The Rakiura Track

Get well away from the crowds on Stewart Island’s peaceful Rakiura Track: the least visited Great Walk, but only because of its remote location. It’s perfect for serious nature enthusiasts. You will walk through one of New Zealand’s most pristine environments, with an incredible amount of rare native wildlife on display. There’s even a good chance of spotting an elusive Kiwi.

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Activity in brief

26km - 39 km
2 - 3 days
Start - End:
Oban - Oban
Water Taxi

Terrain: Easy, can get muddy in places

Accommodation: Designated Great Walk Huts (Trail); Lodge (Oban)

Nearest Town: Oban

Activity Overview

Rakiura is the Maori name for Stewart Island and means “glowing sky”, which probably relates to the long summer evenings and stunning sunsets commonly seen here. No less than 85% of the land area is National Park and is comprised of dense mossy rainforest, steep gullies and fringed by hundreds of kilometres of gorgeous long sandy beaches with crystal clear sea.

The remoteness of the place has allowed native wildlife to thrive in a way that is now only rarely found in mainland New Zealand, and it is for this that the Rakiura Track is justly famous. As well as all the forest birds such as bellbird, bush robin and kakariki (native parakeets), there are penguins, albatross and of course the Kiwi. This is easily the most likely place in the country to spot one of these iconic creatures in the wild.

This walk is a convenient loop starting and finishing in the small township of Oban - Stewart Island's only proper settlement. If you want to cut it short however you can choose the Two Day Walk Itinerary with water taxi transportation included. Of course we organise all your accommodation for the trail, but we we also have your ferry to Stewart Island and your hotel in Oban sorted for you too, so all you need to concentrate on is the walking!  

You start your Stewart Island adventure with a ferry ride from the Bluff at the very bottom of the South Island. On arrival at Oban you will be transported to your accommodation. The following day you start your walk. On return you have at least one more night back in Oban but you can choose to stay longer if you wish - maybe checkout a wildlife tour (see "what else?" below) or just enjoy this unique environment for a bit longer.


Personalised Itineraries

Personalise your Rakiura Track Walk:

The standard walk is a three day, two night tramp but you can shorten this in a variety of ways using water taxi transport - just contact us and we can send you some options.

You can also opt to stay in Stewart Island for however long time you like before and after your walk. If you are thinking of staying for a few days we can also help organise wildlife tours for you.

Contact us today to find out how we can create your perfect Active Aotearoa Adventure! 

Include the Abel Tasman in your unique Multi-Activity Trip:

You can combine this walk with any other activity on this website to create your own unique itinerary.

When you develop your own tailor-made itinerary with us, it's fully customised with your choice of activities, accommodation and transport around New Zealand - Click here for more information about Multi-Activity Trips or Enquire Now to get started.

OR SIMPLY BOOK this trip now...
Three Day Rakiura Walk Plus Two Extra Nights in Oban
  • Return ferry from Bluff to Oban included.
  • Two nights B&B accommodation in Oban for before and after walk.
  • Two nights hut accommodation on the track included.

Day One: Ferry from Bluff to Stewart Island. We organise your ferry from Bluff to Oban at a time that suits you and sort your B&B accomodation in town for the night too.

Day Two: Oban to Port William (13km 4-5 Hours). Head out of town along Horseshoe Bay Road and follow the main coast road around successive lovely bays. When you get to Lee Bay you pass through The Anchorstone or Te Puka - a chain link sculpture marking the start of the huge Rakiura National Park. The track continues to follow the coast past more beautiful sandy stretches such as Maori beach. Keep an eye out for fur seals and sealions! You then split from the main track up to Port William and your first night on the trail at Port William Hut.

Day Three: Port William to North Arm (13km 6 Hours). Today you start by backtracking to the main trail, which then heads west into the rainforest. The track passes through a variety of vegetation including previously milled and virgin podocarp forest. Remnants of milling activity are seen along the track as it follows old tramlines once used to direct logs to their various destinations. You eventually emerge at North Arm - an important waterway and food gathering area for early Maori. Your second night in the trail will be at North Arm Hut nestled above the shores of Patterson Inlet.

Day Four: North Arm to Oban (13km 4-5 Hours). Your final day on the the track will have you sidling around the heavily indented coast line of this part of Stewart Island. At Sawdust Bay you pass a sawmill site which was operated between 1914 and 1918. The track continues through rimu and kamahi dominated forest emerging at the sheltered bays of Kidney Fern Arm and Kaipipi Bay. When you reach Fern Gully carpark it is another 2 km along the road (turn left into Main Rd) to get back to Oban township. Tonight you will stay back in your cosy B&B and celebrate a great walk achieved. 

Day Five: Stewart Island to Bluff. You can depart on the ferry early in the morning or spend most of an extra day in Oban, maybe go on a wildlife tour, before the ferry departs in the afternoon.

Pricing: Three Day Rakiura Walk Plus Two Extra Nights in Oban

From NZD$715 per Adult and NZD$470 per Child (15 and under) including ferries to and from Stewart Island, 2 nights' B&B accommodation in Oban and 2 nights' track accommodation.   

Book Now

Activity Planning

When to go

It is possible to tramp the Rakiura all year round. Summer obviously has the best weather and gives up to 17 hours of daylight at these southern latitudes. The rest of the year can be wet and the track is renowned for getting very muddy. Gaiters are a great option to help with this issue.

What to bring

Wet weather gear

Stout boots

Gaiters (for muddy conditions)


Water bottle


First-aid kit

Insect repellant, long sleeved shirts and trousers (to combat sand flies)


Communication device

Sleeping bag

All your food, gas cooker, plates, bowls, utensils etc.

Accommodation on the trail



Your track accommodation will be in the two Department of Conservation Great Walk Huts along the track. They feature toilets, fresh water, mattresses, tables, benches and heating.

For more information about backcountry huts in New Zealand please checkout our accommodation guide here.

Accommodation in Oban (included in the package for before and after your walk)


Stewart Island Lodge*

Private and secluded, Stewart Island Lodge is a wonderful place to relax in great comfort while providing a base for your Island exploration. It’s just five minutes’ walk from the village centre where there are restaurants and a small pub. The lodge has commanding views of Halfmoon Bay and Foveaux Strait.  Its grounds are home to many native birds including kaka (native parrots) and provide a contemplative place to relax.  The terrace offers sweeping views of the gardens and ocean beyond providing an idyllic place to kick back and watch the birds. The six ensuite guest-rooms are sumptuous, enjoy stunning outlooks and open directly onto an expansive balcony. Includes continental breakfast and complimentary pick up from Ferry.

*We normally use this highly rated Lodge, but we can also offer a number of other options - Please let us know if you are looking for something else, and we can sort it out for you. Also if this option is booked out for your chosen travel period we will discuss other options with you. Please note your accommodation choice may affect the overall activity price.


We arrange your return ferry from Bluff (near Invercargill in Southland) across to Oban. When you arrive at the main wharf in Oban you will get a courtesy shuttle to your accommodation in town.

Water Taxi

If you choose to start your walk a little further along the track at Port William Hut, we organise a water taxi to take you out there from Oban.

What else?



Route Map
Get in touch

For more information about us or our services contact us on
+ 64 3 390 1584
or email us at [email protected]

Enquire Now