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For information on Rakiura National Park's walks, contact the Department of Conservation Visitor Centre.
Rakiura Track. Rakiura National Park has outstanding multiday treks. The Rakiura Track, one of New Zealand's Great Walks, takes three days. Day 1 goes from Halfmoon Bay to Port William Hut via Horseshoe and Lee bays. Day 2 heads inland through native bush and wood across the ridge, allowing for good views of Paterson Inlet and the Tin Range. Day 3 connects back to Halfmoon Bay via rimu and kamahi forest. The huts accommodate up to 30 people on a first-come, first-served basis. They come with mattresses, a wood-burning stove, running water, and toilets. (If you're relatively fit and you leave early, you can do this track in one day, but you will be sore.)
North West Circuit. A big step up from the Rakiura Track, in both distance and difficulty, is the North West Circuit, a 9- to 11-day walk from Halfmoon Bay that circles the north coast and then cuts through the interior. If that's not enough for you, five days can be tacked on by including the Southern Circuit. Stewart Island's climate is notoriously changeable, so be prepared for sun, wind, rain, and lots of mud. Take the usual safety precautions for these hikes: bring suitable boots, clothing, food, and a portable stove. Complete an Outdoors Intentions form at www.adventuresmart.org.nz before setting out; and, ideally, bring along with you a locator beacon or a guide who knows the trails. This hike may well reward you with a wild kiwi encounter.
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