Otago, Invercargill, and Stewart Island Places

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Stewart Island

Essentials

Air Carrier

Stewart Island Flights (03/218–9129. www.stewartislandflights.com.)

Ferry

Stewart Island Experience (Stewart Island Visitor Terminal, Main Wharf, Oban, 9846. 03/212–7660 or 0800/000–511. www.stewartislandexperience.co.nz.)

Tour Information

Bravo Adventure Cruises. Phillip Smith, of Bravo Adventure Cruises, takes you on an evening cruise and guided bushwalk to spot kiwis as they forage on the beach. Phillip is extremely knowledgeable about Island lore and local Māori history. The trip is NZ$100 per person and limited to 15 people—you should have a reasonable level of fitness. Advance bookings are a must, but the trip may be canceled if the weather seems dodgy. 03/219–1144. kiwispotting.co.nz.

Kiwi Wilderness Walks. Get back to nature with a four- or five-day guided walk out in the Stewart Island bush. Highlights include Mason Bay with its staggering sand dune system, not to mention the possibility of seeing wild kiwi; historic Māori Beach, once the site of sawmills and a school in the early 1900s; and Port William's early sealing location. These tours depart from Invercargill. 021/359–592. www.nzwalk.com. From NZ$1,295.

Aurora Charters. Full- or half-day pelagic bird-watching tours are offered aboard the Aurora, a comfortable 18-meter catamaran on which to get your fix of seabirds. It's not uncommon to see five species of albatross during these trips: penguins, petrels, terns, shearwaters, and more. The large open deck out back provides an excellent platform for spotting the birds (bring your binoculars but most of the birds get pretty close), and if the wind picks up the cabin can comfortably seat 20 to swig a hot drink. Advance booking is strongly recommended. The full-day trip usually goes to Port Pegasus, a rarely seen part of Stewart Island. These tours are not suitable for children. Fishing charters available for large groups, too. 03/219–1126. www.auroracharters.co.nz. From NZ$120.

Rakiura Adventure Ulva Ferry (03/219–1013.)

Ruggedy Range Wilderness Experience & Aihe Eco Charters & Water Taxi. Guided walks, sea kayaking, boat cruises, water taxi, road tours, shuttle services, and outdoor adventure gear shop. Bed & Breakfast backpacking trips are on the horizon. You can take a half-day guided walk of Ulva Island or do an entire wilderness escape. The company also offers guided kayaking and boat and land tours.

There's a range of outdoor gear available for sale or hire, so you can leave bulking camping equipment at home. The company does all of its own bookings. 14 Main Rd., Stewart Island, 9846. 03/219–1066. www.ruggedyrange.com. From NZ$95.

Sails Tours. With 80 years combined island experience, let Peter and Iris Tait escort you around Ulva Island for a four-hour tour. Your unhurried sojourn begins on the Talisker, a 17-meter yacht that will take you across to Ulva Island ready to explore. Group sizes are small; courtesy transfers to and from your accommodation are included in the tariff. Or you can take a leisurely road tour and learn what island life is like (at a discounted rate if you book and pay for both tours). Accommodation on Stewart Island can also be arranged. 11 View St., Stewart Island, 9846. 03/219–1151. 0800/783–9278. www.sailsashore.co.nz. From NZ$135.

Stewart Island Water Taxi & Eco Guiding (0800/469–283 or 03/219–1394. www.stewartislandwatertaxi.co.nz.)

Visitor Information

Department of Conservation Rakiura National Park Visitor Centre (Main Rd., Oban, Stewart Island, 9846. 03/219–0009. www.doc.govt.nz.)

Stewart Island Promotion Association (www.stewartisland.co.nz.)

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