Stewart Island’s weather is very changeable and difficult to predict. Strong winds, hail and heavy rain can occur at any time of the year. You should come equipped for the very worst weather conditions. Remember, exposure and hypothermia can affect anyone and can kill.
What to take
The following gear is essential, no matter how warm it is on the day of departure. Remember to pack everything in your pack inside a plastic pack liner, especially your sleeping bag and clothes.
- At least two complete sets of clothing - one set to walk in and another dry set to change into, if need be, once you reach the hut. (It is not possible to dry clothes at the huts). NB: Cotton clothing such as jeans, T-shirts and sweatshirts are not suitable. Polypropylene, which is quick drying (but can be flammable) is recommended
- Boots – comfortable and broken in
- Mittens/gloves – wool or polypropylene
- Woollen hat/balaclava and sunhat
- Raincoat and over trousers – waterproof and windproof
- Extra socks, underwear, shirt or lightweight jersey, depending on length of trip
- Food – lightweight and high in energy value. Take all you need for the entire trip - once you leave Halfmoon Bay there is no way of purchasing more
- Sleeping bag – good quality down or hollofil
- Portable stove and fuel
- Cooking, drinking and eating utensils
- Drink bottle
- Pot scrub and tea towel
- Matches/lighter, in waterproof container
- Candles and torch (include spare batteries & bulb)
- Toilet gear (include toilet paper)
- First Aid kit (include insect repellent and sunscreen)
- Survival kit (include survival blanket, whistle, paper and pencil, spare food)
- Optional extras – camera, lightweight footwear for around the hut, ear plugs for communal bunkrooms (you will be sharing huts with up to 20 – 24 other trampers)
Safety is your responsibility
Plan properly for your trip and ensure your party has a capable, experienced leader.
Mobile coverage is restricted to the immediate township area, so you may wish to consider carrying a Personal Locator Beacon or Mountain Radio.
Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details about your trip.
Fill in the hut books and include any change of plans.
Keep to the tracks. Off the tracks the valleys are steep-sided and densely bush-clad.
If you become lost find shelter, stay calm and wait for searchers to arrive.