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.
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:
Some commonly seen birds include:
Land birds: Stewart 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.
To be published
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.
NZ $495.00 per person
NZ $470.00 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.
$1.00 per person donated into our Conservation Fund.
NZ $18.00 per person (optional or bring your own).
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.
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
Good fitness essential.
Not suitable for the elderly or children below the age of 12 years.
Additional dates may be available subject to feasibility and staff availability. Please contact us.
|May to September 2019||Please enquire|
1st or 2nd or 3rd
|November 2019||14th, 15th, 16th
28th, 29th, 30th
|December 2019||14th or 15th or 16th
28th or 29th or 30th
|January 2020||12th or 13th or 14th
26th or 27th or 28th
|February 2020||11th or 12th or 13th
25th or 26th or 27th
|March 2020||11th or 12th or 13th
26th or 27th or 28th
|April 2020||11th or 12th|