Scenic Boat Tours

Why take a scenic boat tour on Stewart Island?

We really believe a scenic boat tour is a must do  when you visit the Island…let us tell you why.

Firstly, it will give you a unique perspective of Stewart Island.
Land based sight seeing options are limited to either the small road network, or walking speed adventures on our extensive bush trails.
This makes the expansive options available by scenic boat tours very attractive to those who want to make the most of their Island adventure, while still having the opportunity to interact with wildlife and see the scenery up close.

Secondly, it’s never the same twice.
Stewart Island/Rakiura is home to a great array of natural diversity, including a wide variety of protected marine mammals and bird species, and boasting the greatest diversity of seaweed in all of New Zealand. From coastline to coastline, penguins to petrels, seaweeds hiding sea lions, dolphins and driftwood. Our scenic boat tours are all about discovering that which calls the ocean & coastline its home.

Last, but not least, our tours are run by passionate & knowledgeable local skippers.
Our skippers have a deep understanding of the history and nature that is Stewart Island. ~ Rakiura, as they are both long time locals. They will be your expert guides.

In addition, our scenic boat tours feature small group sizes.  This means that you get the most out of your time and experience. By avoiding crowds, you will have better access to your guide who can answer any questions you may have along your encounter.

Ulva Island Circumnavigation Scenic Tour

Gain a unique perspective of Ulva Island that most visitors never experience.
Circumnavigate the Island to come to understand its place within Paterson Inlet, Stewart Island. In the tour we visit secluded coves, such as ‘The Snuggery’, that cannot be accessed by land. You’ll be sure to several of the cormorant species who nest and fish from rookeries around the coast. You may chance upon albatross/mollymawk and penguins in the water. And then there are the wading birds and Weka you may spot picking their way along the shores.

Duration: 1 hour approx.       Departure: Golden Bay            Price: from $60pp, minimum 2

Historic Norwegian Whaler’s Base Scenic Tour

Get off-the-beaten-track…
Not just every visitor visits the whaler’s base – but it is a bit of a local favourite.

Be dropped off on the golden sand at Millar’s Beach. Then, cross through old Rimu-rich forest on the bush track to the whaler’s base. Along the way discover pieces of history characterising Stewart Island’s diverse and rich past.

At the whaler’s base explore a ship wreck, sizeable discarded propellers, an old Swedish boiler, factory foundations, and informational placards. Get a feel for what life was like in this flourishing Stewart Island settlement. A settlement that was an important connection between Antarctica, New Zealand, and Norway in the early 1900s.

Duration: 1-1.5 hours        Departure: Golden Bay            Price: from $70pp, minimum 2

Freshwater River Scenic Tour

For trampers, Freshwater river is known as the gateway to Mason Bay and the West coast of Stewart Island, as if offers a considerable shortcut. As a scenic tour, it offers exhilaration, diversity and adventure. Even dubbed an amazon adventure by some!

Navigate the serpentine river at speed to catch the tide. Slowing down at times to give you the opportunity to soak it all in. Watch the environment transition before your eyes – from Toetoe wetlands to overhanging Manuka forest. In the upper reaches, the river becomes increasingly narrow and bush clad hills begin to overshadow the boat! At the top, a swing bridge gives you a beautiful view over the inky river before you make your way in the reverse direction.

Please be aware – this trip is tide dependent.

Duration: 1.5 hours        Departure: Golden Bay            Price: from $80pp, minimum 2

Custom Scenic Boat Tours

Check out our recommended highlights and destinations for custom tours in the list below:

  • Bravo Islands
  • Kaipipi
  • Kidney fern
  • The Neck
  • Salmon & Mussel Farms
  • Whero Rock
  • Bench Island
  • Ackers Point
  • Mamaku Point
  • Little Glory & Ocean Beach

Talk with our skippers to customise a tour that best suits you and fits the conditions.
Sea state, tide, and weather conditions may preclude some destinations and highlights.

Duration: 1 hour minimum recommended           Departure: location arranged to suit
Price: from $60pp, per hour           
Passengers: minimum 2, maximum 9