Rakiura National Park: Places to go in Southland

Tramper, Maori Beach, Rakiura National Park
Image: Baptiste Maryns ©


Rakiura National Park is located on Stewart Island/Rakiura. It encompasses a network of former nature reserves, scenic reserves, and state forest areas.

Although the island lies only 30 km south west of Bluff, between latitudes 46 and 47 degrees south, it exudes all the charm of a world on its own.


All drone use must be authorised by DOC

A concession is required to use a drone on conservation land

The sunrises and sunsets in soft southern light are amazing. Visitors can explore pristine beaches, sheltered inlets, and coastal forest, and see seals, penguins, kiwi, weka and many other birds. There are also opportunities for hunting, fishing, boating, cruises and scenic flights.
  • The highest point is Mount Anglem/Hananui (980m).
  • About 75 km long and 45 km wide at its widest point.
  • Area 168,300 ha or 1683 sq km (smaller than Hawaii's main island but larger than Hong Kong!).
  • Covers 157,000 ha, 85% of the Stewart Island/Rakiura/
  • The national park established in 2002.
  • Approximately 400 permanent residents.
  • Less than 28 km of road: more than 280 km of walking track.
  • 25.5 km from the mainland across Foveaux Strait.
  • Annual rainfall 1,600 mm per annum.
  • Average temperatures: summer 16° celsius, winter 9° celsius.

Place overview


  • Diving and snorkelling
  • Hunting
  • Walking and tramping


  • Visitor centre

In this section

Find things to do and places to stay Rakiura National Park

About track difficulties
About hut categories

Diving and snokelling

Diving and snorkelling around the coast of Stewart Island/Rakiura and within its many bays and inlets is spectacular. There are more varieties of seaweed than anywhere else in New Zealand, mainly in Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera. The inlet is also home to an ancient filter feeding shellfish, the brachiopod.

The Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara Marine Reserve provides a great location for snorkel and scuba diving. Find out more about diving in the marine reserve.

There is no diving equipment for hire or sale on the island.

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    About this place

    Getting there

    Transport to the island is either a 20-minute flight from Invercargill Airport or a one-hour trip on the ferry from Bluff.

    Know before you go

    Trampers need to be prepared for southern weather which can turn wild, wet and windy at any time of the year.

    There is always mud on the Northwest and Southern circuits and those attempting these tracks need to allow for flooding in certain areas during rainy periods.

    A visit to the Rakiura National Park Visitor Centre in Oban is recommended before beginning any of the longer walks within Rakiura National Park, as weather and track conditions are constantly subject to change.


    Rakiura National Park Visitor Centre
    Phone:   +64 3 219 0009
    Email:   stewartisland@doc.govt.nz
    Address:   15 Main Road
    Stewart Island 9818
    Full office details
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