On the Rakiura Track you'll discover peace, birdsong and scenery that has barely changed in thousands of years.
Find out how to plan your Rakiura Track trek and walk the paths of one of New Zealand's Great Walks.
Stewart Island / Rakiura is the place to find peace and solitude, surrounded by a habitat that has changed little for thousands of years.
During the day, your feet will find the rhythm of the trail and at night you’ll be lulled to sleep by the "morepork" call of owls and the occasional screech of a kiwi bird. Stewart Island / Rakiura has a huge bird population.
While people number less than 400, the island’s rich, pure podocarp forest is a sanctuary for native birds.
The track itself follows the open coast, climbs over forested ridges and traverses sheltered coastline. Most of the track is board-walked. Beautiful wilderness beaches are a special feature; Māori Beach was once the site of a Māori village and a sawmill.
The Rakiura Track needs to come with a warning about the amount of mud on the track. It's not for the faint hearted but with a little bit of caution the many muddy crossings and walking in heavy, mud soaked boots all adds to the charm and challenge that the Rakiura Track is famous for.
The fitter you are the more you will enjoy yourself, so a good level of fitness and strength is necessary.
Find out more about the walk and what is involved;
Day 1, Lee Bay > Port William Hut, 8km
Today you'll hike through stunning beaches and past fascinating relics of days gone by.
The track begins at Lee Bay, where you'll follow the coast to little river which you'll cross on a footbridge. From here, the track leads on to Māori Beach, where you'll cross a creek on another bridge.
A track leading to a rusting steam boiler, a relic from the sawmilling days, is just a few minutes on from the turn-off to this bridge. Port William Hut(opens in new window) can be found along the beach, over the hill and above Magnetic Beach, the next one along the coast.
Day 2, Port William Hut > North Arm Hut, 13km
Today's section of track begins on the hill between Māori Beach and Port William.
Hikers generally stay the night at Port William Hut(opens in new window) before backtracking 40 minutes to the turn-off. The track then passes through podocarp forest and previously milled vegetation. Historical milling activity can be seen along the track; it follows old tramlines that were used for transporting the milled trees.
North Arm Hut(opens in new window) is shortly after the forested area.
Day 3, North Arm Hut > Fern Gully Carpark, 11km
Sidling around the headland from North Arm Hut to Sawdust Bay, you'll come across another old sawmill site before heading through lush native forest and emerging at Kaipipi Bay.
From here, you'll follow the former Kaipipi Road which years ago was the most used and best maintained on the island.
Further along you'll come across Fern Gully Carpark. It's another 2 kilometres along the road to Oban township from here.
Stewart Island's largest town, Oban, is home to a range of accommodation - make sure to stay a few days before or after your walk to explore more of the island. Bluff, where the ferry leaves from, offers very limited places to stay. If you're catching a flight to Stewart Island, Invercargill offers a large range of accommodation to choose from.
The Rakiura Track can be walked in either direction, starting from two locations:
If you prefer not to walk from Oban, shuttles can be used for drop-offs at Lee Bay or water taxis can be used for access to Rakiura Track huts.
Access to North Arm Hut by boat is dependent on tides.
To get to Oban, the only township on Stewart Island/Rakiura, you can take a 20-minute flight from Invercargill or a 1-hour ferry trip across Foveaux Strait from the southern port of Bluff. In Oban you’ll find accommodation, supplies, equipment hire and transport to and from the start of the track.
A specialist tour operator can aid in bringing your walking experience to life. Ruggedy Range offers quality guided walks.
If you want to do a Great Walk independently, you will need to book the DOC accommodation on the trails. The fee for this varies between each Great Walk. It is recommended that you book in advance for this popular walk.
Plan My Walk takes the guesswork out of your preparation by bringing together the right information needed for planning a safe and successful walk or tramp.
Department of Consevation provides detailed information about this trail, accommodation, gear list, and safety information.
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