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Rakiura National Park

Stewart Island, which lies 30 kilometres south of the South Island, has a land area of nearly 2000 square kilometres, and 85% of it is included within the boundaries of Rakiura National Park.

The most recent addition to New Zealand's national park portfolio, Rakiura is an enchanted world of unmodified ecosystems and habitats. From dense coastal rainforests and freshwater wetlands to vast sand dunes and granite mountain ranges, the park provides an exceptional opportunity to see native wildlife and primeval landscapes.

Key Highlights

Rakiura translates to 'the Land of Glowing Skies', a name that refers to both the beautiful night-sky phenomenon called the Aurora Australis (the Southern Lights) and the breathtaking sunsets that burn on the western horizon.

Night time is very special in this park for other reasons too. While you're tucked up inside a Department of Conservation hut, nocturnal bird life provides an unforgettable chorus. You'll hear the calls of ruru (the native owl), weka and kiwi. On Stewart Island, you have an excellent chance of seeing kiwi in the wild.

During daylight, the serenade continues. Along with tui, bellbirds, tomtits, grey warblers and fantails, you'll hear red-crowned parakeets, bush parrots and Stewart Island robins. The coastal fringes of the island are home to three species of penguin, fernbirds, banded rails, weka and many kinds of seabird.