Enter an unspoilt wilderness on Stewart Island, ‘The Land of the Glowing Skies’ and see for yourself its spectacular sunrises and sunsets.
The Rakiura Track is a 36 km, 3 day circular route, which can be walked year round in either direction, and requires a moderate level of fitness. Hut and campsite passes are available from the visitor centres in Invercargill and the island’s main town, Oban. Regular air services operate to Oban from Dunedin and Invercargill, and a fast passenger ferry runs from Bluff.
The track starts from Half Moon Bay via Horseshoe Bay Road and then winds above the coastline to Maori Beach, and on to Port William Hut. On Day 2 the track leads inland over extensive boardwalks, and through exceptionally tall rimu forest, thick with tree ferns and epiphytes. The lush vegetation is a result of regular rainfall, which can be expected on 250 days of the year. The track then climbs to a lookout tower with views of Paterson Inlet, the largest harbour on the island, and descends through sub-alpine forest to North Arm Hut. On Day 3 the track follows the shoreline to Sawdust Bay campsite, before heading back to Halfmoon Bay.
Bird life is prolific on the walk with sightings of bellbirds, tui, fantails, kakas, parakeets, and wood pigeon. The peacefulness of the bays is profoundly moving. You will love the spectacular sunsets, the sight of weka and brown kiwis foraging in the seaweed along the shore, the gentle lapping of quiet water on sand, and the sweet dawn chorus of bellbird and tui.
Steward Island along with its 170 satellite islands in turbulent Foveaux Strait, is a truly remarkable, isolated place. The Rakiura Track gives you a unique insight into a natural world, which seems to be eons removed from modern day life.