Dan In The South Pacific 2006 travel blog

View from Observation Point

A secluded beach

Ulva Island

Stewart Island in a nutshell

I got on the plane after a wait in the airport. I flew on Stewart Island Airlines in a plane holding 2 crew members, 2 passengers and a load of freight. We landed at the Oban airstrip after a 20 minute flight.

Oban is the only township on Stewart Island. The island has about 400 people and 85% of the Island is Raikura national park and the main inlet, Patterson Inlet, has been turned almost completely into a marine reserve. This place has few outside pests or predators to harm natural wildlife and is as close to untamed as you can get.

I was told to stay at the Stewart Island Backpackers Hostel because it was clean and consistent. I took the 5 minute walk and found out that the place was full (how many people actually stay at this nowhere?). So I had to hike over to the Dept of Conservation office to try and find a place to stay. I ended up staying that the South Sea Hotel for one night in a single room and would move to the backpackers for my second night. The first hour on the island while I am trying to get settled was like dealing with the cast from "Danger Bay" (a CBC television show, if you don't know what I am talking about let me know). These people all walk around in rubber boots and fleece clothes and seem to be in a time warp. It was pretty weird. I spent the remainder of the daylight hours doing a few short hikes. I found a secluded beach and the observation point and got some nice photos. The South Sea hotel has a pub, so my night was spent listening to old Metallica songs and Led Zepplin tunes from the Jukebox and once again thinking - time warp.

After my night in the hotel I checked out and caught the a water taxi to Ulva Island which is in Patterson Inlet. This place has no rats or mice so it is truly untouched by non-native animals. I spent the morning listening and searching for birds and saw parrots, parakeets, oyster catchers, and many other unique birds. My favourite is the Tui because of its unique song. In the afternoon I caught the water taxi back to the "mainland" and went on another walk. My evening at the backpackers was uneventful but I did manage to clean out a bunch of useless crap I was hauling with me so I am now packing a bit lighter.

I caught the plane back to Invercargill on the 20th and met the Bottom Bus where I left it. There were 5 other passengers on this bus so it was more lively. Overall, my trip to Stewart Island was worthwhile although not mindblowing. I didn't spot any Kiwi birds but saw other unique birds and was able to experience a unique piece of NZ culture. If I had time and equipment I would have wanted to walk one of the many walking tracks on the island and that would have made the trip even better.

Entry Rating:     Why ratings?
Please Rate:  
Thank you for voting!
Share |