You, Me & Friends “Favourite Places”  *** Kiwi spotting on Stewart Island ***

Situated at the very bottom of the world, Stewart Island Rakiura still feels like a frontier land. The early inhabitants were hard men and women in an unforgiving climate. I think it still takes some fortitude to live the island life – but what a fantastic place to visit!

A highlight of our time on the island started with a 4pm meeting at the Four Square for pre-ordered pies, muffins and a Bottle of Ned Pinot Gris. We feasted on the tables outside the supermarket, then checked in for our 5pm Kiwi Encounter tour.

We boarded our catamaran and sailed over to “The Neck” where our kiwi spotting was to take place.

“The Neck” is a long peninsula of land attached to mainland Stewart Island, but thin enough to be able to maintain a predator-free environment for the kiwis. We landed just after dusk, then armed with torches we followed our guide into the cold, cold forest night. We hadn’t been walking for more than 10 minutes before the guides white torch light turned to red, indicating he had found our quarry. The red light lit up the forest floor, showing off a young bird feeding on grubs. So fantastic to see this rare bird, the symbol of our country – in the wild!

Further along, the bush track turned to sand as we emerged onto the beach, and spotted another kiwi so completely engrossed in digging for sand hopper bugs that it paid no attention to us at all.

Again the red light lit up the scene, and we crowded round to view this special bird.

Afterwards we spent some time on the beach taking in the Stewart Island Dark Sky reserve. The coast night sky showed us in minute detail all of the constellations that the Southern Hemisphere had on display. We even saw shooting stars, satellites, and a strange unidentified slow-moving light high in the heavens.

A very special night in a very special place!


Oh my gosh, we all had a fantastic day out. Thank you so much. I really didn’t expect to like all those weird and wonderful snacks during the "Curious Food Train" activity, and didn’t think they would all participate. The staff all keep thanking us for such a great day. Looking forward to next years event!