Island is New Zealand's third largest Island, approx. 65 kms long
and 45 kms wide - it is separated from the South Island by the Foveaux
Straits. The Island is relatively low lying and undulating with
the highest point, Mt Anglem/Hananui, rising to 981 mtrs. Largely
unihabited and unmodified - it is mainly covered in native bush,
with wetlands, sand dunes and a varied coastline from sandy beaches
to sheer cliffs. The coastline is fringed with vegetation and boardered
by crystal clear waters hosting an abundance of marine life - a
real paradise for nature lovers.
"Rakiura"by Maori - which means "Glowing Sky",
Stewart Island enjoys spectacular sunrises, sunsets and aurora.
Zealand's southernmost populated area, Stewart Island has about
400 residents, most of whom live in and around Oban Village, Halfmoon
Bay, in the north east. There is only 28 kms of roads servicing
the populated area.
between latitudes 46 and 47 degrees south - the climate is mainly
temparate and variable. For more information on the weather, see
of the Island (approx. 93%) is actively managed as conservation
lands. On 28th February 2002, approx. 83% of Stewart Island
became New Zealand's 14th National Park. In June 2004, a small
marine reserve was established around a large portion of Ulva Island's
coastline. There are 276 kms of walking tracks, ranging from local
day walks, back country tracks and routes for experienced trampers.
presence on Stewart Island dates as far back as the 13th Century,
with evidence of midden sites and settlement found around the coastline.
Mutton birding, the traditional annual harvesting of sooty shearwater,
an exclusive right of Rakiura Maori and their descendants, continues
to be practised on offshore islands.
Cook first sailed around the shores of Stewart Island in 1770 and
since this first sighting a colourful European history has unfolded
with the arrival of the early sealers and whalers. The Island has
seen a variety of industries including boat building, tin mining,
milling, farming and fishing - the latter a surivor to the present
day. Tourism, although in existence since the late 1800's has become
a significant industry on the Island.
an eminent botanist, Dr Leonard Cockayne described Stewart Island
as "...an actual piece of the primeval world."
Much of the Island is still relatively unmodified and is one of
the few areas in New Zealand containing remnants of near pristine
native forest abounding in treasures. The forest is largely southern
podocarp, temperate rainforest.
Island is home to many species of birdlife - some rare, some endangered.
The Stewart Island kiwi or the Stewart Island Tokoeka, Apteryx
australis lawyri - is one of several varieties of kiwi in New
Zealand, all are fully protected. Kiwi are flightless and largely
nocturnal. However, the Stewart Island Tokoeka is known to be active
during the day and night. A unique bird which was thought to be
an hoax in the 19th Century and an "honorary mammal" in
the 20th Century, it has been adopted as New Zealand's national
icon, not surprising for a country unique in iself.
New Zealand dotterel, our third rarest bird (approx. 200 birds)
breed only on the alpine tops of Stewart Island.
land birds which are often seen on Stewart Island, include bellbird,
tui, kaka, tomtit, brown creeper, grey warbler, red and yellow crowned
parakeet and the New Zealand wood pigeon.
Island's extensive coastline is a feeding ground and for many seabirds
especially mollymawks (small albatross), sooty shearwater, skua,
petrels, terns. Several species of cormorants are also found including
the Stewart Island Shag.
of birds is also available on this website, see Bird
& ATM Machines
are no banks. There is one ATM in Stewart Island for NZ Eftpos and NZ Credit Cards. Many business
take credit card or EFTPOS. The nearest banks are in Invercargill,
/ Mobile / Internet
We have a public
card phone on Main Road. Most accommodation venues have phones for local calls.
Telecom New Zealand and Vodafone mobile services are available in Stewart Island. The service is limited - mainly in Oban Village and parts of the northern side of Paterson Inlet and Ulva Island.
is available at some accommodation venues and the pub. There is free WiFi at the local library and outside the Community Centre on Ayr Street.
Restaurants / Cafes
There are two restaurants and two cafes. These are all open during the busy season. During the off-season there is usually one restaurant operating throughout. We recommend you book seats at restaurants during the busy season.
There is one grocery store, two gift shops (other venues may also sell gifts) and one outdoor shop. The outdoor shop is operated by Ruggedy Range™ Wilderness Experience from its Booking Office on 14 Main Road. It also sells some gift items.