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.