Stewart Island, New Zealand

Quiet. Secluded. Cold.

There it is, separated by one hour of a rough ferry ride from the tip of South Island (Bluff), the third and often forgotten island of New Zealand.

The Stewart Island, or “Rakiura” in the Maori language, means “glowing skies”. It refers to the southern lights, or “aurora australis”, which unfortunately did not happen during my time there.

The main reason I visited the island is that it would be the southernmost point of the globe that I have ever been. I usually travel to the north, evidence by my travel map, about 80% of my pins appears at the north of the equator. But as now I live in the southern part of the world, I want to visit its southernmost part, the closest I can be to the Antarctica.


Stewart Island on the map

And I like it.

Empty beaches, fearless birds, peaceful walking paths heading to the amazing viewing points, and very few people in sight. Peaceful.


Observation Rock, one of the island’s viewings points

My favorite moment was when I sit in the Oban Park by the beach, gazing the horizon, listening to the wave, and being exposed to the wind. I could do it for a whole day if it wasn’t so cold.


The garden by the beach

More than 80% of the Stewart Island area is the national park. It hosts one of New Zealand’s great walk. Oban is the name of its township. It is very small. There is only a handful stores, a few restaurants, a limited number of hotel/hostel, and one grocery/convenience store. Kai Kart is its famous fish & chips outlet and it is only open a few hours a day. I observed a very simple life here, probably 80% of the people in this island are tourists, but the kind who want to connect nature only. There’s only one ferry service to access this island (link below) or hop on their helicopter for a faster but more expensive option.


Sunrise in Stewart Island



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