Rakiura Great Walk

Many centuries ago Maori came by canoe to the island to harvest shellfish and mutton birds, traditions still carried out today by local iwi. They named the island Rakiura - 'Land of the Glowing Skies' as it is renowned for its lingering sunsets of summer and the Aurora Australis or Southern Lights.

The Rakiura Track is one of New Zealand's Great Walks. The loop track traverses country with a rich diversity of trees, ferns, and perching orchids. Along the way visit many historical sites with the chance to see a variety of sea and forest birds. The circuit follows the coast, climbs over a 300 metre high forested ridge, and skirts the sheltered shores of Paterson Inlet.

Our four day all inclusive guided walk starts in Invercargill with a short flight to Halfmoon Bay and your first night. Next morning we walk through the "chain" around Lee Bay and Maori Beach to Port William Hut for the night. Climbing across the summit ridge we reach the North Arm Hut sited on the shore of Paterson Inlet.

The last day takes us around the shores of Paterson Inlet emerging at the sheltered bays of Kidney Fern Arm and Kaipipi Bay, following the former Kaipipi Road back to Halfmoon Bay. Return to Invercargill in the evening.

Departure Dates

From November to April we have regular departures. Other departures are available on request with a minimum of three people or for less than three a surcharge applies. Yes we do operate during the winter... it is actually a great time to be on Stewart Island.

The dates listed below are "Day 1" or the first night in Halfmoon Bay. We depart on our hike first thing on "Day 2".

2020 / 2021 Departure Dates
Nov 2020 6th, 21st
Dec 2020 6th, 20th
Jan 2021 6th, 18th
Feb 2021 3rd, 17th
Mar 2021 5th, 19th
Apr 2021 19th


The package includes 3 nights accommodation, guiding and concession fees, all meals, flights to and from Stewart Island (departing Invercargill), hut fees, all equipment and maps.


Per person including GST


Minimum of 2 people with a NZ$945 surcharge to operate for 1 person. Bookings subject to availability. The trips are usually 3 - 5 people with a maximum of 12. Please check our booking conditions.

Further Information


Accommodation is based on share twin. That's two singles or one double sharing a room. If you are single and want to stay that way we can arrange single rooms.

In Halfmoon Bay we stay in a Southland "crib" or holiday home. All the mod cons....power, hot showers and flush toilets. Linen is provided.

On the Rakiura Track we stay at public Department of Conservation Huts. Bunk beds are generally available in the hut and we have a tent if desired. We provide sleeping bags. The huts have no power, toilets are outside and there are no showers .... roughing it as a Kiwi would say.

Many people choose the option to stay an extra night at Halfmoon Bay to enjoy some of the short local walks, visit Ulva Island, sea kayak in Paterson Inlet or browse the local craft stores.

Getting There

Invercargill is 180km from Queenstown, and 200km from Te Anau on the Southern Scenic Route. Tracknet Shuttles operate a daily service departing Queenstown 7.30am and Scenic Shuttle departs Te Anau 8:15am which is included in the package.

There are typically 3 flights a day (8.00am, 12.00pm, 5.00pm) from Invercargill Airport to Stewart Isalnd. Feel free to contact us to help arrange transfers from other locations.

Fitness Level

A medium level of fitness is required for the Rakiura Track. The walking is a mixture of undulating and generally flat. The tracks can be muddy and wet after heavy rain.


Is unpredictable. Extreme conditions can develop at any time. Be prepared for cold and wet weather and have warm waterproof equipment. It makes it even nicer when it is warm and sunny:


We will provide all camping and cooking equipment, sleeping bags and maps. You provide and carry a pack, personal and hiking equipment. We have packs and wet weather gear available if required but please advise in advance.

What to Bring

A good pair of comfortable walking boots or shoes is essential. The walking is relatively flat on a mixture of beaches, natural bush tracks and well formed paths. You will need to carry only your own personal belongings during the day and your sleeping bag..

For our comprehensive list of things to bring click here.

Posted in: Our Walks