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Stewart Island

Page updated: 4 July 2014

Contact Us: mail@ruggedyrange.com

Page Contents

General

Conservation

History

Flora

Birdlife

Bank / ATM

Telephone / Mobile / Internet

Restaurants / Cafes

Shops

 

Sunrise over Halfmoon Bay, Stewart Island
Stewart Island Map
Rakiura - the land of the Glowing Sky.
Sunrise across Halfmoon Bay.
Stewart Island Flight, Scenic Flight over Halfmoon  Bay
New Zealand Map

General

Stewart 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.

Named "Rakiura"by Maori - which means "Glowing Sky", Stewart Island enjoys spectacular sunrises, sunsets and aurora.

As New 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.

Lying between latitudes 46 and 47 degrees south - the climate is mainly temparate and variable. For more information on the weather, see Weather.

Conservation

Most 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.

History

Maori 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.

Captain 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.

Flora

In 1909, 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.

Birdlife

Stewart 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.

The southern New Zealand dotterel, our third rarest bird (approx. 200 birds) breed only on the alpine tops of Stewart Island.

Other 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.

Stewart 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.

A listing of birds is also available on this website, see Bird List.

Banks & ATM Machines

There 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, South Island.

Telephone / 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.

Internet 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.

Shops

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.

Boats in Paterson Inlet,  Stewart Island
Native Fuchsia in Flower
Stewart Island Kiwi
Ruggedy Range™ Wilderness Experience
"Birds & Forest Booking Office"
Stewart Island - Travel & Activities

14 Main Road
P O Box 188, Stewart Island, NZ

Ph: 64 3 219 1066
Fax: 64 3 219 1078
Mob: 64 274 784 433
www.ruggedyrange.com
For all Enquiries, Bookings, please phone or contact: mail@ruggedyrange.com
Office now centrally located opposite Department of Conservation Office and approx. 2 minutes walk from flight/ferry See Map.

Guided Walks & Treks - Natural History Tours - Kiwi Spotting - Bird Watching - Botany - Sea Kayaking
Boat Cruises & Charters - Water Taxi (operating Aihe Eco Charters & Water Taxi)
Fully Licensed Shuttle & Shuttle Tours
Outdoor Clothing & Equipment
Travel Agency - Accommodation, Travel & Activity Bookings


STEWART ISLAND - ULVA ISLAND NATURE SANCTUARY - RAKIURA NATIONAL PARK, NZ
Copyright 2002 - 2014, Ruggedy Range (Tm) - All rights reserved.