- Qualmark Audit
We have just completed our 2014 Qualmark Audit and are pleased to have passed. This year we have also been approved for Qualmark Endorsed Services.
- Rakiura Photo Tours
We have launched a new website: www.rakiuraphototours.com specialising in photo tours and workshops for beginners, amatueur and experienced photographers. The photo tours and workshops will be guided by experienced, professional photographers. We are excited about this new area of our work.
- Kiwi Interaction
9th July 2013 - checking on the boat at 7.30 am - still dark, but lightening up, had heard a male kiwi calling. Then a surprise as the kiwi popped out of the bush infront of me. I stood still and was rewarded by the kiwi approaching me to smell my boots. As I tried to walk away, the kiwi ran after me so I stopped and the kiwi had a good sniff of my boots. A bit unusual. I then carried on walking and the kiwi ran after me again and did the same - sniffed my boots. This happened a third time and then a car came along which I managed to stop and the kiwi ran back into the bush. I wonder how far the kiwi would have followed. It was funny listening to its footfall on the road following me. A special encounter!
- Office Relocation - 14 Main Road, Stewart Island
Our Office is now operating from 14 Main Road. This is only 2 minutes walk from the ferry terminal and flight depot and immediately across the road from the Department of Conservation Office.
- Birder's Nest™ Backpackers
We have purchased an old house in the centre of Oban Village, immediately opposite the Department of Conservation office and are planning to open a 5 bed backpackers in February 2013. As an old 1940's wooden house, it needs alot of care, however, we are hoping to make it comfortable and rent it as backpacker accommodation, so that we can raise the money to carry out necessary work on the property.
- Feeding of Kaka in Stewart Island
We are sad to see that feeding of kaka (wild parrots) is widespread in Oban Village. We do not approve of feeding of Kaka or other wildlife in Stewart Island or Ulva Island and continue to discourage visitors from feeding them. We handed one dead kaka to the Department of Conservation but have not received any feedback. It is likely that the kaka was electrocuted whilst hanging around in the area waiting for handouts. Since then another dead kaka has been found.
Recent feedback from the Department of Conservation is that kaka autopsies have shown the following causes: enteritis, window / car collision, lead poisoning, electrocution, prolapsed rectum. We think encouraging kaka to stay in the village is directly liked to kaka deaths. Please DO NOT FEED KAKA or any other wildlife.
- Day Trip and Overnight Trip Packages
Our packages have been updated with some new packages and so that you now have an option to travel by plane (return), ferry (return) or fly one-way and ferry one-way. See Day Packages and Overnight Packages.
- Air New Zealand - Sept 2012 Issue of onboard Kia Ora Magazine
Ruggedy Range (Tm) Wilderness Experience gets a nice mention in Air New Zealand's magazine for this month, when Furhana guided Nick and Duncan on Ulva Island.
- Emeritus Professor Carrick Chambers
We have been delighted to host Professor Chambers on our full day Ulva Island guided walk in March 2012. Professor Chambers is an eminent Australian botanist who was Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney and named the Wollemi Pine (discovered in the Blue Mountains of Australia in 1994), one of the worlds oldest and rarest trees.
- Ulva Island
Although the odd rat reaches Ulva Island each year, the existing trapping system has managed to keep Ulva Island free of a population of breeding rats, that is, until July 2010 when evidence of rats was found and later it was confirmed that rats were breeding. This has been a disaster given the years of effort put into making Ulva Island rat-free and the release of rare and endangered birds that are prone to predation.
The Department of Conservation opted for aerial poisoning which was carried out on 18th August 2011 and 20th September 2011. It will take several years of monitoring before Ulva Island is again declared rat-free. The rat invasion has had an impact on the bird population. The aerial poisoning has resulted a significant drop in the bird population mainly due to direct and secondary poisoning. In April 2012, 14 weka were introduced to Ulva Island to boost the virtually non-existent population.
A rat was found in a trap in May 2012, however, so far no signs of further rats on Ulva Island.
Ulva Island is fully open to the public to visit and our tours are operating as usual. Please see our Trip Reports if you would like an indication of our experience on Ulva Island.
- Visitor Numbers
Visitor numbers to New Zealand and to Stewart Island have been lower last season due to overseas economies. However, we are pleased with the enquiries that we are receiving for tours this season.
- Wildlife & Weather
Its winter in New Zealand (June, July, August). The weather has been very changeable from cool to cold. There have been a number of wet and windy days. Some snow has fallen melted on our highest peaks. Our forest is evergreen and is lush all year round. Only the odd tree is deciduous.
Bird Fair August 2011
Our Auction Lot 82 for a Southern New Zealand
Birding Experience (including Stewart Island, Ulva Island, Otago
Peninsula and the Catlins) raised 800 British Pounds for the Bird Fair's "Airways Programme" for migratory birds was uplifted in August 2012. Shiela and Alan Taylor enjoyed their visit and provided some lovely feedback.
- Mark Cowardine, UK Zoologist visits Stewart Island November 2011
We were planned to guide Mark Cowardine to Mason Bay to watch kiwi, but sadly our trip was cancelled due to some odd circumstances. We understand that Mark Cowardine had a fabulous time in Stewart Island. Mark Cowardine and Stephen Fry were involved in filming kakapo on Codfish Island several years ago.
To ensure that our Visitors are always receiving accurate and
upto date information about our comprehensive tours and services:
- We only operate through our own Booking Office in Stewart Island.
- We choose not to operate through information centres or the I-Site Network.
- Some accommodation hosts will not offer visitors selected tours and services.
- There is no independent Visitor Centre or Information Centre in Stewart Island.