Stewart Island is New Zealand’s Southern- most island. Known as ‘Rakiura’ The Isle of Glowing Skies, is protected by the borders of Rakiura National Park, established in 2002. Hikers can enjoy almost 245 kilometres of walking tracks, for both the experienced and leisurely walker. Two of the most popular hiking tracks are the 2-3 day Rakiura, and the longer North West Circuit, which can take 10-12 days to trek. Sightings of Bottlenose Dolphins, sea lions, fur seals, the occasional sea elephant and one of the five species of penguins are a highlight to visiting Stewart Island.
The West Coast of Stewart Island holds sea-pounded cliffs and sandy beaches. Paterson Inlet, one of three sheltered inlets found on the East side, accesses Ulva Island from Golden Bay; there on Ulva Island you will find an open bird sanctuary with more than 30 bird species, including our indigenous flightless bird and national symbol, the Kiwi, which can be observed in its natural habitat. Beautiful translucent ferns, mosses, liverworts, and exquisite seasonal orchids under the lush green layer of Podocarp forest can be accessed while walking the tracks of Ulva Island.