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Home » Adventures » New Zealand Extended Holiday » Stewart Island

Stewart Island (Rakiura National Park)

December 23 – 29, 2012
Route I Walked125 km

Route I Walked
125 km

I explored New Zealand’s “Southernest Island” by hiking the infamous Northwest Circuit in Rakiura National Park. Although this island receives ample rain and this track is known for its mud, I encountered very favorable conditions. No rain fell throughout my seven day march around the island, and the mud was always manageable. I had to be careful with my steps much of the time but could mostly keep my feet clean. By historical standards the track was in great shape. I was not disappointed at missing out on the true “Stewart Island experience” and enjoyed the relatively good tread instead.

The route mostly consisted of a long series of steep ups and downs, clambering over roots and streams. Progress was exhausting and very slow. Much of the track went through a green tunnel too, with the thick vegetation hindering any views of the nearby ocean. A couple times each day though, the track would drop to follow a magnificent beach. These shore side highlights varied from smooth sand, to rocks, to large sand dunes. These beach walks were spectacular, and when the wind kept the numerous sandflies at bay, this Midwestern would sit contentedly on the beach watching the endless surf roll in.

I spotted a few kiwis on my walk too and enjoyed watching those odd birds, surprised at their large size.

I would have tacked on the Southern Circuit, but lacked adequate food stores. As it was I endured my last day walking out of the bush without the benefit of a breakfast.

The sand dunes on Smoky Beach
The coast near Long Harry Hut
Ruggedy Islands
Waituna Bay
A long board-walked section through the island’s interior