Only an hour’s ferry ride from Bluff or a half hour small plane flight, brings you to one of the world’s truly hidden paradises. With stunning bays, inlets, golden sand beaches and densely forested hills, Stewart Island combines a spectacular mix of landscapes. 64 kilometres in length and 40 kilometres at its widest, the island boasts a miniscule population of just over 600 people. Its subsequent solitude has ensured its status as a haven for rare NZ birds. These include the Tui, Parakeet, Kaka, Bell bird, Robin, Dotterel, Fern bird and of course New Zealand's adorable treasure, the Kiwi. Other wildlife includes little blue Penguins, Deer and Possums.
Ferry (express catamaran)
One-hour crossing of the Foveaux Strait from Bluff to Halfmoon Bay on Stewart Island. During the one-hour crossing, keep a lookout for wildlife including seals, dolphins and seabirds. Coach transfers are available from Invercargill town centre and from Invercargill Airport to ferry departures in Bluff. Read more on www.stewartislandexperience.co.nz
Flights (small plane or helicopter)
20 minute flight from Invercargill Airport to Oban, Stewart Island. Read more on www.stewartislandflights.com
Some of the best and most diverse bird-watching in the world.
Easy and short day walks and family-friendly beach outings abound at Stewart Island. If you want to explore further afield there are plenty of multi-day treks around the Island, some taking up to 12 days to complete.
Lots of companies offer half or full day boat excursions, exploring wild coastline, bird watching and fishing. This is a great opportunity for the kids to fish and their catch may be cooked on-board for you to taste on the spot!
Rakiura Kayaks are based in the calm waters of Halfmoon Bay. As well as offering longer tours for the more experienced, they specialise in sit-on-top single and double kayaks that are great for families. Instruction and gear provided, and the sheltered bay makes an excellent family adventure.
Gain an entertaining insight into the community, history and environment of Stewart Island as you explore Oban and surrounding bays.
Read more on www.stewartislandexperience.co.nz
Established and run by volunteers, the museum houses an extensive collection of items and photographs of Stewart Island's early history, including Maori settlement; muttonbirding; whaling; fishing; timber milling; mining; boat building; transport; schools and churches. Included in the exhibits is an extensive collection of Stewart Island shells and crustacea.
Family friendly accommodation is available on Stewart Island with plenty of choices. Options range from YHA owned accommodation to hosted, holiday homes and motels. See Kidz Go Southland for options on Stewart Island and in Invercargill.