Most of New Zealand’s third largest island has now been declared the Rakiura National Park and the majority of the island’s tiny population live in the township of Oban (or Halfmoon Bay), which is home to just 400 residents and a cluster of shops and accommodation.
The main attractions on the island are the walking tracks, pristine beaches and the bird sanctuary on Ulva Island.
Since most of the island is only accessible by foot, there are also tour guides ready to take you on wildlife safaris and overnight wilderness trips. Penguins abound on some of the remote beaches, and this is the only place in New Zealand where kiwis outnumber Kiwis by over 50:1.
Despite the unusually large number of cars in Oban, Stewart Island’s road network only extends a few kilometres from town and water taxis provide the main transport option on the island. Water taxi companies include Aihe Eco Charters & Water Taxi and Rakiura Charters & Water Taxi. Most water taxi services depart from the Golden Bay Wharf, about 1km from the centre of Oban.
The Ulva Island Ferry departs Golden Bay Wharf for nearby Ulva Island.