Ulva Island Connection

Date: March 9th, 2022, Posted by admin

Discover Ulva Island /Te Wharawhara on this excellent value return boat tour with convenient daily departures and approx. 3 hours of freedom to explore.

In addition to our “On Demand” Ulva Island Ferry service, we are offering our scheduled summer “Ulva Island Connection” departing Golden Bay at 10am daily. This new Ulva Island Connection is eligible for our 10% OFF Multi-Day Pass, when booked with the Paterson Inlet Discovery Cruise and/ or the scheduled Port William Cruise & Walk! USE PROMO CODES “2-DAY10” OR “3-DAY10”.

  • freedom walk on beach at ulva island

Ulva Island FAQ’s

How long is the ferry to Ulva Island?

Departing from the Golden Bay Wharf, it takes approximately 7 minutes to get to Ulva Island. Your Rakiura Charters & Water Taxi skipper will provide commentary on the way and you will be dropped off at Post Office Bay Wharf.

How long do I need on Ulva Island?

Most people spend 2-4 hours on Ulva Island as there are around 4.5km of easy walking tracks. If you really enjoy spotting our native birds we recommend at least 3-4 hours on the island. You can also choose to join a Ulva Island Guided Tour.

How long does it take to walk around Ulva Island?

The main loop of the walking track includes Boulder Beach and takes approximately 3 hours. You can also choose other shorter tracks ranging from 20 mins.

Where is Golden Bay Wharf on Stewart Island?

Golden Bay Wharf is approximately a 15-20 min walk from the main Oban township and is where many Ulva island boat trips leave from. Follow Golden Bay Road out of town and up over the hill. You can also book a taxi if you prefer.

Do your provide a guide to Ulva Island?

You can purchase a self-guided booklet to Ulva Island – “Explore an Island Paradise”. This is available either from our Booking Office in Oban (Main Rd), or from the Golden Bay Ulva Island shelter. The guide is available for a $2 donation to the Ulva Island Charitable Trust.
Alternatively you can choose our Ulva Island Guided Tour where you will be accompanied by a local, passionate wildlife guide on a 3-4 hour tour.

Posted in: All Tours, Featured, Green, Stewart Island Tours, Ulva Island

Paterson Inlet Discovery Cruise

Date: December 9th, 2021, Posted by admin

Stewart Island’s most comprehensive scenic & wildlife spotting tour of Paterson Inlet

Join our brand new Paterson Inlet Cruise with a local family owned company, for a comprehensive journey exploring Paterson Inlet’s (Te Whaka a Te Wera) unique natural and Māori history, wildlife, aquaculture and scenery.

This 3.5-hour experience departs daily during our summer schedule (2 Jan – 29 Apr) from Oban’s central Halfmoon Bay Wharf.

Save 10% when you combine this tour with our Ulva Island Connection and/or our Port William Rakiura Track Day Walk. USE PROMO CODES 2-DAY10 OR 3-DAY10 TO REDEEM YOUR DISCOUNT.

Add-On: Ulva Island Freedom Walk

You can choose to add on an afternoon Ulva Island Freedom Walk to your Paterson Inlet Cruise. Please contact us directly for this option as it is a custom service, and subject to availability on the day.

Paterson Inlet Cruise FAQ’s

What wildlife do you see on the Paterson Inlet Cruise?

Paterson Inlet is a haven for native New Zealand wildlife. You may see little Blue Penguins, Yellow Eyed Penguins, NZ Sea Lions, as well as a host of pelagic (ocean going) seabirds such as Mollymawks, Spotted Shags, Terns, Cormorants, Sooty Shearwaters, Giant & Cape Petrels. Occasionally we also see Fur Seals and Bottle Nose Dolphins.
You can also choose to add on a Ulva Island Freedom Walk to this cruise to see native forest & shoreline New Zealand birds.

Is the Paterson Inlet Cruise suitable for children?

Yes! This is a family friendly boat tour which is ideal for children and families. There is always something to look at as we cruise through the beautiful waters of Paterson Inlet. We also pass historical sights such as Ackers Point Lighthouse, aquaculture farms and there are lots of opportunities to spot wildlife.
Our new 18m catamaran – the Paihea is modern, comfortable and easy to get aboard. Our friendly skippers provide commentary and ensure everyone is having a great time.

How long is the Paterson Inlet Cruise?

The cruise is approximately 3.5hrs long and is the most comprehensive Paterson Inlet Tour. It is great value for money at $135pp or $89 per child (6-13 years). This is the best way to see one of the highlights of Stewart Island.
You can also include Ulva Island on this tour – just contact us to request an add-on.

Posted in: All Tours, Birding & Wildlife, Combo Tours, Featured, History, Paterson Inlet, Sightseeing & Scenic, Stewart Island Tours

Port William Cruise & Walk

Date: December 8th, 2021, Posted by admin

Discover the highlights of the Rakiura Track on this popular 3-4 hour freedom walk & cruise option.

Save 10% when you combine this tour with either our Paterson Inlet Cruise and/or the Ulva Island Connection. USE PROMO CODES 2-DAY10 OR 3-DAY10 TO REDEEM YOUR DISCOUNT.

The Port William coastal track is part of the Rakiura Great Walk; the southern-most of New Zealand’s ten Great Walks, and one of the island’s most popular half-day experiences.

This scheduled service is offered at a $10 per adult discount from our on demand service!

Due to popular demand, this great value scheduled service has been extended from a summer only experience, to a year-round option! This adventure runs daily at 9am (bookings essential) and departs from the main Halfmoon Bay Wharf in Oban.
For those who are not able to join the 9am service, we also provide an on demand departure. Please get in touch with us to discuss this option.

  • beech forest on rakiura track
  • rakiura track swing bridge
  • rakiura track maori beach sawmill
  • rakiura track 1 day walk with views
  • chain monument at end of rakiura track

1 Day Rakiura Track FAQ’s

Can you do the Rakiura Track in 1 day?

While it is possible to walk the whole track in 1 day (32km), by taking a water taxi to Port William you can enjoy a scenic cruise and a 3-4 hour walk on one of the most scenic forest & beach sections. This section includes the historical Maori Beach Sawmill. The boat trip costs $45pp and you can choose to end your walk in Lee Bay or carry on to Oban

Do you see kiwi on the Rakiura Track?

The Rakiura Track is just one of the places you will have the opportunity to spot kiwi on Stewart Island, even in the daytime. This makes our Port William Cruise & Walk trip ($45/$20pp) a popular option for families.

How do I get to the Rakiura Track?

The Rakiura track can be walked in either direction, usually starting at Lee Bay (5km from Oban). However by taking a water taxi to Port William (20-25 mins) you can choose instead to walk a scenic section of the track in 3-4 hours. This is a popular day trip and suitable for most people as this section of the track is well graded and maintained.

Posted in: All Tours, Featured, Port William, Rakiura Track, Stewart Island Tours, Water Taxi

Full Day Land & Sea Bird Tour

Date: December 7th, 2021, Posted by admin

Discover Stewart Island’s pelagic (ocean) and forest birds on this incredible full day combo tour

View our rare and endangered land birds on Ulva Island, either on your own or with a guide, then cruise the coastline of Stewart Island to view our stunning seabirds which are so accessible to our shores.

Tour Highlights:

  • 2-5 hours freedom walk at the Ulva Island bird sanctuary, or select our guided version for a 3-4 hour guided Ulva Island experience
  • Then enjoy our Pelagic cruise around the Muttonbird Islands to view Petrels, Sooty Shearwaters (Tītī), striking albatross, plus Yellow-Eyed, Little Blue and Fiordland Crested penguins, Terns, Skua, Cormorants and more
  • You are in experienced hands – we are a certified member of the New Zealand Birding Network with over 20 years’ experience
  • Bonus sightings include bottlenose dolphins, fur seals and sea lions
  • Small groups to ensure a highly personalised tour
  • On board toilet and heated cabin, with complimentary fresh tea and coffee
  • Vessel adapted for maximum wildlife viewing and photo opportunities, and close proximity to birds
  • On-board species list and identification guide, detailed commentary from your knowledgeable skipper
  • Ask about our evening Wild Kiwi Encounter add-on to make this Stewart Island’s most comprehensive birding package

Ulva Island Guided Walk Add On:

Choose a Guided Walk on Ulva Island – explore this unique open sanctuary with one of our experienced and passionate guides. Learn about the rare native birds, their forest habitat and the cultural history of this very special place.
Guided Tour Pricing: Adult $290 / Child $185

What to bring on at the Full Day Stewart Island Land & Sea Bird Tour:

  • Warm, comfortable clothing, including a windbreaker/ rain jacket and suitable closed footwear (no open footwear permitted)
  • Hat and sunglasses
  • Binoculars
  • Camera
  • Packed lunch plus any snacks you may like for the day
  • Personal water bottle if desired

Find out more about the fascinating guided tour of Ulva Island.
Find out more about the Pelagic Bird Tour

To make a booking, please fill in the enquiry form or call our friendly booking team.

Posted in: All Tours, Birding & Wildlife, Blue, Combo Tours, Full Day, Green, Tours, Ulva Island

Ulva Island Guided Tour

Date: December 6th, 2021, Posted by admin

Join our internationally renowned guides on a tour of Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara, the world’s southern-most open bird sanctuary. The guided walk combines native podocarp forest, picturesque sandy beaches and rocky outcrops along 4.5 kilometres of easy walking track.

Pest-free since 1997, Ulva Island provides a habitat where rare plants and endangered birds can thrive. Enjoy the unique opportunity to spot Stewart Island robin, kakariki, saddleback, mohua (yellowhead), and, if you’re lucky, Stewart Island Brown Kiwi (tokoeka).

Our guides are passionate about this open sanctuary’s inhabitants, as well as its unique forest habitat and cultural history. They will enhance your birding experience on this 3-4 hour guided tour. If you’re on a tight schedule, a shorter 2-hour option is also available.

To make a booking, please fill in the enquiry form or call our friendly booking team. For further information about the guided walk, click here.

  • ulva island beach rakiura charters
  • ulva island guided tour with rakiura charters
  • ulva island guided tour
  • ulva island ferry connection with rakiura charters

Posted in: All Tours, Birding & Wildlife, Featured, Green, History, Sightseeing & Scenic, Stewart Island Tours, Ulva Island

Coast to Coast Adventure

Date: December 5th, 2021, Posted by admin

Experience the remote beauty of Stewart Island’s North-West Circuit with the flexibility to stay overnight at Mason Bay.

The Stewart Island Coast to Coast is one of Stewart Island Flights’ and Rakiura Charter’s most popular and unique trips. Appealing to any traveller who is up for a taste of New Zealand in its natural untouched state, the Coast to Coast is a gentle sample of the island’s more rigorous North-West Circuit.

To make a booking, please fill in the enquiry form or call our friendly booking team.

Trip Highlights:

  • Fly to Mason Bay with spectacular ocean views of Paterson Inlet
  • Experience a beach landing
  • Choose to stay overnight at Mason Bay Hut (DOC)
  • Experience a 4 hour walk on Stewart Island’s North-West Circuit
  • Cross through diverse landscapes – dunes, wetlands, scrub & native rainforest
  • Cross the boardwalk over Chocolate Swamp
  • Look out for the Stewart Island Kiwi
  • Take a scenic boat trip from Freshwater River to Golden Bay
  • Option to stay overnight at Freshwater Hut (book with DOC)

Full Trip Information:

Trampers can take in spectacular aerial views of Paterson Inlet and Mason Bay before an exciting beach landing – definitely a one-of-a-kind experience! The walk between Mason Bay and the Freshwater Hut is an invigorating four hours on mostly flat tracks, including a stretch of boardwalk over the island’s Chocolate Swamp.

The track features ever-changing vistas as it crosses diverse landscapes, from dunes to wetlands, scrub to rainforest. From Freshwater, trampers enjoy a scenic boat trip with Rakiura Water Taxis along the meandering Freshwater River, crossing Paterson Inlet to Golden Bay.

Alternatively the trip can be made in reverse, from Golden Bay through to Mason Bay, flying from the beach back to Oban to gain an aerial perspective of the track while the memories are still fresh. Flights directly linking Mason Bay and Invercargill are also possible.

​A number of options are available, including overnight stays at either the Mason Bay or Freshwater Department of Conservation huts. This allows for the increased opportunity of spotting New Zealand’s national bird, the kiwi, in its natural environment.

​The Coast to Coast is a trip to remember, whether it is completed as a day trip or a three-day holiday.

Tidal, please contact us for departure times. 1-3 Days.

$240 per adult ($255pa effective 1 Apr)
$140 per child
Min. fares apply
Includes flight from either Invercargill or Stewart Island to Mason Bay, and water taxi from Freshwater River to Golden Bay. Does not include Department of Conservation (DOC) Hut/ Track Pass.

Notes for your Coast to Coast Adventure

  • You will need to be fully self sufficient for your trip, including warm wet weather clothing, adequate footwear, cooking equipment
  • Trips are weather and tide dependent
  • Seasonal weather will affect the condition of the track. We recommend you discuss your trip with the local Department of Conservation staff before setting out, especially if you intend on extending your hike beyond the Mason Bay to Freshwater track
  • Average level of fitness required

Posted in: All Tours, Blue, Combo Tours, Featured, Full Day, Hiking/Tramping, History, Multi-Day, Self Guided, Sightseeing & Scenic, Water Taxi

Half Day Pelagic Bird Tour

Date: December 5th, 2021, Posted by admin

Get up close to our ocean-going birds on this spectacular tour

Known as one of the best places in New Zealand for pelagic (ocean-going) bird watching, Stewart Island boasts more than 20 species of breeding seabirds, many of which can be seen on most of our trips at close proximity.

Tour Highlights

  • Cruise the Muttonbird Islands
  • View Giant and Cape Petrels, Sooty Shearwaters (Tītī), Albatross, plus Yellow-Eyed, Little Blue and Fiordland Crested penguins, Terns, Skua, Cormorants and more…
  • You are in experienced hands – we are a certified member of the New Zealand Birding Network with over 20 years’ experience
  • Bonus sightings include bottlenose dolphins, fur seals and sea lions
  • Small groups ensure a highly personalised tour
  • On board toilet and heated cabin, with complimentary fresh tea and coffee
  • Vessel adapted for maximum wildlife viewing and photo opportunities, and close proximity to birds
  • On-board species list and identification guide, detailed commentary from your knowledgeable skipper

Select our full day Land & Sea Bird Tour to add the Ulva Island bird sanctuary, either on your own or with an experienced guide. There’s even an option to add an evening Wild Kiwi Encounter to make this Stewart Island’s most comprehensive birding package.

What to bring:

  • Warm, comfortable clothing, including a windbreaker/ rain jacket and suitable closed footwear (no open footwear permitted on board)
  • Hat and sunglasses
  • Binoculars
  • Camera
  • Personal water bottle and snacks if desired
  • Lunch if opting for our full day Land & Sea Bird Tour

To make a booking, please fill in the enquiry form or call our friendly booking team.

Fare $130pa, $95pc, increasing to $145pa and $115pc from 1 Apr 2022.

Posted in: All Tours, Birding & Wildlife, Featured, Green, Half Day

Paterson Inlet & Ulva Island Combo Tours

Date: December 4th, 2021, Posted by admin

NEW Paterson Inlet Discovery Cruise, & Ulva Island Add-On

Join our brand new Discovery Cruise for Stewart Island’s most comprehensive journey exploring Paterson Inlet’s (Te Whaka a Te Wera) unique natural and Māori history, wildlife, aquaculture and scenery.

This 3.5-hour experience departs daily during our summer period (ending 29 Apr 2022) from Oban’s central Halfmoon Bay wharf.

Fare: $135pa, $89pc.

We offer two options if you would like to combine an Ulva Island freedom walk with this exciting new cruise:

a) Select our Ulva Island Connection product online to enjoy on a different day, and save 10% on your whole cart with our Multi-Day Pass at the check out. Book here and USE PROMO CODES 2-DAY10 OR 3-DAY10 TO REDEEM YOUR DISCOUNT. Our Port William Cruise & Walk is also eligible for the Multi-Day Pass special for a limited time. Fare: Additional $25pa, $10pc.

b) Contact us to select the Ulva Island Add-On, to tack on a flexible freedom walk directly after your cruise on the same day. Our friendly team can talk you through our available return times to Golden Bay. Fare: Additional $15pa, $8pc.

For more information about Ulva Island, click here

Other Stewart Island Combo Tours

Freshwater River Scenic & Ulva Island Combo Tour

Enjoy a 1.5 hour vessel-based scenic cruise up the winding Freshwater River; the perfect way to explore a unique part of the island without the tramping. Fascinating commentary will help you appreciate the historical and geographical sites in Paterson Inlet including the Rakiura National Park, the Ruggedy Ranges, Freshwater Inlet and Mason Bay.

Combine this tour with a freedom discovery of the Ulva Island open bird sanctuary.

Fare: $95pa, $47.50pc, increasing to $105pa and $52.50pc from 1 April 2022.

Marine Farms & Ulva Island Combo Tour

Learn about our fascinating aquaculture industry, farming salmon, mussels and oysters on this 1 hour cruise around Big Glory Bay. Enjoy the opportunity to spot dolphins, yellow-eyed penguins and other wildlife before your freedom walk at the unique Ulva Island open bird sanctuary.

Fare: $85pa, $42.50pc, increasing to $95pa and $47.50pc from 1 April 2022.

Whaler’s Base History & Ulva Island Combo Tour

Between 1923 and 1933 the Ross Sea Whaling Company of Norway made 9 expeditions to Antarctica while using a base in Paterson Inlet. The ‘Whaler’s Base’ was used to repair the whaler chasers in between seasons. View the relics from the boat, including the old rusty workshop boiler and foundations of the slipway. Best enjoyed at low tide, but this tour may only be available outside of high tide due to scheduling factors.

Add on a stroll the Ulva Island open bird sanctuary on a flexible freedom walk. If you would like to disembark at the Whaler’s Base or Millar’s Beach with a later pick up, contact us for schedule options and rates.

Fare from: $85pa, $42.50pc, increasing to $95pa and $47.50pc from 1 April 2022.

Wildlife & Ulva Island Combo

Meet our local wildlife up close and personal on this fully commentated 1 hour tour as we cruise around the stunning Southern Bays of Paterson Inlet. Wildlife spotting opportunities include Bottlenose dolphins, Yellow-Eyed Penguins, and NZ Sea Lions and more. Travel through the Ulva Island/ Te Wharawhara Marine Reserve, and learn about its unique and fascinating marine habitats.

Select the Ulva Island Combo option to finish your experience with a flexible freedom walk at the Ulva Island sanctuary.

Fare from: $85pa, $42.50pc, increasing to $95pa and $47.50pc from 1 April 2022.

2hr Combos

Select two of any of the 1-hour Tours above to create your own itinerary of Stewart Island/ Rakiura’s highlights!

Fare: $110pa, $55pc, increasing to $130pa and $65pc from 1 April 2022.

Custom 2hr Combos also available with an Ulva Island freedom walk add-on: $120pa, $60pc, increasing to $145pa and $72.50pc from 1 April 2022.

Please fill our enquiry form or give our friendly team a call to book one of our combo tours.

What to bring on our Combo Tours

  • Warm, comfortable clothing including raincoat if desired
  • Binoculars, camera
  • Personal water bottle

Posted in: All Tours, Combo Tours, History, Paterson Inlet, Ulva Island

Freshwater River Scenic Cruise

Date: December 4th, 2021, Posted by admin

Jump aboard our daily water taxi through Paterson Inlet for a scenic cruise up the stunning, winding Freshwater River. The perfect way to explore a unique part of the island without the tramping! Learn about the historical and geographical sites of Paterson Inlet including the Rakiura National Park, Ruggedy Ranges, Freshwater Inlet and Mason Bay.

Our access to this area is tidal, so please enquire for departure times as they change daily. We often have services departing early evening, if you wish to enjoy this as a sunset cruise.

This scenic cruise is generally limited to small groups due to Department of Conservation concession limits, and may book out quickly during the peak summer period. Uniquely, we operate two concessions and are able to arrange additional passengers or transport for large groups if booked in advance. Contact us early to avoid disappointment.

If you want to tramp to Mason Bay and the Southern Circuit, we can also drop you off at Freshwater.

To make a booking, please fill in the enquiry form or call our friendly booking team.

Posted in: All Tours, Freshwater River, Sightseeing & Scenic, Stewart Island Tours, Tours

Ulva Island Water Taxi & Freedom Walk

Date: December 4th, 2021, Posted by admin

Explore at your own pace with our on-demand Ulva Island Water Taxi Service.

We offer convenient, on demand water taxi trips to Ulva Island/ Te Wharawhara, the world’s southern-most open bird sanctuary, with no strict schedules. Go your way…

Highlights of the Ulva Island Freedom Walk

  • Enjoy a short, scenic water taxi trip from Golden Bay to Ulva Island, across Paterson Inlet and the Ulva Island Marine Reserve
  • Listen to the commentary provided by your knowledgable skipper
  • Discover native bush, picturesque sandy beaches and rocky outcrops. There are 4.5 kilometres of easy walking tracks on Ulva Island
  • Unique opportunities to spot the Stewart Island robin, kakariki, saddleback, and mohua (yellowhead).
  • If you’re lucky, you might also spot a Stewart Island Brown Kiwi (Tokoeka)
  • Enjoy this trip as a freedom walker, or check out our Ulva Island Guided Walk options
  • A self-guide booklet “Explore an Island Paradise” is available from our Booking Office (Main Rd) for a $2 donation to the Ulva Island Charitable Trust
  • Departures from the central Halfmoon Bay wharf are possible for larger groups (bookings essential). Contact us to make a booking.

Typically we recommend a 2 to 4 hour visit. A flexible pick-up time can be arranged to suit.
To book a freedom trip please fill in the enquiry form or call us. We also offer a scheduled return trip for $25pp – the Ulva Island Connection which departs daily at 10am from Golden Bay Wharf.

What to bring to Ulva Island

  • Warm, comfortable clothing and footwear
  • Binoculars
  • Personal water bottle

FAQ’s – Ulva Island Water Taxi

How long does it take to get to Ulva Island?

It tales approximately 7-10 mins by water taxi to get to Ulva Island from the Golden Bay Wharf and 20 mins from the Halfmoon Bay Wharf in Oban. Rakiura Charters offers scheduled trips and on demand Ulva Island water taxi trips.

How long does it take to walk around Ulva Island?

There are several walking tracks on Ulva Island which allow you to explore at your own pace. Shorter options include Flagstaff Point Lookout (20 mins return) and Sydney Cove Picnic Area (20 mins return).
Longer options take in Boulder Beach (1.5 hrs return) and West End Beach (2 hrs return). Longer walks give you more bird watching opportunities, but even the short tracks will introduce you to the unique flora & fauna of Ulva Island.
We recommend allowing 2-4 hours for our freedom walk, and our guided walks take around 3-4 hours.

Is there a fee for visiting Ulva Island?

Ulva Island is free to visit but you need to take a water taxi (7-10 mins one way) to get there. Our on demand Ulva Island water taxi service is $25pp (adult) & $10pp (child). The island is supported by the Ulva Island Charitable Trust. We recommend purchasing their Ulva Island Guide ($2 from our booking office or from the Ulva Island wharf) to help their efforts, with $2 going to the trust.

Can you stay on Ulva Island?

You can’t stay on Ulva Island as it is an uninhabited sanctuary and a section of it is also privately owned.

What is the best way to visit Ulva Island?

A freedom or guided walk on Ulva Island is the best way to experience this unique island sanctuary. By allowing at least 2 hours on the island you will be able to explore the forested tracks, the pristine beaches and the wonderful native birdlife.

Who owns Ulva Island?

Around 7.9 hectares of Ulva Island is privately owned with the rest managed by DOC (Department of Conservation), supported by the Ulva Island Charitable Trust.

Can you take a guided tour of Ulva Island?

Yes, join a guided tour of Ulva Island with internationally renowned guides. On this trip you will explore 4.5km of easy walking tracks while spotting rare and endangered native birds..

Posted in: All Tours, Birding & Wildlife, Featured, Full Day, Green, Half Day, Hiking/Tramping, History, Self Guided, Sightseeing & Scenic, Stewart Island Tours, Ulva Island, Water Taxi

Paterson Inlet Wildlife Tour

Date: September 24th, 2018, Posted by admin

Meet our local wildlife up close and personal on this fully commentated tour as we cruise around the stunning Southern Bays of Paterson Inlet.

  • 1 hour tour plus transit time
  • Explore the coastline of the Ulva Island bird sanctuary, The Neck and Big Glory Bay – hotspots for local wildlife
  • Wildlife spotting opportunities include Bottlenose dolphins, Yellow-Eyed Penguins, and NZ Sea Lions
  • Other wildlife sightings might include the Fiordland Crested Penguins, Little Penguins, White-Fronted Tern, SI and Pied Shags and the striking Mollymawks
  • Travel through the Ulva Island/ Te Wharawhara Marine Reserve, and learn about its unique and fascinating marine habitats
  • These sheltered waters are often good spots for jellyfish and starfish spotting too
  • Suitable for groups of up to 15
  • Heated cabin, comfortable seating with maximum viewing and photography opportunities
  • Ask about our Combo Tours with Ulva Island

What to bring

  • Warm, comfortable clothing including raincoat if desired
  • Binoculars, camera
  • Personal water bottle

Posted in: All Tours, Birding & Wildlife, Green, Paterson Inlet, Tours

Paterson Inlet Marine Farms Tour

Date: August 18th, 2017, Posted by admin

Explore our local salmon, mussel and oyster farms on a 1 hour cruise around Big Glory Bay.

  • Learn about our fascinating aquaculture industry
  • Enjoy the opportunity to spot dolphins, yellow-eyed penguins and other wildlife
  • One-hour tour based in Paterson Inlet
  • Suitable for groups of up to 15
  • Heated cabin, comfortable seating with maximum viewing and photography opportunities
  • Detailed commentary from your knowledgeable skipper
  • Ask about our Combo Tours with Ulva Island

What to bring

  • Warm, comfortable clothing
  • Binoculars
  • Personal water bottle

Posted in: All Tours, Birding & Wildlife, Paterson Inlet, Sightseeing & Scenic

Whaler’s Base History Tour

Date: August 17th, 2017, Posted by admin

Discover a little-known part of Stewart Island’s fascinating history: between 1923 and 1933 the Ross Sea Whaling Company of Norway made 9 expeditions to Antarctica while using a base in Paterson Inlet. The ‘Whaler’s Base’ was used to repair the whale chasers in between seasons.

  • Enjoy your skipper’s fascinating commentary
  • On-board photographic guides
  • One-hour tour based in Prices Inlet, located in Paterson Inlet
  • Heated cabin, comfortable seating with maximum viewing and photography opportunities
  • Optional $25 per adult add-on if you would like additional time to explore the relics on foot, including the old rusty workshop boiler and foundations of the slipway (NB drop off at Whaler’s Base requires moderate fitness and agility to disembark the bow of the boat (no steps) into knee-deep water). You would then walk to the stunning Millar’s Beach for a later pick up from the Millar’s wharf (ladder boarding).
  • Suitable for groups of up to 12
  • Ask about our Combo Tours with Ulva Island
  • This site is best explored at low tide, however due to scheduling constraints, it may on some occasions be conducted during high tide, where the relics may be more difficult to view; please ask at time of enquiry

What to bring

  • Warm, comfortable clothing
  • Closed footwear for optional walk
  • Binoculars
  • Personal water bottle

Posted in: All Tours, History, Sightseeing & Scenic

Freshwater River / Mason Bay

Date: August 16th, 2017, Posted by admin

Our water taxi service to Freshwater River (the “Gateway to Mason Bay”), provides access to the Southern and North-West Circuits. Mason Bay is a popular multi-day tramp with a stay at either the Mason Bay or Freshwater DOC huts, and a high chance of seeing the Rakiura Tokoeka (Stewart Island Kiwi) in the wild.

If you are tramping the full Southern or North-West Circuits (5 and 11 days respectively), these are remote, challenging tramps. You will need good fitness and route-finding skills to tackle them.
The Freshwater River is a tidal destination, with departure and return times varying from day to day, so please enquire with us directly for service times and availability. This trip is also available as a scenic cruise, returning you to Golden Bay.

  • 45 min transfer (one way).
  • Travel through Paterson Inlet and up the stunning, winding river.
  • Heated cabin, comfortable seating with great viewing along the way.
  • Suitable for groups – please enquire.

What to bring to Freshwater

  • You will need to be fully self sufficient for your trip, including warm wet weather clothing, adequate footwear, cooking equipment.
  • We recommend you discuss your trip with the local Department of Conservation staff before setting out.
  • The full Southern and North-West Circuits are challenging, and you must be fully prepared.

To book a transfer please fill in the enquiry form or call our friendly booking team.

Fare: $60pa, $35pc, increasing to $70pa and $40pc from 1 Apr 2022.

Posted in: Blue, Freshwater River, Hiking/Tramping, Multi-Day, Self Guided, Water Taxi

Port William – On Demand

Date: August 14th, 2017, Posted by admin

The Port William coastal track, part of the Rakiura Great Walk, is one of the island’s most popular half-day walks. Discover this unique part of Aotearoa either with an experienced guide, or as a freedom walk.

Take advantage of on-demand departures to Port William so that you can enjoy the track in one direction. After a short cruise along the stunning coastline with commentary, we will drop you off at the Port William wharf.

Discover the former Maori Beach sawmill settlement on the 3-4 hour hike through the varied Rakiura National Park forest to Lee Bay.

From Lee Bay, you can book a cab to collect you and take you back to Halfmoon Bay/Oban. Or you can walk the rest of the way back along the local roads, an additional 1.25 hours walk. If you are looking for an additional challenge, the Horseshoe Point Headland walk loop is another 1.5 hours along the way.

If you’re on a budget, check out our Summer 9am scheduled Port William Cruise & Walk for a $10 per adult saving! The 9am schedule is also eligible for our 10% OFF Multi-Day Pass when booked with our Ulva Island Connection and/ or our Paterson Inlet Discovery Cruise.

To book a transfer please fill in the enquiry form or call our friendly booking team.

Posted in: Blue, Full Day, Half Day, Hiking/Tramping, History, Port William, Rakiura Track, Self Guided, Water Taxi

North-West Circuit Destinations

Date: August 12th, 2017, Posted by admin

The North West Circuit offers challenging multi-day tramping around Rakiura/Stewart island’s northern coast. It’s a great trip for the fit and well-equipped tramper.

Typically completed in 10 days, extra legs such as the Rakeahua Valley and Doughboy Bay can easily be added onto the North West Circuit. Or you can walk the Southern Circuit Track separately. Either way, a water taxi to Freshwater Landing will get you started!

Many trampers take advantage of our water taxi services to shorten their trip. Cut and paste desired locations into your itinerary, or simply get to those remote locations more quickly. Popular east coast locations include Port William and Bungaree.

The Department of Conservation’s Rakiura National Parks web page can help with tramping itineraries, weather forecasting, equipment preparation and track and hut information.

To book a transfer please fill in the enquiry form or call our friendly booking team.

Posted in: Blue, Hiking/Tramping, Multi-Day, Self Guided, Water Taxi

Southern Circuit Destinations

Date: August 11th, 2017, Posted by admin

The Southern Circuit is the gateway to the beautiful Mason Bay, and features side trips to the summits of Mt. Rakeahua and Rocky Mountain. Regarded as a remote, challenging tramp, you’ll need good fitness and route-finding skills. You can get there on foot from the North West Circuit, from Halfmoon Bay via North Arm or by boat, with us!

Locations include Freshwater River, Fred’s Camp and Rakeahua, all serviceable by water taxi. Doughboy and Mason Bay can be reached by tramping or by flights.

To book a transfer please fill in the enquiry form or call our friendly booking team.

Posted in: Blue, Hiking/Tramping, Multi-Day, Self Guided, Water Taxi

Rakiura Track Destinations

Date: August 10th, 2017, Posted by admin

Take a water taxi to Port William or North Arm to enjoy a 1 day – 3 day tramp on the Rakiura Track.

Rakiura Track and Port William

The Rakiura Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, consists of fairly easy, well-formed tracks. Take a boat to one of the huts to make a great day walk! The complete Rakiura Track is 29 km, suitable for anyone with moderate fitness. It takes three days, including Port William and North Arm, provides a good introduction to the scenery of Stewart Island and is suitable for tramping all year round.

Port William

The Port William coastal track, part of the Rakiura Great Walk, is one of the island’s most popular half day walks. Take advantage of our scheduled 9am departure (bookings essential) so that you can enjoy the track in one direction. After a short cruise along the stunning coastline including historical commentary, be dropped off at the Port William wharf. Discover the former Maori Beach saw mill settlement on the 3-4 hour hike through the varied Rakiura National Park forest to Lee Bay.

From Lee Bay, there is an option to book a shuttle to collect you and take you back to Halfmoon Bay/Oban. Or walk the rest of the way back to Halfmoon Bay/Oban along the local roads, an additional 1.25 hours walk. If you are looking for an additional challenge, the Horseshoe Point Headland walk loop is another 1.5 hours along the way.

To book a transfer please fill in the enquiry form or call our friendly booking team.

Posted in: Blue, Full Day, Hiking/Tramping, Multi-Day, Rakiura Track, Self Guided, Water Taxi

Marine Farms & Ulva Island Combo

Date: August 8th, 2017, Posted by admin

Enjoy a freedom walk of the unique Ulva Island open bird sanctuary before exploring our Marine Farms on a 1 hour cruise around Big Glory Bay.

  • Flexible freedom walk of the Ulva Island open bird sanctuary, featuring rare birdlife, stunning views and pristine beaches
  • Learn about our fascinating aquaculture industry, farming salmon, mussels and oysters
  • Enjoy the opportunity to spot dolphins, yellow-eyed penguins and other wildlife
  • Options available for small groups on board one of our intimate water taxis, or large groups on board our 18m catamaran with rooftop viewing deck
  • Heated cabin, comfortable seating with maximum viewing and photography opportunities
  • Detailed commentary from your knowledgeable skipper

For more information about our service to Ulva Island, click here.

Posted in: All Tours, Combo Tours, Full Day, Tours

Whaler’s Base & Ulva Island Combo

Date: August 7th, 2017, Posted by admin

Stroll the Ulva Island open bird sanctuary on a flexible freedom walk, before discovering a little-known part of Stewart Island’s fascinating history: between 1923 and 1933 the Ross Sea Whaling Company of Norway made 9 expeditions to Antarctica while using a base in Paterson Inlet. The ‘Whaler’s Base’ was used to repair the whaler chasers in between seasons.

  • Flexible departure times to the Ulva Island bird sanctuary by water taxi 
  • Pick up directly from Ulva for your 1 hour Whaler’s Base Tour
  • On-board photographic guides and fascinating commentary from your local skipper and guide
  • View the relics including the old rusty workshop boiler and foundations of the slipway, from the vessel (optional walk add-on (from $25pa) to disembark and explore, with a later pick up from the stunning Millar’s Beach)
  • Suitable for groups of up to 15
  • Heated cabin, comfortable seating with maximum viewing and photography opportunities

What to bring

  • Warm, comfortable clothing
  • Closed footwear
  • Binoculars
  • Personal water bottle and snacks

For more information about our service to Ulva Island, click here.

Posted in: All Tours, Combo Tours, Full Day, Tours

Hunting Transfers & Gear Hire

Date: August 5th, 2017, Posted by admin

We can provide comfortable, easy and fast hunting transfers to and from everywhere in Paterson Inlet, and most of the north-east coast hunting blocks. We also offer dinghy and outboard hire. Contact us for more information.

Why Stewart Island?

Stewart Island offers hunters the only readily accessible herd of Virginian Whitetail deer in the Southern Hemisphere and is a popular destination for deer hunters. There are 35 hunting blocks and an open zone within the Stewart Island / Rakiura National Park. Many of these blocks have specific hunter’s camps and huts while others share backcountry huts and facilities with trampers.

Hunting and Hut Information

For current information on track descriptions, conditions, features and camping site/ hut facilities and availability, as well as weather forecasts, please contact the Stewart Island Department of Conservation office directly on (03) 219 0002 or check out their website. Please note that bookings are required at some huts and campsites, through the Department of Conservation and that suitable gear and equipment is required for any overnight stays in the Rakiura National Park.

Permits are required for all hunting and these need to be applied for with DOC in advance. For hunting block bookings and availability, and permit information, click here.

Safety & Firearms

We recommend that you complete the Outdoors Intentions for Land Based Activities form before you leave. We recommend that you have with you a fully charged radio and mobile phone. The Stewart Island Department of Conservation field office can also hire you an emergency beacon if you would like one. Contact the Rakiura National Park Visitor Centre, located on Main Road, Stewart Island, for up to date weather and track condition information, before setting off for your trip.

Please contact Stewart Island Flights or Stewart Island Experience for firearm transport regulations on board flights or the ferry.

Stewart Island Flights

Stewart Island Flights connect Invercargill directly to Oban, Stewart Island with daily scheduled flights. After picking you up from the airstrip, they can drop you off by the wharf to go straight to your hunting transfer with Rakiura Charters.

If you’re travelling light, there are also many destinations they can fly into directly. This is the best way to get to the more remote hunting blocks. For more information, contact Stewart Island Flights.

Cooking Kit and Gas Bottle Hire No Longer Available

Unfortunately our Cooking Kit is no longer available alongside hunting transfers for the 2020/2021 season onwards. For pre-existing bookings, the cooking kit costs $15 per night and includes everything on this Cooking Kit Hire List.

We are happy to arrange a sack or two of Coal if required ($NZD13 each for 20kg). Coal can be helpful to get fires started if kindling is wet, or to keep the heat high.

If you are flying to Invercargill and/or Stewart Island, you may find it useful to pre-order groceries. Our local Stewart Island Ship to Shore 4 Square can be contacted on (03) 2191 069.

Posted in: Blue, Custom Charters, Hunting, Multi-Day, Self Guided, Water Taxi

Custom / Exclusive Tours

Date: August 4th, 2017, Posted by admin

For a fully customised tour tell us what your ultimate experience would be, or let us surprise you with the best the island has to offer!

Whether it’s dolphin watching or diving in our marine playground, choosing from a variety of bush walk options, or just sitting back with a glass of wine and enjoying the birdlife and stunning scenery from the heated cabin, we can get you out there to completely immerse yourself in Stewart Island’s natural wonders.

We also provide hunting party transport (non-guided).

Catering

From simple delicious chocolate cake and coffee, to packed lunch bags or full platters of local delicacies and award-winning wines – talk to us about your requirements.

Passengers

Minimum fares apply. Seating available for up to 19 depending on the itinerary.

To make a booking, please fill in the enquiry form or call our friendly booking team.

Posted in: All Tours, Custom Charters, Full Day, Half Day, Tours

Custom / Exclusive Water Taxi

Date: August 3rd, 2017, Posted by admin

Our fully customised services offer an opportunity to experience the highlights of Stewart Island in your own time, with the boat to yourself…

There are a variety of forest walk and historical site options, so contact us today and we can get you out there to completely immerse yourself in Stewart Island’s natural wonders.

We also provide hunting party transport (non-guided).

Catering

From simple delicious chocolate cake and coffee, to packed lunch bags or full platters of local delicacies and award-winning wines – talk to us about your requirements.

Posted in: Custom Charters, Full Day, Half Day, Hiking/Tramping, Hunting, Multi-Day, Self Guided, Water Taxi

Rakiura Charters & Water Taxi, Stewart Island, New Zealand Rakiura Charters & Water Taxi, Stewart Island, New Zealand