Stewart Island offers a special experience - a glimpse into a simpler, slower lifestyle, in rhythm with the sea and the tides, attuned to the natural world of bush and beach.
In 2002 the very qualities that make this a great place to treasure were recognised in the formation of the Rakiura National Park, comprising 85% of the island's 1570 square kilometres.
In 2019 Stewart Island/Rakiura was awarded Dark Sky Sanctuary accreditation by the International Dark Sky Association. Classified by the IDA as having outstanding sky quality - and being accredited with Sanctuary status - helps to ensure that light pollution levels are controlled and our natural nightscape is protected for the future.
Join us onboard the Affinity Vessel which has been recently updated and features a brand new crew with a real passion for the environment and ensuring everyones needs are well and truly met. There’ll be opportunities to fish, walk, relax, eat stunning food and explore all Stewart Island has to offer.
Come and see this unique part of the country with us!
If departing from Whanganui, meet at the Whanganui Racecourse for a 7:45am departure and travel to Palmerston North Airport to catch our 10am flight to Invercargill with a short tranzit in Christchurch.
For those departing from another destination we will arrange for you to meet the group in Invercargill or Christchurch depending on your location.
Once we arrive in Invercargill we will be transferred to the Ascot Park hotel with time to relax and enjoy the hotel facilities before our first group dinner. We will rest up for the evening enjoying ourselves before our real adventure begins tomorrow.
Accommodation: Ascot Park Hotel
On day 2, we meet for breakfast at the hotel before we get collected approx 8:30am by coach and transferred to Bluff to catch the ferry over to Stewart Island.
The 1-hour journey across the Foveaux Strait, from Bluff to Stewart Island, is on board a purpose-built catamaran. The friendly and helpful crew on board provide an informative commentary and point out many places of interest as well as wildlife and in particular the sea birds. On arrival at Halfmoon Bay wharf about 10.30, the Affinity crew will be waiting for you. Once onboard the MV Affinity you will be shown to your cabins to offload your luggage, have a quick debrief then prepare for your first activity, Stewart Island Experience - Village and Bays Tour. SIE will collect you from the Affinity and you begin your tour.
You will explore Oban and the surrounding bays in a bus, guides will share their local knowledge of the history and environment of Stewart Island and you will gain an insight into New Zealand’s southernmost community. During your tour, there is plenty of time available for photo stops and short walks. Highlights include Lee Bay, the gateway to Rakiura National Park; beautiful Horseshoe Bay and stunning views of Paterson Inlet from Observation Rock. When the tour is finished you will return to Affinity and lunch will be served. After lunch it is back ashore to walk to Ackers Point (approximately 2-hours return). Please note all walks are optional and you are welcome to stay on the vessel. Then back onboard Affinity for afternoon tea as we cruise to our overnight anchorage in Paterson Inlet. This is the perfect opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers and crew before dinner.
After a continental breakfast, we will cruise to one of our secret spots and you will have the opportunity to fish for Stewart Island Blue Cod. After a good fishing session, we cruise back into the shore to walk from Horseshoe Bay to Port William where the vessel will be awaiting your return and with fresh fish on the menu for dinner you’ll be skipping along the track. During the relaxing evenings you can take the opportunity to read a book, challenge your fellow travellers to board games or a game of cards. There is always plenty of fun and banter to be had as we relax eat, drink and be merry before resting our heads for the night.
After breakfast you will visit Ulva Island bird sanctuary, this is a highlight of Stewart Island for many people. Keep your eyes and ears open as you may well see and hear Saddlebacks, Tuis, Bellbirds, Stewart Island Robins, Kiwis, Kakas and Keas.
Ulva Goodwillie, the owner of the company who we deal with (she may not be your guide) is named after the Island, she is a direct descendant of the first Maori settlers of Stewart Island. She is passionate and very knowledgeable about this special place and would love to share it with you... her or one of her highly trained guides provide you with a unique experience, learning about native flora and fauna from a local Stewart Island perspective. We will drop the guide back at the main island then cruise to an overnight anchorage.
Today we will cruise into Glory Cove and look at the salmon and mussel farms while explaining the processes these types of marine farms go through. We will then cruise to Millers Beach in Paterson Inlet where you have the opportunity to go ashore for a short stroll to the old whaler’s repair base, which was used by the Antarctic whalers.
There are sign posted history boards here to show you this important part of whaling history. We will take a short cruise to Kaipipi Bay where you have the chance to go ashore to walk through the native bush back to Golden Bay (this is a 4-hour walk) where Affinity will be awaiting your return.
Today after breakfast we cruise to Port Adventure where you will go ashore to wander and explore the beautiful sandy beaches and inlets – you never know what treasures you may find washed up on the beach. There are so many interesting hidden gems to see so we leave it to our friends on the Affinity and see where we end up for the night. More fishing is always an option and the inflatable kayaks onboard the vessel are a great way to get some exercise and paddle around the gorgeous inlets. Whenever time permits you are welcome to use these facilities and if you’re feeling brave take a dip in the water.
As today is our last day onboard Affinity we reflect on the adventures we have shared as we take a leisurely cruise back to Halfmoon Bay stopping on the way for another walk.
The vessel and crew bid you farewell at 3pm. We board the ferry back to the mainland where transport will be arranged to take us back to our accommodation in Invercargill for our final group dinner and our feet once again on dry land.
Accommodation: Ascot Park Hotel
We rise for a hearty breakfast and then will be transferred to Invercargill airport to catch our 10:40am flight back to Palmerston North once again having a brief stop in Christchurch.
We land in Palmerston North at 2:15pm where our coach will be waiting to transfer us back home.
*If you are travelling to another destination, your travel arrangements will be made for you in your customised itinerary.
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After years in the broadcasting industry, Jase hung up his headphones to run Take It Easy Tours. With now over a decade behind the wheel Jason ensures every tour will leave you with a lifetime of memorable expereinces.
There is limited availability for this tour. Please contact us to find out more.
Yes, it would be our pleasure. We can arrange for you to be picked up and returned to your front door at the conclusion of any tour.
We strongly recommend taking out travel insurance as soon as you book your trip. It just puts your mind at ease. Remember to make sure you are covered for and loss of personal possessions, sickness, accidents or travel delays. Feel free to ask us for any tips to make this quick and easy for you.
We are called Take it Easy for a reason as we like to do just that. Do as much or as little as you like - after all it's your holiday! However, there is walking and various activities on each tour that require various levels of fitness. Please check with us if you are unsure about anything and relax knowing that there's always another option for you if you would rather miss out on any activity. We always have a back up plan.
Please just let us know in advance and we will sort everything for you. Chefs are used to all sorts now when it comes to diet so as long as we know - we’ll have you covered.
Cancellation charges do apply so again we recommend travel insurance. Our cancellation policy is clearly outlined for each tour so make sure you cast your eye over it and please feel free to ask any questions.
Having a good night's rest after a day out touring is very important so we personally choose all of our accommodation. Generally, four star accommodation when available - with all the comforts you need for a relaxed night.
Our buses are quality touring coaches that are very comfortable and fully air conditioned. They range in size from 19-28 seats ensuring that we can easily access all those secret spots off the beaten track. All vehicles are regularly serviced as your safety is our priority.
Coaches and luggage trailers are always locked and secure but we recommended you take any valuables with you when staying overnight.
Yes, you can earn airpoints with Take It Easy Tours when we are using Air New Zealand flights. All you need to do is get in contact with us and let us know your airpoints number for each time you wish to earn points.
Get in touch with our friendly staff