Although Stewart Island / Rakiura is just about 20 min. by plane away from Invercargill, it can take much longer to get there if the weather conditions are not great. That was the case on 20 December 2014 when we boarded the plane in rain and had to turn around just 3 km shy of the airstrip on Stewart Island due to dense fog. After some waiting and watching the weather, it was decided that the weather conditions wouldn’t improve and thus we were all taken to the last ferry of the day and arrived in pouring rain on Stewart Island an hour after departing in Bluff.

Attempt to fly to Stewart Island
Attempt to fly to Stewart Island

Thus, I was on Stewart Island four hours later than anticipated, but I couldn’t have done much anyway in all the rain. It lessened a bit later in the evening so that a short stroll through the Oban township rounded out this first day.

Apparently, I chose a good time to go to this small island with about 400 permanent residents because it’s right before the start of the season which begins on Boxing Day. Right now, not many people are on the island, but after Christmas, Kiwis flock in and then about 1 month later more overseas tourists according to a local. It’s gonna be busy on the tramping tracks very soon. Though “busy” is still relative. 😉

A word of caution

Sandflies abound on the islands that make up the Stewart Island group of island, and you cannot do without protection. Either stock up before you board the plane or ferry to Stewart Island or head straight to the Four Square near the wharf. Not being bitten all the time by these little creatures will make your trip much more enjoyable. See also my blog entry on sandflies.

If you want to read more about my vacation on Stewart Island, check out the following posts:

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