Otago, Invercargill, and Stewart Island Places


Stewart Island

Getting Here and Around

Stewart Island Flights has three scheduled flights daily between Invercargill and Halfmoon Bay. The 20-minute flight costs NZ$190 round-trip; for the best views ask to sit up front with the pilot.

Stewart Island Experience runs the ferry between the island and Bluff. There are three departures daily October to April, and two during the low season. The cost is NZ$66 each way. The island's bare-bones-but-paved Ryan's Creek Airstrip is about 2 km (1 mi) from Oban (population 390). The shuttle that meets each flight is included in the airfare.

The best mode of transportation on the island is the 10-toe express. There are cars, mopeds, and bicycles for rent on the island, but there are only 20 km (13 mi) of paved road. Most of the traffic road signs you'll see are big yellow caution ones depicting silhouettes of kiwi and penguins.

Water taxis are an excellent option if you want to "mix it up" a bit when seeing the park. Most one-way fares are about NZ$45, and the Ulva Island return is about NZ$30. Four taxis operate from Golden Bay Wharf, a scenic 15-minute walk from town. The visitor center can make a booking for you.

The Department of Conservation Rakiura National Park Visitor Centre is open daily. The Environment Centre, located next to the Glowing Sky T-shirt shop, has information about the habitat recovery projects on the Island. The Library in the Community Centre has a complete collection of books about Stewart Island, and field guides of native flora and fauna. (The Library is open only five hours per week, but the librarian's number is on the door and she will open upon request.) For biased, vulgar, and amusing information about island goings-on ("the goss"), belly up to the bar at the Pub and do some earwigging.