Stewart Island Scenic Highlights
Though Stewart Island lies only 30 kilometres off the bottom of the South Island, it is a beautiful, untouched world of its own. Explore the many scenic attractions of this nature lover's paradise.
Stewart Island Scenic Highlights Overview
Stewart Island is a haven for people looking for tranquility and adventure.
Much of Stewart Island is protected by the boundaries of Rakiura National Park, New Zealand newest national park.
The western coast of Stewart Island is characterised by sea-pounded cliffs and sandy beaches.
On Stewart Island's eastern side there are three sheltered inlets. Paterson Inlet, with a 160-kilometre shoreline, is the largest.
Vegetation on Stewart Island ranges from podocarp and hardwood forest in the north to low forest and coastal vegetation in the south.
Rakiura - New Zealand's Newest National Park
Stewart Island is the southernmost and smallest island of the three main islands of New Zealand, (about 75 kilometres long and up to 45 kilometres wide). Approval has recently been granted for Stewart Island to become New Zealand's latest National Park— known as Rakiura National Park.
Stewart Island is the most natural of New Zealand's three main islands—the least farmed, least logged, least burnt and least built on. The forests contain the last remnants of what the rest of Southland's native forests were once like.
Protecting these habitats, particularly on the pest-free offshore islands, is essential for the long-term survival of kiwi, yellow-eyed penguin, kakapo, New Zealand dotterel, bats, weka, South Island saddleback and wetas (a large cricket-type flightless insect).
For anyone seeking peace and tranquility, Stewart Island is the ultimate spot. There are superb bush walks and great launch cruises around some of New Zealand's most beautiful coastline.
The island's amazingly clear and clean waters make it a snorkeling and diving paradise.
Offshore from Stewart Island is Ulva Island. With an area of 250 hectares Ulva Island is situated in Paterson Inlet. It is accessible via water-taxis and is managed as an open wildlife sanctuary by the Department of Conservation.
Ulva Island's restored forest and lack of predators make it a perfect, safe environment for many rare and endangered bird and plant species and is a place where the public may view and enjoy rare birds and native plants at close quarters.
The island was visited by early Maori to strip bark from its Totara trees to aid the storage of mutton birds. Trees with patches of bark missing may be seen, some dating back over 200 years. In the 1880s, the New Zealand Tourist Department funded track provision and in 1899, the Island was declared a reserve for " Preservation of Nature, Game and Flora".
Useful Stewart Island Links
To help plan your Stewart Island holiday choose from the main categories below:
- Stewart Island Accommodation
- Stewart Island Tours
- Stewart Island Attractions and Activities
- Stewart Island Transport
- Stewart Island Visitor Information
Stewart Island Region Information
Key information and facts about the Stewart Island region.
Major activities and attractions in the Stewart Island region.