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Explore Stewart Island in a day

Date: 11 December 2017

Want to go to Stewart Island but only have a day? As long as you’re prepared to leave early, exploring New Zealand’s third island in one day is completely doable and fantastically rewarding.

Here’s my top tips for making the most of this island paradise in one day…

1. Rise early

Get the early ferry. Depending on the season this will either be 8am or 9.45am. Even if you’re travelling from Queenstown, you’ll be glad you got up extra early once you get there.

Ferry crossing towards Stewart Island

Photo: Raegan Tipping

2. Come prepared

Make sure you’ve got a hat/hood on your jacket for the ferry – it’s windy!

Three guests enjoy the wind on the Stewart Island, with their hoods up

Photo: Raegan Tipping

3. Beep beep!

Hire a scooter from The Red Shed (the Oban Visitor Centre) to make the most of exploring the stunning coastline. This is even more fun with friends; you can have your very own scooter gang for the day. Beep beep!

Photo: Raegan Tipping

Three visitors to Stewart Island park their scooters on the coast of the island

Photo: Raegan Tipping

4. Adventure time

Get off your scooter and explore. Beautiful beaches and Jurassic Park like forests await!

Photo: RealNZ

5. Visit Ulva Island

Book a trip to Ulva Island. This is a MUST DO! Ulva Island is a wildlife sanctuary, home to many native New Zealand birds. If you’re extra lucky you might even see a kiwi!

Three walkers on ulva island

Photo: Raegan Tipping

6. Lunchtime

Leave time for lunch at the South Seas Hotel. Their seafood chowder is possibly the best in NZ!

Photo: RealNZ

7. Left foot, right foot

Wear your walking shoes. You could literally walk for days on the island. Even if you do hire a scooter you’ll still cover some good km’s on the wai wai express (the feet). Being comfortable is key!

8. Check out the awesome wildlife

Watch out for the locals on Ulva Island – home to many native birds, the weka is especially cheeky and given the chance, will check out what you’ve got in your bag!

A weka on Ulva Island

Photo: Raegan Tipping

9. Time to relax

Enjoy sunset from the back of the ferry on the way back. Top it off with a beer from the onboard galley and you’ll be feeling happy as pig in poop! It’s hard to beat sunset on the ocean.

Photo: Raegan Tipping

And there you have it – Stewart Island in day! If you get the chance, DO IT! I guarantee you’ll be smiling the whole way home!

About the author: Raegan

A self-described word nerd, Raegan has been writing stories since way back. She moonlights as a copywriter, loves a good G&T and can often be found lakeside with her brown wolf, Indy.

Check out her personal blog here.

Get your photo featured: #realnz

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