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Stewart Island, New Zealand

Backpack the Rakiura Track

19.9 Miles Total - 656.2 ft gain - Loop Trail

Originally added by Tiffany Young

Kiwi birds, lonely beaches, and Māori history = One Great Walk. One of New Zealand's incredibly unique bush experiences.

Of the nine Great Walks in New Zealand (will be ten at the end of 2019), two are a loop and the Rakiura Track is one of them. That makes planning a huge portion of the trip much easier since you don't have to worry about a ride back to your car. The best part about this Great Walk is that you can walk to the beginning of the track from town.

To get to the island, drive to Bluff in South Island and catch a boat to Stewart Island (ticket purchased ahead of time.) The boat ride is about an hour long to Oban where you will pick up the hut tickets at the Department of Conversation (DOC) in town.

"The official entrance to Rakiura National Park at Lee Bay, 5 km from Oban. If walking from the DOC visitor centre in Oban, turn right and walk down Main Road. Turn left into Elgin Terrace, past the supermarket, and up the hill. Follow this main coastal road over a series of hills to Horseshoe Bay, then on to Lee Bay." - DOC website.

This backpacking trip follows along coastlines and inner forest with huts and campsites available by the water. There are plenty of beaches and many historical sites to explore!

When you finish the track, it will take you back out onto a main road where you continue to walk straight back to town. Or you can do it the other way around! Either way, all walkable.


- Drinking water can be found at the huts. Streams are also a good source, but it is recommended to filter or treat the water before drinking.

- Be aware this is national park territory. There is deer hunting year-round and a permit is required.

And for more information about Stewart Island click here.

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Picnic Area


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Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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