Part of the Southland region, Stewart Island is the third-largest and southernmost island in the country and similar in size to Singapore. It's accessed by a 20-minute flight or hour-long ferry trip across Foveaux Strait.
Stewart Island is sparsely populated in human terms, with just 450 full-time residents. But with an estimated 20,000 brown kiwi – just one of many native bird species living on the island – birds on the island outnumber people many times over. There is more chance to see the flightless bird in its natural environment here than anywhere else in New Zealand. The usually nocturnal kiwi also obliges by appearing during daylight hours.
Oban, the island’s only township, boasts a shop, a pub and plenty of holiday accommodation, and is home to most of the human population. Most of the island is in conservation reserve, forming the Rakiura National Park, an adventure playground for bird watchers or hiking, fishing, hunting and other outdoor enthusiasts.