Oban in Scotland
is a port servicing the Hebrides and other western
Scots Islands. The name means "Many Coves" in Gaelic. It applies equally
well to Oban, Stewart Island.
Arriving by air or sea, Oban presents a vista of picturesque bays and coves.
Houses nestle amid lush vegetation. The few buildings of the "Commercial
Sector" are all within a five minute walk of the wharf, and each other.
Pride of place on the waterfront, however, goes to education, the Halfmoon
Permanent population of Oban is less than 400. This number swells
considerably over summer, as more than half the dwellings are holiday homes.
When all the tourist accommodation is full, visitors almost out-number locals.
The Visitor Information Centre is in the
building, on Main St. There are displays and videos about the Island. This
is also where trampers (backpackers) check in before heading for the great
Rakiura Museum is the place to visit for an insight into earlier days on
You can book boat-trips and bus tours at the Southern Air Depot, the Ferry
Terminal, "The Agency", or at "Stewart Island Travel" or "Oban Taxis &
Tours" in Main St.
You won't wear yourself out on a Stewart Island shopping spree - there
aren't enough shops. However you'll find all the essentials. "Ship to Shore"
general store carries a good range of fresh food and grocery lines. There's
the "Lettuce Inn" for fresh fruit and veges and "The Shoppe" for limited
chemist (drugstore) lines.
Most shops have a range of souvenirs. Ten minutes walk from the "city
centre" is "The Fernery", an art and craft gallery with an emphasis on
"Travel Inn Tearooms" provide light meals and takeaways. "South Sea Hotel"
has a counter lunch as well as as their dining room. "Shearwater Inn" also
take casual diners for evening meals at their licensed restaurant.
The Pub is the social centre for the Island. There's a range of fine ales
and cider on tap, with a pool table and darts for recreation. You can also
try a "wee dram" of the house, premium single-malt Scotch. It's
Oban Whisky - all
the way from our "sister city" on the other side of the world.
Stewart Island Lions Club
Lions International are the only major Service Club represented on Stewart
Island. Meetings are held on the first Tuesday of the month (except January)
at 6:30pm at the South Sea Hotel. Visiting Lions are always warmly welcomed.
Reception at the Hotel will put you in touch with Club Officers.
The NZ Post Agency is at the Southern Air Depot - a real "Air/Mail" Centre.
It pays to bring some ready cash, as no banks operate on Stewart Island.
However, most businesses do accept EFTPOS, Visa, M/C and NZ Traveler's Cheques.