For those who value nature and wild places, this is the spot for you. Determining the highlights of this experience is no easy feat, with every second from beginning to end being memorable.
Stewart Island sunrises and sunsets
A quick hop across Foveaux Strait and you are in the land of epic sunrises and sunsets. Rakiura (Stewart Island) translates as the Land of Glowing Skies. To cruise along picturesque waters and witness awe-inspiring sunlight was pretty spectacular. What a thing – to begin each day and end each day with utter beauty.
The Milford Wanderer
A vessel fit for the explorer in all of us, with no compromises on luxury. The cabins are equipped with power plugs, a bed-side table, luggage rack, plenty of wall hooks and comfy-as beds. The saloon is kitted out with booth seating, cool tartan carpet and plenty of windows so you don’t miss a thing outside! The onboard tender allowed us to venture ashore, which was a frequent occurrence. Quick access to nature walks and historic sites on Stewart Island was definitely a highlight.
Port Pegasus and Belltopper Falls
A spectacular portion of the expedition was venturing down south to Port Pegasus, a part of Stewart Island that is not frequently visited. A three-hour sea voyage down the east coast of the island shows off some breathtaking scenery, with vantage points all over the Milford Wanderer. The photo opportunities didn’t stop there, with an afternoon of kayaking to the Belltopper Falls and around peaceful coves.
A definite highlight was hiking up Bald Cone, which offers rewarding views at the summit. The Milford Wanderer docked in the bay gives perspective on just how vast this land of forest and nature really is.
Explore Ulva Island
The day trip to Ulva Island had been pegged as a highlight from the get go. Ulva Island is predator-free making it not only unique but also a sanctuary for native wildlife and flora. The well maintained tracks allowed for ease as we strolled through this wonderland, listening to bird sound and spotting orchids, fungi and more. Ulva Island is where we were fortunate enough to encounter a kiwi, foraging in the day light.
For those of you short on time, the Ulva Island Explorer day trip will get you up close and personal the island's amazing flora and fauna.
Stewart Island hospitality
Even at the very bottom of the country, the people in New Zealand are a highlight. The Real Journeys team are made up of nature experts, a knowledgeable skipper and a bloody good chef. These guys brought the ‘local’ element to the expedition, giving us that insider knowledge and good-old story telling that you crave when discovering a new place. This expedition also attracted personable and like-minded explorers from New Zealand and abroad. The vessel is full of guests whom you quickly form a bond with. Got to love that! It’s safe to say that the people made the trip what it was.
There is something so refreshing about being away from civilisation.
Say goodbye to phone service, concrete buildings and crowds of people. There’s no need for such busyness where you’re heading. Feed your curiosity and explore one of the most untouched places in New Zealand.
As promised, you’ll have 0 regrets.
For more information, or to book your Stewart Island Discovery Expedition,click here.