Cruise Detail

The Freshwater River is fed by hundreds of little creeks flowing from nearby hills and mountains in the interior of Stewart Island. It meanders slowly to its estuary at the head of Paterson Inlet, discharging tannin rich waters and some silt into the salty waters of Paterson Inlet.

We start our cruise at Golden Bay Wharf, at a reasonable speed and not too fast, so that you can see any wildlife and take in the scenery. We travel across Paterson Inlet to experience the primeval Freshwater River. At Freshwater Landing, spend approximately 10 minutes to look around, walk along the swingbridge (optional), check out Freshwater Hut on the opposite bank of Freshwater River. Return down the River, across Paterson Inlet and to Golden Bay Wharf.

Enjoy the beautiful scenery and view wildlife along the way. Your skipper will provide interesting information during your tour.

Optional Add-on

You can include a side trip encompassing a cruise through Prices Inlet and Kidney Farm, past the Norwegian Whalers' Base for an extra $25.  Contact us for further information.

Important: This trip is subject to suitable high tides and daylight hours for access to Freshwater River, and weather considerations. It does not operate everyday.


Paterson Inlet and Freshwater River.

birds seen

Some commonly seen birds include: 

Land birds: Bellbird, tui, grey warbler, fantail, South Island tomtit.

Sea birds: Little blue penguin

Shore birds: White-fronted tern, variable oystercatcher, Stewart Island shag, spotted shag, pied shag, little black shag, kingfisher.


Bottle-nosed dolphins are seen occasionally.


Reeds line the estuary giving way to manuka, scrub, ferns and mosses as you progress inland. 


"My favourite trip however was the ride up the Freshwater River to the start of our walk to Mason Bay. What a magical place and a great way to see it. We will be back!"


  • What we do

    Meet our Skipper at Golden Bay Wharf, 10 minutes prior to the tour departure time.

    Your skipper will make you comfortable, show you where we are going and provide some information along the way,

    Travel along Freshwater River is tide dependent, so we only stop at the Landing for a brief time. If there are other vessels trying to access the Landing, we may be limited in our ability to disembark you. 

    We mainly look out for wildlife in Paterson Inlet.

    We return to Golden Bay Wharf.

Ruggedy Range™
Aihe at Freshwater Landing

Pricing & Info


NZ $140.00 per person


NZ $95.00 per person


Cruise, Department of Conservation fees, admin costs.


Transfers to and/or from Golden Bay Wharf: NZ $7.00 one-way or NZ $14.00 return per person.

Min persons

4 adults

Important: If your booking is for less than the minimum, check to see if we have achieved the minimum or, we can reserve spaces, whilst we await further bookings.

Max persons

9 persons


2 hours


Departure times vary each day based on high tides and daylight hours.  We will advise when you book or enquire.


Golden Bay Wharf

Suitable for

Reasonable fitness and agility.

Departure Dates

Departs subject to demand, high tide, daylight hours, weather and sea conditions on the day.