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  • Bold cone, Stewart Island Bold cone, Stewart Island
    Discovery Expeditions Stewart Island
    Stewart Island
  • Boat from above, sailing around Stewart Island Boat from above, sailing around Stewart Island
    Discovery Expeditions
    Stewart Island
  • Mollymawk in the sea at Stewart Island Mollymawk in the sea at Stewart Island
    Discovery Expeditions
    Stewart Island

Stewart Island Conservation Expeditions

Discover the magic of New Zealand's third island on a 6 day expedition of Stewart Island

Real Journeys have teamed up with the Department of Conservation (DoC) to offer a unique Discovery Expedition of Stewart Island.  On this cruise, you will learn about DoC's conservation efforts from DoC staff onboard.  Discover New Zealand’s third and southernmost island – Stewart Island – from aboard the purpose-built Milford Wanderer.


  • Learn about DOC’s conservation efforts from onboard DOC staff.
  • Spend time doing real conservation work like clearing vegetation, preserving mining artefacts and assisting with the preservation of historic structures from the tin mining era.
  • This six-day, five-night expedition includes a return ferry across the Foveaux Strait, comfortable cabins on board the Milford Wanderer and delicious meals prepared by our on-board chef.

Most of Stewart Island is part of the Rakiura National Park with settlement mainly confined to Oban, the only township.  The island’s densely forested hills, tiny population and untouched coastline of rocky outcrops and creamy golden sand beaches make it a natural refuge for marine and bird life and a wonderful destination for people who value nature and wild places.  

Your journey starts with a cruise across Foveaux Strait from Bluff to Stewart Island’s eastern shoreline.  After boarding the Milford Wanderer, you’ll spend the next six days cruising some of the most magical waters in New Zealand, venturing ashore regularly for guided walks and visits to historic sites.

  • Six-day / five-night expedition cruise options
  • On-board specialist nature guides who provide informative commentary and evening talks
  • Guided walk led by DOC to the Tin Range
  • Visit historic sites and abandoned settlements
  • Tender craft and kayaks for exploration of the coastline
  • Coach connections available from Invercargill

Please call +64 3 212 7660 or email: [email protected] to book

Departures & Availability

2020/2021/2022 - no departures for this expedition.

Getting to Bluff

Departure Location

Stewart Island Discovery Expeditions depart from Bluff Visitor Terminal.

Getting to Bluff

Bluff is around 25 minutes from Invercargill, 3.5 hours from Dunedin and around 3 hours from Queenstown by road. Coach connections are available from Invercargill (extra cost).

Milford Wanderer 

Just because you’re escaping civilisation doesn’t mean you have to go without its comforts. Our vessel, the Milford Wanderer, is a modern motorised vessel that has been purpose built for navigating southern New Zealand.

The Milford Wanderer​

Designed along the lines of a traditional sailing scow, it has old world charm combined with modern facilities and the latest in safety equipment.  After recent refurbishment the Milford Wanderer offers "twin-share" compartments and shared bathroom facilities. 

  • 32 passengers per departure
  • Warm, comfortable accommodation (two passengers per sleeping compartment)  
  • Duvets, sheets and towels provided
  • Modern bathroom facilities with hot showers 
  • Delicious meals prepared by onboard chef  
  • Open bridge policy - chat with the skipper during the voyage
  • Kayaks and small motorised craft available for passenger use

Stewart Island - 6 days 5 nights

Please note this is a general guide only, all itineraries are subject to change based on weather conditions and crew judgement. In addition to below there is also lots of cruising, and extra kayaking or walking where time allows.

Day 1 - Bluff to Port Adventure
Take the express catamaran across Foveaux Strait - from Bluff to Halfmoon Bay, where you will board the Milford Wanderer and cruise to Port Adventure. Port Adventure is where Oysters were first harvested commercially in the 1800s.  Finish the day with an afternoon beach and/or forest walk.

Day 2 - Port Adventure to Port Pegasus
A 3-hour morning sea passage to Port Pegasus. Time for kayaking and/or a walk to the lookout above Evening Cove.

Day 3 - Port Pegasus
Activities around Port Pegasus including a morning walk up the impressive granite peak of Bald Cone and a 3 - 4 hour conservation trip led by DOC on the Tin Range.

Day 4 - Port Pegasus to Paterson Inlet
Visit the old 1800s fishing base at North Pegasus and the Belltopper Falls, then a 4 hour sea passage to Paterson Inlet in the afternoon.

Day 5 - Paterson Inlet
Spend the morning on the Ulva Island bird sanctuary.  In the afternoon visit the historic Norwegian whaling station in Prices Inlet and/or kayak Kaipipi Bay.

Day 6 - Paterson Inlet to Bluff
A morning walk from Golden Bay across to Halfmoon Bay and Oban township.  Express catamaran to Bluff in the afternoon.

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