Across Foveaux Strait from Bluff at the bottom of the South Island lies Stewart Island, one of New Zealand's largely undiscovered eco-adventure destinations. Stewart Island attracts nature lovers from around the world.
With its network of stunning bays, inlets, golden sand beaches and bush clad mountains; Stewart Island combines a spectacular mix of inspiring landscapes. Vivid dawn and twilight hues give rise to the island’s Maori name, "Rakiura – land of the glowing skies."
Flora and fauna
High rainfall and relatively warm weather makes for dense forestation right across the island. Native plants include the world's southernmost podocarps (southern conifers) and hardwoods such as rata and kamahi in the lowland. A great network of trails makes for fabulous bush walking in pretty much all weather.
There are many species of birds on Stewart Island that thrive because of the absence of cats, rats, stoats, ferrets, weasels and other predators that man has brought to the main islands. Concerted conservation efforts by the Islanders and New Zealand’s Department of Conservation keep predator numbers down and support threatened species.
The birds of Stewart Island include weka, kaka, albatross, the flightless Stewart Island kiwi, silvereyes, fantails, and kereru (wood pigeon). The endangered Yellow-eyed penguin has a significant number of breeding sites here and there are large colonies of Sooty Shearwaters on the offshore Muttonbird Islands.
Temperatures on Stewart Island are generally mild but being located at latitude 47 degrees south (the "Roaring Forties"), the weather is often unpredictable. However, it is not uncommon to experience four seasons in one day - so be prepared with warm waterproof clothing and sturdy footwear.
The climate is temperate with summer temperatures climbing to the mid-20's. Sunshine hours are equal to the national average.
It’s a high rainfall area, between 1,000mm to 3,000mm per annum depending on elevation and aspect, but without rain, there’s no rainforest!