The Rakiura Track is a short rugged coastal track on Stewart Island. Just off the southernmost point of the South Island. The Rakiura is a perfect year-round hike with little crowds and covers desolate beaches, scenic coastline, and several abandoned lumber mills. Stewart Island is full of wildlife, and the best opportunity in New Zealand to see an elusive Kiwi.
Where Is It
Located off the coast from Bluff on the South Island, Stewart Island is accessible by ferry or small plane. Stewart Island is a rugged island known for many birds as well as the best opportunity to witness the southern lights (aurora australis) during the winter months.
The Rakiura Track is open year-round. The peak season is during the summer, however it does not get fully booked very often.
How Many Days
The Rakiura Track is typically a two or three-day hike. While the distance is easy for two days, due to ferry dropoff/pickup times, many do the walk in three days. For more details on hut locations, distances and maps, check out the DOC website for the Rakiura Track.
How to Book
Huts and tent camping must be booked in advance. Campsites cost $6 pp and huts cost $22 pp in season. Book online at the DOC’s website.
To get to Stewart Island, there is an option for a 20-minute flight from Invercargill or a one-hour ferry from the port of Bluff. Book a flight for $122 one-way with Stewart Island Flights or take the ferry with Stewart Island Ferry for $77 per person one-way.
Distance: 20 miles / 32.1 kilometers
Time: 3 Days (9-11 hours)
The hike can be done in either direction, this is from Lee Bay towards Maori Beach.
Lee Bay to Port William Hut
Distance: 5 miles / 8.1 kilometers
Time: 2-3 hours
The walk begins from Lee Bay (5 km from Oban) with coastal views and a beach walk at Maori Beach. There is a small climb through coastal forest before dropping down into Magnetic Beach and to Port William Hut.
Port William Hut to North Arm Hut
Distance: 8.1 miles / 13 kilometers
Time: 4 hours
The trail heads inland through lush coastal forest and some regenerating forest with a small climb to North Arm Hut.
North Arm Hut to Fern Gully
Distance: 6.8 miles / 11 kilometers
Time: 3-4 hours
The final day comes with beautiful views of the rugged coastline. The trail descends to the coast passing several secluded bays and abandoned historic mills. The track continues along the coast to Fern Gully, just 2 km from Oban.
Important Things to Know
Water is available at each hut. Water is not filtered and you can filter/boil for your own precaution, however hut water is almost always drinkable in New Zealand.
Huts have gas stoves for use. There are no cooking utensils or cookware for use.
Photo’s were taken by our wonderful friends, Sander Ezendam and Jolien Hendriksen, whom we met in New Zealand. You can follow them on Instagram @nosprinkles_nl or their blog No Sprinkles.
Read more about all our posts on New Zealand:
- Backpackers Guide to Buying a Campervan in New Zealand
- Nine Great Walks of New Zealand
- Ultimate Guide to Backpacking New Zealand