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Stewart Island - Rakiura National Park

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Stewart Island Flights plane Disembarking from Stewart Island Flights plane at Mason's Bay

Reviews & trip reports

We flew into Invercargill late in the afternoon on Thursday, 8th March, 2006, and flew in a small plane over to Stewart Island the next morning where we landed at Mason's Bay on the beach and then walked along the beach to the DOC hut at Duck's Creek where we camped the night in tents. Not much in the way of bird life along the beach except for NZ pipit and Oystercatchers, the pied variety. No NZ dotterel. The evening was spent kiwi spotting and we were well rewarded, they were calling all night but especially just before dawn.

The trek the next day was more rewarding for birds, tomtits, robins, brown creeper, and kiwi, in broad daylight along the track. The DOC caretaker of the area told us, and this was new to me, that the reason why Kiwi on Stewart Island are out in the day time is that the male and female share the incubation of the egg which means that one of them has to feed in the daylight. Seems logical.

A water taxi picked us up at Freshwater and took us down river to Oban. I was absolutely done in. The hike, advertised as a walk, was really a bit much for me. But anyway recovered sufficiently for the trip to Ulva Island the next day and there I missed out on rifleman and yellowhead again. Still it's a marvellous spot, saddleback, Kakariki, Kaka, robins, Stewart Island shag.

We were to kayak the next day around the harbour but a southerly blew up and made it impossible, so spent the day exploring the tracks around Oban.

All in all, I think I would have enjoyed it all a lot more if I had just booked myself into accommodation at Oban and took small day trips around, pelagic birding one day, Ulva another. Kaka and pigeon are very numerous around Oban and even brown creeper. I intend to go back next year.

Narena Olliver, Greytown, NZ.

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(page last updated  12 August 2007)