We headed to Stewart Island via Invercargill, had a short visit to the velodrome before flying the strait in a tiny leaky plane.
We spent the afternoon on Ulva Island which is amazing, a must visit.
The next day we ran the Rakiura Great Walk, we stayed at the South Sea Hotel and run from there to the start of the track adding about 3kms, it was really nice and made it a loop track so no extra transport required.
After the run we spent a few hours at the pub watching the rugby and eating cheese cake I missed out on the night before. The publican hooked us up with one of the local blue cod fishing boats who could take us out for a fish the next morning. We caught a heap of cod and took it back in chilly bags to Wellington. We ate fresh cod for 3 days straight! yummy.
Stewart Island is well worth a visit. It has beaches that more beautiful than Abel Tasman. We are taking the kids next year. The Walk was the easiest of the 8 and the most remote. We didn’t see another person on the track until the last 2kms where we saw 3 day walkers!
Ulva Island (from Scottish Gaelic: Eilean na Ulbha) is a small island about 3.5 km (2.17 mi) long lying within Paterson Inlet, which is part of Stewart Island/Rakiura in New Zealand. It has an area of about 270 hectares (670 acres), the majority of which is part of Rakiura National Park. It was named after the island of Ulva in the Inner Hebrides ofScotland and was formerly called Coopers Island.
Ulva Island’s relative isolation, but easy access from Stewart Island has allowed it to become an important natural resource area. It is a sanctuary for both birds and plants, holding species that on the mainland of New Zealand are rare or have died out. In 1997, the island was declared rat-free, following an eradication program, and extirpated birds have been reintroduced to the island. The birds include the South Island saddleback(tieke), yellowhead (mohua) and Stewart Island robin (toutouwai). Other birds on the island that are rare on the mainland include the Stewart Island Brown Kiwi (tokoeka),Rifleman (Tītitipounamu), Yellow-crowned and Red-fronted Parakeet, and South IslandKākā or forest parrot, as well as several other species. The endangered Yellow-eyed penguin uses the island for breeding sites.
The Rakiura Track is a 29-kilometre (18 mi) tramping track on Stewart Island/Rakiura, New Zealand, and one of the New Zealand Great Walks.
It lies within the Rakiura National Park and can be walked over a one- to three-day period. It generally follows the coastline for a large parts of its length, passing small inlets, large bays and mudflats, before crossing steep hills covered in bush (dense forest) during its middle section. There are two huts on the track, at Port William and the North Arm of Paterson Inlet, and many people overnight at each. There are also camping sites available at Maori Beach, Port William and North Arm.
Large sections of the track have been gravelled, without this, the track often degrades into mud. This is due to two factors, the peaty nature of the soil, and the large amounts of rain that Stewart Island receives during the year. In general, the track is well-maintained, and of easy to medium difficulty. The given track length does not include several additional kilometres of paved road at the start and end of the walk from Half Moon Bay.
The track is equipped with huts for the use of trampers, though these must be booked in advance. The huts are equipped with firewood, flown in by helicopter as no roads connect to any of the huts and trampers are not allowed to cut their own wood. There are no cooking facilities in the huts, therefore trampers are advised to carry their own stoves and cooking equipment. There is a store in Oban where gas canisters can be purchased as well as other necessary supplies.
Walking the Rakiura Track also offers the unusual opportunity to see kiwi in their natural environment.
Visitors can reach Stewart Island either by commercial ferry or by flying from Invercargill Airport on a service operated by Stewart Island Flights.