Gain an entertaining insight into New Zealand’s southernmost community, and learn about the history and environment of Stewart Island.
Unspoiled, incredibly beautiful, and steeped in stories, Stewart Island (known as Rakiura – glowing skies - by Maori) is well worth this informative introduction. Our local guides enjoy sharing their knowledge of the area on this mini-bus tour of the Island. You will have plenty of time to get off the bus for photo stops and short walks.
Highlights include a visit to the gateway to Rakiura National Park at Lee Bay, beautiful Horseshoe Bay and Observation Rock with its stunning views of Paterson Inlet.
Since the epic swim of John van Leeuwen in 1963 only four others have officially swum Foveaux Strait.
The record holder is Southlander Todd Utteridge, who completed the swim in 8 hours 40 minutes in 1989.
Explore Oban and the surrounding bays in our modern mini-buses. Our guides enjoy sharing their local knowledge of the history and environment of Stewart Island.
Oban Visitor Centre, 12 Elgin Terrace, Stewart Island
3 March 2019
Josephine is a local and was our driver/commentator on this small bus tour around the island. Josephine's was very passionate about her island and her maori pronunciation was superb. If you're pressed for time or just want to fill in time, this is a great way to see the island and learn a lot about its history. Thoroughly recommend.
15 February 2019
There may only be a few kilometers of road on Stewart Island but it is well worth taking the bus tour to see what is otherwise out of way of a day's walk. The tour takes you from Oban jetty to Observation Rock then around the bays and along Lee Bay Road to view the Anchor Chain Sculpture. This is the Stewart Island end of sculpture, the other end can be seen at Stirling Point, Bluff. The tour only takes a couple of hours but the views and the commentary make it a very informative excursion.
20 December 2018
I visited the island for the first time for little more than 24 hours and managed to fit so much in, this tour being the start. I love how knowledgeable the tour guide (so sorry I didn’t take note of his name) was feeding us with all sorts of little facts and it was apparent how fond of the place he was. Lovely to see some of the beautiful spots around and I absolutely cannot wait to come back to spend more time on the island!
4 November 2018
We spent 2 days at the island. Arrived at 10.45am and left the next day at 3.30pm. enough time to see the sites. We took the bus on the 1.5 hour tour and covered all the roads. The island has 27 kms of roads and 350 kms of walking tracks with most of the island part of Rakiura National Park. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and we had photo opportunity during the trip where we got to get off the bus. Good way to see the sights and learn the history
23 March 2018
This is the first trip after I landed on the island. Once I finish the tour I feel like I already know everything about this island. We had a very nice and professional lady guide who show us around on a comfortable van. She introduced everything including the natural things and some common information on the island also the story of the island. For a 45 dollars for this tour I reckon it’s very valuable and easy relax not tired. Good for every age level of tourists. Families, couples and freedom travelers.
8 January 2018
This was a great introduction to the Island. The our guide was very knowledgeable about the Island.
Our daughter has a mobility issue and even she was able to participate in the short walk that this tour includes.
28 November 2017
A great tour of the populated areas of Stewart Island.
I'd definitely recommend this trip for your first day to get acquainted with the island and what there is to see and do.
Tons of information and beautiful stops along the way. So much more history here than you'd ever expect.
10 October 2017
From the moment we boarded the bus, we were drawn in by Kylie, our driver and tour guide who generously shared her extensive local knowledge and stories with us all. She drove us to some lovely spots and told us about life on the island throughout its history from the perspective of one who has been born and bred there. She helped us to appreciate what the Island has to offer and just how big it actually is... how unspoilt most of it remains, and how lucky we are to have such careful and passionate guardians on the island to ensure it stays that way for ever...We had a great time with her on the bus and before we knew it, we were back where we had started! Thank you for the lovely morning we shared with you Kylie - we will remember it fondly for a long time!
6 September 2017
The tours are great, people who work there full of knowledge
Heard others complain prices. They need to understand this is beautiful, nature at its best. The cost to get fuel, food etc to the Island is not free. Great to hear the history and Maori connections. Some very informative reading available.
28 February 2017
With only a few roads this tour provided an insight into the culture and fauna of the Island. The guide was informative and provided both historical insights and natural insights that flowed quite easily. A great way to get acquainted to the Island and hear about the way of life for early sealers and whalers and how they integrated into the Maori culture.
Visited February 2017
15 February 2017
The guide, a life-long local, was wonderful, and we thoroughly enjoyed our bus tour of the island. There are only a few miles of pavement available, and this tour pretty much gets you around to see all there is that can be seen. You'll have the background info you need to appreciate your visit.
Visited February 2017
2 February 2017
Knowing we didn't have a lot of time on Stewart Island we booked this tour. Very pleased we did as we went to spots that we would not have walked to. Our Tour Guide was very knowledgeable about the island as she was brought up there. Good history and interesting facts provided.
Visited January 2017
15 January 2017
This short tour is a good way to find out about the island. The guide really knows his stuff and has a good sense of humour. The information is succinct and gives visitors an idea of what they can do during their time on the island; other tours/trips, swimming, etc. An interesting stop was Lee Bay, where you can see the predator-free fence close up and see the effect the wind has on vegetation (all the foliage on one side of the taller trees due to wind).
Visited January 2017
24 November 2016
The tour is 1.5 hours and covers just about all of the islands roads. The tour guide was very informative and the tour was a great way to see a summary of things. Do this first in your trip to the island as you will get tips on things to do.
Visited November 2016
10 May 2016
Hi all, am spending one night at Stewart Island and have just spent 1.5 hrs on a bus tour. Best money we have spent, Kylie our driver, was really informative, funny and unfaultable and a real credit to the company. Will come back and book holiday house next time.
Visited May 2016
22 March 2016
Took this tour recently and was lucky enough to have a tour guide/driver Chris who had lived on Stewart Island for 18 years. She was a wealth of knowledge and easy to listen to. She had a sense of humour. I think we travelled most of the roads on the island. We saw beautiful bays, beaches and bush. The tour was advertised as being an hour and a half long and it was exactly that. We were able to get out of the bus on occasions to take photos. I thoroughly recommend this tour and hope you are lucky enough to get Chris as the driver/guide.
Visited March 2016
21 March 2016
We took the bus tour as a way to see more of the island. Fabulous guide (Kylie) whose knowledge of and passion for Stewart Island were obvious. Lots to see and interesting information shared along the way. A great way to see this beautiful paradise.
Visited March 2016
20 February 2016
Our tour guide (Kylie) gave us a wonderful overview of the island. She was knowledgeable and friendly and we were sad when the tour finished. We learned so much about Stewart Island and highly recommend this experience to visitors to the island.
Visited February 2016
5 January 2016
We did a bus tour around Stewart Island and our guide was excellent! He gave us so much interesting information about the area and the history of the island. I took two young children on this tour and it was a great length for them with stops at interesting places so they didn't get bored. This guide loves his job!!
Visited January 2016
6 September 2015
A lovely tour to learn about the history and culture of this beautiful Island. Very very very informative and out guide was so passionate about her culture. You will learn loads and see some incredible sights too.
It's only 1.5 hours and you get driven around the island, it's a must for the first morning activity to really set you up here :)
Visited September 2015
16 March 2015
Chris from Stewart Island Experience was the driver for the day and she showed us around 15km of the islands 32km roads. There was so much to see and learn that it was hard to take everything in. The bays we stopped at were beautiful with golden sandy beaches, the forests were overpowering and we expected dinosaurs to appear at any time, the views from lookout point were stunning and the anchor point with Bluff brought a smile. Thank you to Chris and the Experience team for such an informative tour.
Visited February 2015
26 January 2015
Any visitor to Stewart Island could do no better than take one of the guided tours from the Oban Visitor Centre - especially if you only have limited time available. We had the delightful and extremely informative Kylie conduct a small number on one of the village tours. The Island is a naturally beautifully place, and with her expert commentary we were able to understand how and why this is such a special place. This is a vital and beautiful place - a few fascinating shops and eateries, wonderful walks and warm and friendly people.
Visited January 2015
6 January 2015
I love finding out about places and the guide was full of information and stories as we visited every interesting place and view in Oban (it didn't take too long...). A great way to start a visit as it let's you know where everything is.
Visited December 2014
30 November 2009
Took this tour in November 2009.
Had Grahame as our guide who was brilliant from start to finish.
His narration was second to none & really made the tour both interesting & informative. No part of the tour was rushed and he readily answered any & all questions the people on the tour threw at him. The tour is suitable for all ages & encourages people to chat to each other making it a very friendly & relaxing tour.
Graheme tried to give us a long as possible in each area but if you enjoying yourself, it never seems long enough.
Would definately recommend this tour to anyone who wants a brief introduction to Stewart Island but is short on time.
Visited November 2009.
In case you haven't found the information you were looking for, we've put together some of the most common questions our customers ask about our trips. If you need more specific answers, please contact us directly.
For visitors travelling on the Stewart Island Ferry Service, you are required to check in 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time (to allow for luggage loading, etc). The check in and boarding gates are closed 10 minutes prior to scheduled ferry departure. For all our cruises and tours, check in is required 20 minutes prior to the schedule departure.
There are a huge range of activities available on Stewart Island, from kayaking, fishing trips, golf, walking tracks and more. To find out more information and to make bookings, we operate the Oban Visitor Centre. The Department of Conservation (DoC) also operates a Visitor Information Centre and can provide more information on walking tracks and activities.
Yes, there are many activities you can fit into one day on Stewart Island. Ask our reservations team for suggested itineraries.
Stewart Island is not the place for a shopping spree as there is a very small range of shops - from small gift shops with locally produced items to the general store for groceries and fresh food.
All prices and transactions on the Real Journeys website are in New Zealand dollars (NZD). This is specified on the Terms & Conditions page.
Our staff are trained to deal with incidents and in case of an emergency you should listen to their instructions.
We have a portable defibrillator on each of our overnight cruise vessels (Milford Mariner, Milford Wanderer and Fiordland Navigator).
In addition to this we also have portable defibrillators at the following locations:
• Milford Sound Visitor Terminal
• Real Journeys Visitor Centre, Manapouri
• Cavern House (Te Anau Glowworm Caves)
• Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant, Walter Peak
• TSS Earnslaw Vintage Steamship
• Stewart Island Ferry (Bluff - Oban - Bluff).