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“One of the highlights of our trip to Stewart Island” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Stewart Island Flights

Stewart Island Flights
Invercargill Airport, Invercargill, New Zealand
+64 3 218 9129
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Attraction details
Lower Hutt, New Zealand
18 reviews 18 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“One of the highlights of our trip to Stewart Island”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2012

We chose the flights over the ferry as there wasn't a lot of difference price-wise, and we could leave excess baggage at Invercargill airport. It fitted in with us dropping off a hire car at the airport and collecting one on our return. Went over on a 10-seater and 15-yr-old son got to sit next to the pilot. You fly so low you can leave your cellphone on. We were met at the airfield by Stewart in a van, and transferred to Oban. We reversed the journey 4 days later, but this time on a 6-seater. Had the same friendly pilot both times. A little bit bumpy, but the views are fabulous.

Visited January 2012
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71 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Top Contributor
137 reviews 137 reviews
67 attraction reviews
Reviews in 65 cities Reviews in 65 cities
93 helpful votes 93 helpful votes
“A Day To Remember”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2012

As part of our self-drive tour of New Zealand, we wanted to visit Stewart Island and opted for the Full Day Tour provided by Stewart Island Flights. I made the booking by phone 3 days in advance paying over the phone by credit card. This was carried out with great efficiency and cheerfulness.

Our day started with a check-in at Invercargill Airport at 07:30 am. Invercargill Airport is not a big airport. There is plenty of parking very close to the terminal at a very low cost. The check-in was carried out in a friendly way and we were provided with a map and vouchers to cover the major activities of our day.

We boarded and departed on time at 8:00 am on a small eight-seater plane for a flight of 15-20 minutes where the scenery on view from the plane's windows is just fantastic. We landed on a simple tarmac landing strip on Stewart Island and were collected by a minibus for the short trip to Oban. To our surprise, waiting there was KEN, our water taxi captain to Ulva Island. Ken was tremendous - so helpful - and he drove us to the wharf from where his water taxi transported us to Ulva Island.

Before 9:00 am in the morning we were alone in this natural paradise - quiet apart from bird song, beautiful in terms of trees, vegetation and beaches. We had the most memorable walk for 2 hours before Ken returned to take us back to Oban. By now the wind had increased and the sea crossing was rough. Ken correctly forecast that the wind and rain would increase throughout the day.

For lunch we took refuge in the South Seas Hotel where the food was good but the service very slow. Then at 2:00 pm we went on the Conducted Tour of Stewart Island by minibus. This was immensely enjoyable with a amusing but informative commentary. By the time that we arrived back in Oban, the weather was appalling. The Sea Ferries had been cancelled but there was no concerns being felt by Stewart Island Flights. Again we took refuge in the South seas Hotel for a drink and were asked to be available for our return flight at 5:30 pm.

This return flight was [to say the least] exciting. The incoming flight landed at first on one wheel and the flight to Invercargill was bumpy for the first 5 minutes but we arrived back safely and will always remember this day for the sights and with an affectionate laugh for the thrills. Great value for money

Visited November 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Top Contributor
93 reviews 93 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
82 helpful votes 82 helpful votes
“Understanding Service.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2012

Being a pretty poor traveller at the best of times, I was quite nervous about flying in the small plane. I didn't make a big deal about it, but on both trips (there and back), the pilot noticed my slight relucatnce and was very reassuring, explaining everything as we went. Dosed up on sealegs and valium, I did OK.

Visited January 2012
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Christchurch, New Zealand
Top Contributor
204 reviews 204 reviews
98 attraction reviews
Reviews in 60 cities Reviews in 60 cities
139 helpful votes 139 helpful votes
“46 South!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2012

I took the "Coast-to-Coast" package with SIF. This included the flight from Invercargill Airport to a beach landing (scary in a cross wind) at Masons Bay; water taxi pick up from Freshwater Landing & a return flight to INC from Oban. We were incredibly lucky with the weather & managed to spot a kiwi. All transport arrangements were convenient and smooth & we loved exploring this unique island.

Visited January 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Greymouth, New Zealand
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
22 attraction reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
“Day trip great way to see Stewart Island”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2012

Having never been to Stewart Island before, and being short on time, we decided to do the day trip, flying there and back with Stewart Island Flights. The 20 minute flight left Invercargill at 8 a.m. and the return flight left the island at 5 p.m. Winter and weekend flights leave Invercargill at 9 a.m. and Stewart Island at 4.30 p.m. Or you can go by ferry, although Foveaux Strait can be rough at times so we chose to fly.

Landing at the airstrip on the island, we were taken by van down the hill to Oban, Stewart Island's only settlement, from where we walked up and over a steep little hill to Golden Bay. Then by water taxi to Ulva Island, a formerly predator-free bird sanctuary, where we spent 2.5 hours walking the tracks and seeing kakas, South Island robins and a glimpse of kakariki. Unfortunately, rats found their way back onto Ulva Island in 2010 so there were rat traps everywhere and not as many birds as I had hoped. Back on Stewart Island we saw more kakas and tuis and a number of other birds. Wonderful!

Looked around the few shops, visited the small museum, had the best fish and chips for lunch at the hotel (the fish and chip place was still closed for winter) and at 2 p.m. we were taken on a guided tour, in a van, around Oban and surrounds. The weather was starting to pack up by then so the tour lasted about an hour. With the rain pouring down, one of the best places to hang out until it was time to fly back to the mainland was the DOC centre, where we watched a DVD and relaxed.

Taken back to the airstrip in the van, the weather by this time was wet, windy and rough. On the way to Stewart Island we sat in the seats behind the pilot and the weather was good so the flight went well. The plane is seriously small, seating up to 10 people, two abreast, with no centre aisle, and the seat in front of you only inches from your nose. We ended up in the back seats on the return flight, which made it feel a little claustrophobic, and the ride was pretty bumpy. Thank goodness for a good pilot.

HINT: Try to pick a nice day (weather-wise), and if you’re not a fan of small planes, sit in the row behind or even in the seat next to the pilot if there's only one of him/her. Otherwise you can go by ferry, although Foveaux Strait can be rough at times. It’s a good idea to take insect repellent to ward off the sandflies.

Visited October 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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