed in 1932.
Your tour concludes back at the tender pier Golden Bay Wharf.
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 the catamaran, where caution is advised. We recommend wearing flat, rubber-soled shoes and bringing a warm, waterproof jacket.
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 Golden Bay Wharf, board your chartered launch and commence your cruise around Paterson Inlet. See Big Glory Bay, where salmon marine farms have been operating for over 20 years. 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.
Other highlights of this tour include the scenic cruising of Kidney Fern Arm and Kaipipi Bay. During the cruise, coffee, tea and biscuits are served. At the end of your cruise, the launch returns you to Golden Bay where you 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 the 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 ashore, meet your guide at the tender pier. 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 two-hour walking tour, tender back to the ship from Ulva Island Wharf.
Please note: The walk on Ulva Island is approximately two hours 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.
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 Golden Bay Wharf, you are met and transferred to 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 Petersen 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 to Golden Bay 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 if you do stay on in Oban, at the completion of the tour, you will need to walk back to the Golden Bay Wharf to catch the tender back to the ship. The walk is approximately 700 yards, over one hill and takes approximately 15 minutes.
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.