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About Stewart Island Experience
Enjoy a leisurely cruise of beautiful Paterson Inlet, viewing hidden coves and beaches including a visit to the Ulva Island – a renowned wildlife sanctuary. An on-board nature guide provides commentary throughout the cruise and leads a 45 minute walk through part of the Ulva Island. This island is home to abundant birdlife, including some of New Zealand’s most rare and precious plant species. Departs: Oban. (Previously named Paterson Inlet Cruises).
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Tours and Tickets by Stewart Island Experience
The walk, led by your nature guide, is on a well-formed track across the peninsula, through spectacular coastal forest to a secluded sandy beach.

As dusk sets in and daylight diminishes, venture by torchlight through the native forest with the stars and forest night sounds around you. The walk will take about 45 minutes one-way and the track emerges on to Ocean Beach. This wide sandy beach is where kiwi are often found feeding among the grasses and seaweed.

Here in the darkness you may spot the Southern brown kiwi (Rakiura Tokoeka) - often searching for food.

Afterwards retrace your steps through the forest to Little Glory Wharf for your catamaran ride back to Oban township on Stewart Island.

Please be sure to dress weather appropriate and bring insect repellant.
You must arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled departure to check in.
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mariannah378 wrote a review Apr 2021
Katikati, New Zealand171 contributions8 helpful votes
We travelled to Stewart island and stayed in the Stewart island lodge. We did 3 excursions with them. The excursions were " wild kiwi encounter and Ulva island, and Bay and village tour.
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Date of experience: April 2021
Aaron W wrote a review Jan 2021
Auckland, New Zealand85 contributions14 helpful votes
OK, lots to talk about here, some positive, some not so positive. Firslty the ferry across both ways, despite high winds was good, and the service great. Also they booked us their shuttle to invercargil airport when we arrived with no issues at a reasonable price. Because we booked many months ago, we should have taken a bit more time to shop around and research options. We booked 2 trips with stewart island experience, the harbour and bays tour and the kiwi experience. The harbour and bays tour took about 90 minutes. It was ok at best. Our guide was pleasant but not from the island and had only been there for a few months so didn't really give an in-depth understanding for the island. Like I said he was pleasant a likeable but would have preferred a local or someone that had lived there a little longer. after we went back to our motel to rest up before we would go on the late night kiwi trip, we were called at about 4.30 pm to be informed that the boat captain had cancelled the trip that evening for safety reasons. Have no problem with that for that reason. however we asked if there was space the next day, and was told they don't do the trip on sundays, and that the next available trip was monday afternoon (we were leaving monday morning so no good to us). we then asked if they could recommend another tour with another company. they refused to give any information stating we would be better off getting our own torch, but didn't tell us where to look. I was dissapointed by this attitude given that we had no way of using their service. so if youa re looking to come to Stewart Island, be aware of two things about the kiwi experience trips. firslty that this experience with stewart island experience is the most expensive. now I have no way of judging how good the actual trip is, but lookin at the reviews it does seem great, if the weather allows. judging on what we are told about the weather, i would imagine this trip gets cancelled regularly, and for good safety reasons i understand that, but i would have thought they would work in with the other three companies when they can't do their trip. Secondly, there appears to be a lot of bad blood between the 4 companies doing these trips and we found them often bad mouthing some or all of the other companies, which is not a good look for the island
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Date of experience: January 2021
1 Helpful vote
Tracy wrote a review Jan 2021
Auckland, New Zealand9 contributions
Fantastic day visiting Stewart Island and then on to the private tour of Ulva Island. Able to see Kaka and Weka in their natural untouched habitat and was followed along the trail by Stewart Island Robins that were extremely friendly, not afraid to come close. Great views at Stewart Island. Would recommend at least two days on Stewart Island ... a day trip just isn’t enough to explore it properly.
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Date of experience: January 2021
Alison W wrote a review Jan 2021
Cambridge, null, New Zealand19 contributions13 helpful votes
With a full ferry on 2m swells and 27 knots on the beam, everyone on the boat threw up. The staff were amazing helping everyone and the skipper got us all to the island as quickly as possible. Friendly crew, very accomodating and organised.
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Date of experience: January 2021
kiwifam945 wrote a review Jan 2021
Auckland, New Zealand75 contributions13 helpful votes
It’s one of those things we always say “must go there someday” and we’re so glad we made the trip as a family today. Flew with Glenorchy Air from Queenstown at 9am. Weather was quite cloudy but that made a very scenic low flight over beautiful Southland. Were picked up from airfield & dropped in Oban where we picked up our pre-ordered picnic lunch packs from New World @ $15pp they were excellent. Short walk over hill to Golden Bay wharf where we met Rakiura Charters water taxi tour around Paterson Inlet and historic whalers station. Our skipper Chris was 5th gen islander & very interesting. Dropped off on Ulva Island where we bought $2 booklet to self guide the stunning bush tracks. Ate lunch on beach at Sydney Cove and strolled over to Boulder Beach before re-boarding the taxi at 2.30pm. Gave ourselves time to have refreshments at iconic South Sea Hotel and browse the local art n craft shops. Met up again with pilot Will @ taxi stop to shuttle back to airfield. Touched down back at QT 5pm after a spectacular flight along mountain ridges. Certainly an experience we will remember for ever and will encourage all friends and family to BOOK asap.
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Date of experience: January 2021
1 Helpful vote1 Repost