INVERCARGILL – STEWART ISLAND
Travel distance is approximately 72kms (45 miles).
Allow at least 1 hour drive time (not including stops).
The journey from Invercargill to Bluff is easy to navigate, therefore if you get the chance, make sure you have a quick look around Bluff and if it’s the right season… try some delicious fresh Bluff Oysters!
There are a couple of options for crossing Foveaux Strait from Bluff to Stewart Island and this can depend greatly on the weather. If the weather is rough we recommend you choose the 20 minute flight to Stewart Island as Foveaux Strait has a well deserved reputation for being a rough patch of water to cross, which in the ferry takes approximately 1 hour (depending on weather conditions), and isn’t recommended for those that suffer from motion or sea sickness! However, taking the ferry to Stewart Island is a memorable journey no matter what the weather!
Some notable stops along the route to Stewart Island include:
STIRLING POINT SIGNPOST
Stirling Point marks the beginning of State Highway 1 (which travels all the way up the country). The site is now home to an international signpost that attracts many thousands of visitors each year looking for a unique photo opportunity. Direction arms point in 12 different directions including London, New York and Sydney!
BLUFF HILL VIEWING PLATFORM
A wonderful opportunity to take some great photos thanks to the spectacular views on offer over Foveaux Strait and the Southland Plains.
This deep sea fishing port is home to the world famous Bluff oyster and located at the bottom of the South Island. Bluff is the ‘Gateway to Stewart Island’ and can boast to being the oldest European settled town in New Zealand.
BLUFF MARITIME MUSEUM
This maritime museum boasts fabulous information and displays on New Zealand whaling, oystering, shipwrecks and the early history of the area, including artwork of Bluff’s early days and maps. The museum is also home to an oystering boat that you can board and explore.
Rakiura National Park covers 85% of Stewart Island, making this small Island a popular place to visit if you appreciate unspoiled beauty, clear and clean waters, lush rainforest and sweeping sands.
There is a nice range of accommodation for your overnight stay, and we do suggest that you book this in advance. You can choose from fabulous lodges to backpackers, bed & breakfast to luxury home stays! There is also a great selection of motels, a hotel as well as self-catering cottages.
Stewart Island is a haven for seafood lovers, especially if you like your seafood caught that day! Of course the famous Bluff Oysters also feature on the menu, so if you are there during the bluff oyster season make sure you enjoy a feed of fresh oysters! If seafood isn’t quite your style, don’t despair as there are a couple of restaurants that offer A la carte dining. There is also a small supermarket if you prefer to cook in your holiday house or want to make a packed lunch for your outdoor adventures.
Highly recommended Stewart lsland tourist attractions include…
Underwater Explorer Cruise – With such diverse marine life combined with crystal clear waters means exploring the waterline of Stewart Island in a semi-sub is truly a great experience! Organised by Stewart Island Experience, enjoy the commentary from the on-board nature guide as you cruise along.
Ocean Cruise – Get aboard with an experienced local guide and enjoy a scenic boat cruise around Stewart Island. Arrange to visit Ulva Island and Paterson Inlet during your cruise, of course remember to keep an eye out for seabirds and other marine life.
Fishing Charters – Local charters are available for deep-sea fishing trips, including catching a fish using traditional hand lines!
Dive Charters – Private dive charters are available on the Island and highly recommend for experienced scuba divers.
Guided Conservation Walk – A wonderful opportunity to view bird life in its natural habitat and perhaps catch sight of an elusive Kiwi bird! Your guide will explain local fauna and flora species along with general history of the area.
Sea Kayaking – Choose to hire a kayak and explore the coastline yourself or enjoy a guided sea kayak with an experienced guide in a single or double kayak. Beginners can also experience the joy of kayaking in the gentle waters of Paterson Inlet.
Kiwi Journey – Ruggedy Range are a Qualmark endorsed and Green Globe affiliate offering discerning Kiwi and Birdwatching experiences. The Kiwi Journey is an unforgettable experience and boasts a 90% success rate of seeing a shy native Kiwi bird.
Rakiura Museum – The museum houses an extensive collection of items and photographs of Stewart Island’s early history, including Maori settlement and muttonbirding, whaling, fishing, timber milling, boat building and much more!
New Zealand Itineraries: South Island Suggested Itineraries
Our modern self-drive travel Itineraries have routes specifically for the North Island as well as the South Island, ranging from 5 to 11 days, plus there are some travel routes that take in both the North and South Island’s. Our range of travel itineraries include information regarding travel distances and time to ensure that you can make the best of your time in New Zealand, no longer how short your visit!
- 5 Day Itinerary: Christchurch – Greymouth, Greymouth – Fox Glacier, Franz Josef – Wanaka, Wanaka – Mt Cook and Mt Cook – Christchurch
- 5 Day Itinerary (route 2): Christchurch – Hanmer Springs, Hanmer Springs – St Arnuad, St Arnuad – Blenheim, Blenheim – Kaikoura and Kaikoura – Christchurch
- 5 Day Itinerary (route 3): Christchurch – Mt Cook, Mt Cook – Queenstown, Queenstown – Dunedin, Dunedin – Oamaru and Oamaru – Christchurch
- 7 Day Itinerary: Christchurch – Dunedin, Dunedin – Invercargill, Invercargill – Stewart Island, Stewart Island – Te-anau, Te Anau – Milford Sound, Te Anau – Queenstown and Queenstown – Christchurch
- 8 Day Itinerary: Christchurch – Greymouth, Greymouth – Fox Glacier, Fox Glacier – Wanaka, Wanaka – Queenstown, Queenstown – Te Anau, Te Anau – Dunedin and Dunedin – Christchurch
- 9 Day Itinerary: Christchurch – Dunedin, Dunedin, Dunedin – Invercragill, Invercargill – Te Anau, Te Anau Milford Sound, Te Anau – Queenstown, Queenstown – Mt Cook, Mt Cook – Lake Tekapo and Lake Tekapo – Christchurch
- 9 Day Itinerary (route 2): Christchurch – Omarama, Omarama – Dunedin, Dunedin, Dunedin – Te Anau, Te Anau – Milford Sound, Te Anau – Queenstown, Queenstown – Haast, Haast – Greymouth and Greymouth – Christchurch
- 9 Day Itinerary (route 3): Christchurch – Hanmer Springs, Hanmer Springs – Greymouth, Greymouth – Nelson, Nelson – Takaka, Takaka – Motueka, Motueka – Nelson, Nelson – Blenheim, Blenheim – Kaikoura and Kaikoura – Christchurch
- 11 Day Itinerary: Christchurch – Dunedin, Dunedin – Te Anau, Te Anau – Milford Sound, Milford Sound – Queenstown, Queenstown – Wanaka, Wanaka – Franz Josef, Franz Josef – Greymouth, Greymouth – Nelson, Nelson – Blenheim, Blenheim – Kaikoura and Kaikoura – Christchurch