Accommodation | Departure Dates | Getting There | Fitness Level | Prices

Stewart Island Map

Stewart Island Map

Stewart Island Track Freedom Plus Itinerary

DAY 1: Arrive in Invercargill

Stay at Tuatara Backpackers (which is also the YHA) right in the centre of Invercargill. Check your packing list and make sure you have a good supply of food for the next 2 days.

DAY 2: Invercargill, Mason Bay

In the morning catch a shuttle to Invercargill Airport – a 10 minute journey. Please note that the flight time is dictated by the low tide and you will be advised in your itinerary. Take a twenty minute flight by small plane to Mason Bay passing Codfish Island, an important Kakapo sanctuary.

Landing on Mason Bay beach it is a short walk of about 1 hour through the sand dunes to the Mason Bay Hut – your accommodation for the night. This is a public DOC hut with no power, outside toilet and no cooking facilities.
This evening see if you can spot one of the local residents, a kiwi.

Southern Brown Kiwi (Tokoeka)

Southern Brown Kiwi (Tokoeka)

DAY 3: Mason Bay, Freshwater, Golden Bay, Halfmoon Bay

Walk 4 hours / 14km

An relatively easy ( flat ) walk across the Island to Freshwater. Some sections of thick mud. Massive sand dunes, head high tussock and Manuka trees house many native birds, including kiwi’s and robins.
At Freshwater Landing meet the water taxi for a 45 minute ride down Freshwater River and across Paterson Inlet to Golden Bay. A short walk takes you to Halfmoon Bay. Please note your water taxi departure is at high tide and it is critical you arrive at least half an hour in advance of the departure time. If you miss the water taxi you will be spending another 24 hours at the Freshwater Landing Hut! Tonight you stay in Stewart Island Backpackers with power and a shower!

DAY 4: Halfmoon Bay, Invercargill

Flying time 20 minutes

Time to explore Halfmoon Bay. Try one of many short walks, visit a local craft gallery, or just soak up the island ambience. In the afternoon ( generally the 1:30pm flight ) fly to Invercargill for the completion of our journey. Many customers chose to stay an extra night or two on Stewart Island and we are happy to arrange this for you. Options include a guided tour of the open sanctuary Ulva Island, sea kayaking in Paterson Inlet or mayeb a spot of fishing for the famous blue cod.


Accommodation is based on bunk rooms with shared bathroom facilities. In Invercargill you stay at Tuatara Backpackers (which is also the YHA) in the middle of Invercargill.
At Mason Bay you stay at the public DOC hut. Bunk beds are generally available in the hut (first in first served) no power, toilets are outside and there are no showers …. sorry that’s the price you pay to see a kiwi in the wild and all of our customers agree it is worth it!

In Halfmoon Bay you stay at the Bunkers Backpackers, very close to town.

Departure Dates

From November to April we have regular departures subject to availability and tides. We do operate during the winter…. it is actually a great time to be on the Island. Departure time from Invercargill and Freshwater are tide dependent and it is critical that you pay special attention to these and make sure your are ready at least half an hour before hand.

Getting There

Invercargill is 170km from Te Anau and 200km from Queenstown. Shuttles operate daily departing Te Anau at 7.30am and Queenstown at 9am. Feel free to contact us to help arrange transfers to and from Invercargill.

Fitness Level

A medium level of fitness is required for Stewart Island. The walking is generally flat. The tracks can be muddy and wet after heavy rain.


Your Freedom Plus package includes three nights accommodation, flights to and from the island, water taxi from Freshwater Landing to Golden Bay and track notes.
The price per person is NZ$ 595 including GST. Prices are valid to 1 November 2013.