We are open and operating during Alert Level 2 | COVID-19 Update >

About Stewart Island

Rakiura/Stewart Island is a relatively undiscovered tourism destination far off the beaten track and is separated from Bluff on the mainland by Foveaux Strait.  The island is 75km long and up to 45km wide and there are numerous small island dotted around the 755km coastline with the largest being Codfish Island. 

In Paterson Inlet, which you can visit on our Ulva Island Explorer tour, is a large natural harbour on the eastern coast, where there are more than 20 little islands alone.

Stewart Island attracts nature lovers from around the world for either a one-day excursion or various activities over a more leisurely stay. It has stunning coastal scenery, fauna, flora and a special landscape.

Despite seeming remote, Rakiura/Stewart Island is in fact highly accessible, with just a 1 hour ferry from Bluff or 20 minutes by air from Invercargill.


Stewart Island’s rich human heritage dates back to the 13th Century when Maori referred to the Island as Rakiura (land of the glowing skies) or Te Punga o te Waka a Maui (the anchor of Maui’s canoe).


With New Zealand’s largest accessible population of native birds, Stewart Island is a birding enthusiast’s paradise. A visit to Ulva Island's renowned wildlife sanctuary is a home to weka (native woodhen), bush robins, rare saddlebacks and yellowheads amongst other species and is also a protected habitat for some of New Zealand’s rarest plant species.


The climate is temperate with summer temperatures climbing to the mid-20's. Sunshine hours are equal to the national average whilst It is also a high rainfall area, with between 1,000mm to 3,000mm per annum (approx.) falling, but without rain, there’s no rainforest!

Our people. Our places. Stewart Island Experience, New Zealand