HikeSouth: 4 day/3 night Stewart Island Track Walk - Freedom Plus
Stewart Island Track – Freedom Plus
Stewart Island offers the best chance most people will ever have to see New Zealand's national bird, the Kiwi, in its natural environment. Rest assured not many New Zealanders can make that claim.
At Kiwi Wilderness Walks our aim is to help you participate in the great outdoors in classic "Kiwi" fashion visiting this "noah's ark" of wildlife.
- Coast to coast across the island
- Chance to see a kiwi in the wild
- New Zealand's third island and newest National Park
- Panoramic scenery alive with many native birds
- A low to moderate level of fitness is required.
- 1 nights bunk room accommodation in Invercargill ,
- 1 night on the trail, 1 nights bunk room accommodation in Halfmoon Bay and flights to and from Stewart Island.
What to Bring:
First thing is make sure you have well worn good fitting boots or tramping shoes.
Suggested list of what to bring;
Pair of shorts, trousers.
Thick woolen or fleece top.
Thermal long johns and shirt.
Socks, underwear and handkerchief.
Small towel or flannel.
Warm hat and light gloves.
Waterproof coat with hood.
Favourite boots or walking shoes.
Pair of light shoes or sandals.
Pack with waterproof liner.
Small personal torch, water bottle.
Personal medicine, toilet bag
Insect repellent, sunblock.
Camera and film.
Some people like gaiters and others use walking sticks.
Freedom Walk customers need to add a sleeping bag and kitchen equipment to the list above except on the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track where the huts have a full compliment of cooking and kitchen equipment available. Gas cookers are also provided on the Milford, Routeburn and Kepler tracks.
Accommodation is based on share twin. In Invercargill you stay at Tuatara Backpackers (which is also the YHA) in the middle of Invercargill.
At Mason Bay you stay at the public DOC hut. Bunk beds are generally available in the hut (first in first served) no power, toilets are outside and there are no showers .... sorry that's the price you pay to see a kiwi in the wild and all of our customers agree it is worth it!
In Halfmoon Bay you stay at the Stewart Island Backpackers, right in the middle of town.
A medium level of fitness is required for Stewart Island. The walking is generally flat. The tracks can be muddy and wet after heavy rain.
DAY 1: Arrive in Invercargill Stay at Tuatara Backpackers in the centre of Invercargill. Check your packing list and make sure you have a good supply of food for the next 2 days.
DAY 2: Invercargill, Mason Bay
Flying time 30 minutes In the morning catch a shuttle to Invercargill Airport - a 10 minute journey. Please note that the flight time is dictated by the low tide and you will be advised in your itinerary. Take a twenty minute flight by small plane to Mason Bay passing Codfish Island, an important Kakapo sanctuary.
Landing on Mason Bay beach it is a short walk of about 1 hour through the sand dunes to the Mason Bay Hut - your accommodation for the night. This is a public DOC hut with no power, outside toilet and no cooking facilities. This evening see if you can spot one of the local residents, a kiwi.
DAY 3: Mason Bay, Freshwater, Golden Bay, Halfmoon Bay
Walk 5 - 6 hours. 12 km ( 8.4 m ), water taxi 45 minutes
A relatively easy ( flat ) walk across the Island to Freshwater. Some sections of thick mud. Massive sand dunes, head high tussock and Manuka trees house many native birds, including kiwi's and robins.
At Freshwater Landing meet the water taxi for a 45 minute ride down Freshwater River and across Paterson Inlet to Golden Bay. A short walk takes you to Halfmoon Bay. Please note your water taxi departure is at high tide and it is critical you arrive at least half an hour in advance of the departure time. If you miss the water taxi you will be spending another 24 hours at the Freshwater Landing Hut! Tonight you stay in Bunker Backpackers with power and a shower!
DAY 4: Halfmoon Bay, Invercargill
Flying time 20 minutes
Time to explore Halfmoon Bay. Try one of many short walks, visit a local craft gallery, or just soak up the island ambience. In the afternoon ( generally the 1:30pm flight ) fly to Invercargill for the completion of our journey. Many customers chose to stay an extra night or two on Stewart Island and we are happy to arrange this for you. Options include a guided tour of the open sanctuary Ulva Island, sea kayaking in Paterson Inlet or maybe a spot of fishing for the famous blue cod.
Departure Dates: From late October to April we have regular departures that depend on availability and schedule of services. Great Walks season is from 26th October 2009 to 26th April 2010 and 27th October 2010 to 26th April 2011
Invercargill is 170km from Te Anau and 200km from Queenstown. Shuttles operate daily departing Te Anau at 7.30am and Queenstown at 9am. Feel free to contact us to help arrange transfers to and from Invercargill.
Transport sectors for the Stewart Island Track Freedom Plus:
- Fly from Invercargill to Mason Bay – 30 minute trip Depart Invercargill Airport to correspond with low tide at Mason Bay. Departure time advised in the itinerary.
- Water Taxi Freshwater Landing to Golden Bay - 45 minute trip Departs Freshwater Landing at high tide. Departure time advised in the itinerary. Don't miss the boat or you will be spending another night at Freshwater Landing !
- Fly from Halfmoon Bay to Invercargill - 20 minute trip Depart Invercargill Airport at 1.30 pm