Trip Details

The middle section of Stewart Island from west to east coast comprises: Mason Bay, the Freshwater Flats / Freshwater Valley and Paterson Inlet.

Mason Bay has approximately 14 kms (9 miles) of curved beach, one of the most extensive natural sand dune systems in New Zealand with native coastal plants. Coastal forest, tussock, grasses and scrub surround Mason Bay. Further inland, the surrounding northern and southern hills slope down to an extensive wetland area - the Freshwater Flats.  A multitude of creeks that run through the flats feed water into Freshwater River. The river meanders down to its estuary at the start of Paterson Inlet, releasing tannin stained water and silt. The changing habitat, allows a variety of native and endemic birds and plants to exist in the area. There is evidence of kiwi and with luck perhaps a chance daytime sighting.  Kiwi are wild birds and sightings are not guaranteed.

This tour is for clients with limited time, who want to experience this wilderness area.  It offers less time than our overnight hikes. For clients who want more time to discover and explore, we recommend the Kiwi Journey or Kiwi, Dunes & Beach trips.


  • This trip is not available on a daily basis due to daylight hours and tidal considerations, and the time needed to complete the hike.
  • Trips may operate in reverse.
  • Weather is always an important consideration. 

Mason Bay and the Freshwater Valley, Rakiura National Park, Stewart Island.  


Water and long drop toilets are available at Mason Bay Hut and Freshwater Hut, the start and end of your hike.


Day pack, raincoat, warm clothing, warm hat and gloves, water bottle, snack, camera and binoculars. Wear hiking shoes. Hiking poles and gaiters are recommended.
We operate an Outdoor Shop (Gear Hire / Purchases).


Contact us for customised packages to include travel to and from Stewart Island by ferry or plane and accommodation before and / or after your guided walk.


To appreciate the diversity that Stewart Island has to offer, we recommend that you come on the following tour:

Birds Seen

Some commonly seen birds include:

Land birdsStewart Island robin, Stewart Island fern bird, New Zealand pipit, tui, bellbird, South Island tomtit, fantail, grey warbler, red-crowned parakeet, wood pigeon, kingfisher, brown creeper, Australasian harrier, skylark, chaffinch, dunnock.

Sea birds: Little blue penguins.

Shore birds: Black-backed gull, red-billed gull, variable oystercatcher, banded dotterel, Stewart Island shag, pied shag, white-fronted tern, black swan.

Note: Kiwi and Southern New Zealand dotterel are seen on some trips.


The flora is varied and includes podocarps on the slopes of the Freshwater Valley, manuka, wetland plants including mosses and lichen, tussock, scrub, flax, coastal and dune plants and a variety of orchid species.


New Trip

To be published


  • What we do

    Meet with your guide to check in for your flight to Mason Bay.

    Enjoy an exhilarating, scenic flight across to Mason Bay (10 - 15 minutes). Take in stunning views of Paterson Inlet, the winding Freshwater River, wetland dunes and Mason Bay. Land on the spectacular beach at Mason Bay. 

    We take about 30 minutes to view the surrounding dune and beach area, then head inland to Mason Bay Hut and, onto the historic farmhouse to learn about the early European history of the area.

    Continue on our hike to past Island Hill, an exposed granite outcrop and, on the boardwalk over the infamous "Chocolate Swamp" towards Scotts Burn Creek and Freshwater Landing.

    Along the way we look our evidence of kiwi and other native birds.  Enjoy the flora and orchids when present. 

    Take a few minutes to explore around Freshwater Hut, before boarding our water taxi at Freshwater Landing. Relax on your ride along the winding primeval Freshwater River and across Paterson Inlet. Arrive at Golden Bay Wharf about 45 minutes later. Transfers provided to Oban, Halfmoon Bay.

MASON stewart island 2005 12 21 469
Ruggedy Range™
Stewart Island robin - juvenile

Pricing & Info


NZ $600.00 per person


NZ $425.00 per person


Guided hike, Mason Bay flight, Freshwater River water taxi, transfer to or from Golden Bay Wharf, hot drinks and some refreshments, Department of Conservation fees, admin costs.


NZ $20.00 per person (optional or bring your own).

Min persons

6 persons

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

8 persons


Approx. 7 hours


Approx. 18 kms (11 miles)


Flat, from beach, bare track, some boardwalk, large sections of mud and tree roots.
Track conditions are subject to change from dry to wet periods, with occasional flooding in the wetland area.


Start/End: Ruggedy Range™ Booking Office

Suitable for

Good fitness essential.
Not suitable for the elderly or children below the age of 12 years.

Departure Dates

Additional dates may be available subject to feasibility and staff availability.  Please contact us.

September 2022 To be published soon.
October 2022

To be published soon.

November 2022 To be published soon.
December 2022 To be published soon.
January 2023 To be published soon.
February 2023 To be published soon.
March 2023 To be published soon.
April 2023 To be published soon.