Discover Stewart Island
Experience New Zealand’s newest national park... Rakiura National Park. Opened in 2002 it takes in 85 percent of the island. Amongst the huge array of native birds, it offers the best opportunity anywhere in New Zealand for viewing kiwi in the wild. Contrasting landscapes afforded by rainforests to sandy beaches, jagged mountain skylines to dunelands make for a fascinating visit.
A daytrip to Stewart Island is a “must do” during your stay at The Lodge at Tikana. A guided nature visit to an island sanctuary or take in some history, secluded coves and fishing on your own private boat charter or circumnavigate the island by helicopter to absorb the heritage of this unique island. Two of these three options will fill your day.
We can arrange transfers to the island by either a flight from Invercargill after a short drive (30 minutes) or you can fly direct from Tikana by helicopter
On arrival you will be met by Ulva, your guide for the morning. Ulva is a direct descendant of the first peoples of this island, is passionate about her home and committed to giving you a special insight into its uniqueness. She will take you on a short water taxi ride to Ulva Island. This island is a predator-free sanctuary where native plants, trees and endangered birds can live safely in the prehistoric native forest. Under the luxuriant green mantle of the podocarp forest are mosses, ferns, liverwarts and native orchids: www.ulva.co.nz.
This vibrant bush is home to the melody of tui and bellbirds, the raucous call of the kaka and the chattering of the parakeets. The stunning but rare saddleback might also be seen. During this leisurely ramble Ulva provides a quality interpretation and an introduction to Stewart Island and Maori history.
You will be collected from Ulva Island by Matt your guide and skipper for the afternoon. Matt’s wealth of local knowledge will find you a secluded beach for your picnic lunch. Your craft was custom built in 2007 and with toilet, hot shower, heated enclosed cabin and full galley you will take in the sights and sounds of Paterson Inlet in comfort and style.
Alina and Matt bring their extensive background in tourism and hospitality to Rakiura Charters and it shows – totally professional in all regards – the boat, the service, the experience. www.rakiuracharters.co.nz
Matt will find you the ideal spot to cast your line - catch some blue cod. Blue cod are endemic in the pristine deep waters around Stewart Island – a sought after fish by restaurateurs throughout New Zealand, it is a white fleshy fish - high in protein and Omega 3 but low in fat. Feel free to bring your fresh bounty back to Tikana and we can prepare it for your evening meal. Fishing attracts sea birds and you may well see the mighty albatross gliding along beside you. Numerous pelagic birds will be seen as you cruise in and out of secluded bays and coves.
Your afternoon is customized to your preference of options but we recommend taking in the ambience of days gone by with a visit to an historic whalers’ base.
Alternatively around midday you can return to Oban, the island’s township for lunch. Then feel the exhilaration of circumnavigating the island by helicopter. Your host for the afternoon will be Zane Smith the owner and pilot of Rakiura Helicopters www.rakiurahelicopters.co.nz Zane is a 6th generation Stewart Islander whose local knowledge comes from growing up with the island as his backyard and over a decade of crayfishing and paua diving.
Fly over Freshwater Valley, its extensive wetlands effectively dividing the island. To the north the jagged skyline of the Ruggedy Mountains burst from the podocarp and hardwood forest, featuring New Zealand's southernmost tall trees - rimu, kahikatea and tôtara.
To the west Freshwater Valley runs out to Mason Bay. A beach landing here allows for a stroll along some of the 12 kilometres of this sweeping crescent of sandy beach. Explore the sprawling, soaring dune lands advancing inland and in places burying native forest. They are some of New Zealand’s best preserved active dune lands.
To the south fly over shrubland, grassland, alpine cushionfields interrupted by massive granite outcrops and then drop in at a sheltered inlet of Port Pegasus. Although uninhabited now it boasts a rich history. Subsequent to a visit by William Stewart (after whom the island was named) in 1809 on a sealing expedition, Port Pegasus has variably been a base for whaling, boat-building, saw milling, gold mining and tin mining.
Later in the afternoon you come back to Oban for your return to Tikana. Here you can reminisce about your wonderful day over dinner!!