Stewart Island Wild Kiwi Encounter

This is a one-of-a-kind and best opportunity to encounter the incredible native wildlife of Rakiura Stewart Island.  On this experience, you’ll set out to search for marine wildlife and the wild Rakiura tokoeka (southern brown kiwi) with our expert guides.   

Our adventures begin 1.5 hrs before the sun sets when you'll head out on a unique nature cruise at sea. Look out for rare marine life, such as tītī/mutton bird, toroa/albatross, hioho/yellow eyed penguin, kororā/little penguin, kekeno/New Zealand fur seal, and other wildlife from the vessel. Cruise around Stewart Island’s smaller neighbouring islands (weather permitting) under beautiful evening skies with plenty of photo opportunities, before you reach Little Glory Cove as dusk falls, your kiwi spotting location. 

Before you disembark into the night, you'll learn about the tokoeka from our incredible guides. We'll take you across the peninsula and through the coastal forest by torch and starlight before arriving at a secluded sandy beach where elusive tokoeka are sometimes found feeding among the grasses and seaweed. Here, the walk will continue under the stars, searching for wild kiwi.   

  • Includes a 1 ½ hr sea cruise looking for marine life  
  • Experienced nature guide  
  • Approximately 2-hour-long guided walk searching for wild tokoeka  
  • Complimentary hot drinks and biscuits onboard the vessel 
  • Departure times dependent on sunset  
  • Total experience duration approx. 4.5 hours   
  • Suitable for ages 15+  
  • Due to a late return to Oban, you will need pre-arranged accommodation on Rakiura Stewart Island for that evening  
  • Not recommended for any persons who struggle to walk independently for more than 1.5km along uneven ground  

You have a higher chance of finding kiwis with our expert staff. However, kiwis are wild and unpredictable, and there is no 100% guarantee they will appear. Their rareness and the thrill of searching are what makes the experience special and enjoyable, so we cannot offer refunds if there is no sighting. Instead, $20 per person will be donated to conservation projects at Little Glory Cove, so we can continue to increase the chances of seeing the incredible tokoeka in the wild. 

More Information

Departure location

Stewart Island Experience, Main Wharf, Oban - Stewart Island. 
Departure and return times vary depending on sunset, weather and kiwi behaviour.

Please check in 30 minutes prior to departure.

What to bring

  • Sturdy walking shoes/boots (up to approximately 2 hours walking on uneven and muddy tracks). No jandals or barefeet.
  • Waterproof jacket (kiwis are very sensitive to noise so please wear a soft, quiet option where possible)
  • Warm sweater/fleece jacket
  • Insect repellent
  • Camera (although no flash photography is allowed around the kiwi)
  • Personal medication including for asthma and allergies

What we provide

  • Return cruise transport to Little Glory Cove
  • Experienced Nature Guide (with a pack containing phone and first aid kit)
  • Torch
  • Complimentary tea & coffee on board our vessel (snacks are available to purchase).

Important information

A reasonable level of fitness is required (total walking time approximately 2 hours depending on kiwi behaviour). The walking track can be uneven and muddy at times, therefore please ensure you wear adequate footwear and are dressed for warmth including a wind and waterproof jacket.  On occasions we may need to cancel a trip due to weather - please ensure that you provide contact information, so that we can keep you updated.

This experience aims to discover wild kiwis in their natural habitat. While you have a higher chance of finding them with our expert staff, wild animals are unpredictable, and there is no 100% guarantee kiwis will appear. Their rareness, their wild nature, and the thrill of searching are what makes the experience special and enjoyable, so we cannot offer refunds if there is no sighting.

About Rakiura Tokoeka/Southern Brown Kiwi

  • Tokoeka are a taonga species (a natural treasure and highly valued) to Rakiura Māori  
  • The Rakiura Tokoeka is only found on Stewart Island  
  • Tokoeka meansweka with a walking stick”, referencing their long beak! 
  • The Rakiura Tokoeka are closely related to Fiordland Tokoeka   
  • The tokoeka face many threats, you can help by donating to our trapping initiatives   



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Wild Kiwi Encounter, Stewart Island, New Zealand

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