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Stewart Island: Access

Stewart Island is separated from Mainland New Zealand by Foveaux Strait.

This was a formidable barrier for early Maori in their double canoes or sealers in whaleboats, Even now, many Southland residents, who see the Island from their windows every day, regard it as a foreign and exotic land. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Air Travel has made the world a smaller place. Southern Air flies 9-seat Britten Norman Islander aircraft with several twenty minute flights daily. You land at Ryan's Creek airfield on Stewart Island. A five minute mini-bus trip takes you to Oban Township, on the waterfront of Halfmoon Bay.

In summer you can be on the Island as early as 8:30am, with no need to depart again until 6:00pm. A good, full day visit, and back for dinner in Invercargill if you so desire.

Sea Travel is also faster and less strenuous than in the days of paddle-power. The catamaran, Foveaux Express, makes the crossing from Bluff (thirty minutes drive south of Invercargill) in an hour. There are two sailings, daily over summer and three days a week in winter. You can be ashore from 10:30am until 3:30pm in summer.

A day-trip to Stewart Island is something many folk remember all their lives.

However, you should stay longer to savour the true Island flavour. There are no high-rise luxury hotels or casinos, but you'll find comfortable accommodation to suit most tastes and pockets.

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