Spectacular Stewart Island is New Zealand's third and smallest island, 32 kilometres from the mainland and divided from it by Foveaux Strait. One of Southland's best-kept secrets, this heavily forested island is the perfect place to get away from it all, with native flora and fauna, fishing, hiking, diving, snorkelling, kayaking, golf, hunting and scenic flights. At 64km long and 40km across, the island's main township is Oban (named after the Scottish town) at Halfmoon Bay.

Native bush cloaks most of the island's rugged landscape and sandy beaches fringe sheltered bays. Stewart Island is a birdwatcher's paradise, with native bush birds such as kaka, bellbirds, tui, robins, fernbirds and dotterels. The island is one of the best places to view New Zealand's national icon, the kiwi, in the wild. The rocky coastline is also home to New Zealand fur seals, penguins and a shearwater colony. These natural riches are protected by New Zealand's newest national park, Rakiura, which was gazetted in 2002.  Walkers can enjoy a variety of unspoilt bush tracks, ranging from shorter walks around Halfmoon Bay to the demanding 10-day North West Circuit.

Getting to Stewart Island

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