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Lose the Crowds in Rakiura Stewart Island this Winter

Date: 13 July 2022

Find out why Rakiura Stewart Island is the best spot to get away from the winter crowds and find peaceful, secluded, 'me-time'.

At RealNZ, we’re the kind of people who would rather ditch the summertime Fiji crowds and instead find the remote, peaceful seclusion of a wintery wilderness. With only around 400 people based in the township of Oban, and a heck of a lot of birds, Rakiura Stewart Island might be the perfect place for you to have some quality ‘me-time’. It’s the alternative island retreat you’ve been looking for, where you can wake up to epic sunrises, the sound of birdsong, and waves lapping at the rugged meandering shore. We think it’s even more wonderful in winter... and here’s why:

Land of the Glowing Skies

The National Park which dominates almost 90% of Stewart Island’s landmass is called Rakiura, which in Te Reo translates to ‘land of the glowing skies’. With longer nights in winter, you have way longer to gaze into the Aurora Australis. Immersing yourself into the magical, transformative colours of the night sky will make you feel like you’re the only person on earth.

Luxury from the Bush

We may be biased, but for accommodation on Rakiura Stewart Island, we don’t think you can do better than a night’s stay in the Stewart Island Lodge. It’s nestled on the top of the hill, on the edge of the bush, with incredible, uninterrupted views of Halfmoon Bay and Foveaux Strait. Particularly in winter, you’ve got a cosy bed with expansive views waiting for you after full days of embracing the elements and the wilderness.

Top Tip: In winter, step outside your room onto the expansive communal balcony and settle in under a blanket. It’ll likely be emptier with the cooler temperatures, so bring a hot water bottle!

Couple checking out the view over Oban on the deck at Stewart Island Lodge

The Bird is the Word

Though you may have rid yourself of a human crowd, you’ll be well and truly in amongst birdlife. Rakiura’s working towards becoming predator-free, which means it’s an amazing spot to meet a few feathered friends. Its next-door neighbour, Ulva Island, is entirely free from dangerous mammals, making it a sanctuary for 130 species of birds with some rare ones flying about too. Check out Rakiura’s unreal nightlife, and by nightlife, we mean the royalty of nocturnal birds: the kiwi. If you meander down to the shore at dusk, you may spot our fluffy, beaky friend. Finding them is a huge win (it can be pretty emotional too!).

Handy Hint: In October our Wild Kiwi Encounter is back up and running, which gives you a guided, small group, experience seeking out our beloved kiwi.

Great Walking

If you fancy stretching your legs, take a look at our Ulva Island Explorer offerings. They say that immersing yourself in nature is the best way to reconnect with yourself and shed the weight of the world. Our small-group 45-minute guided walk is perfect for those who want to soak up the surroundings but not at the cost of a crowd.

We think Rakiura Stewart Island is the perfect place to ditch the crowd this winter season. With its birdlife, epic night skies and reclusive atmosphere, it’s the perfect location to be relax this winter. You can secure your spot with us at Rakiura Stewart Island here