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Stewart Island/Rakiura is home to New Zealand’s most southerly and newest national park, Rakiura National Park, and the Rakiura Track. The Rakiura Track can be comfortably tramped in three days. Although the Rakiura Track is a 29 km tramping track, suitable for anyone with moderate fitness, the entire circuit is actually 36 km in total, including road walking.
The circuit follows the open coast, climbs over a 300 metre high forested ridge, and traverses the sheltered shores of Paterson Inlet. It passes sites of historical interest and introduces many of the common sea and forest birds of the island. Parts of it cross Maori land and access is courtesy of the owners.
The Rakiura Track traverses mainly rimu and kamahi forest with a rich diversity of tree ferns, ground ferns and perching orchids. Rata becomes more common at higher altitudes. Around the coast, keen bird watchers should look out for muttonbirds (sooty shearwaters), shags, Buller’s mollymawks, cape pigeons and little blue penguins. Bellbirds, tui, fantails, parakeets, shining cuckoos and wood pigeons can be observed in the forest. Trampers may also see and hear grey warblers, kaka and tomtits. The tidal flats of Paterson Inlet host a variety of wading birds including the New Zealand dotterel, oyster catchers, herons and godwits.
Click Here to view Rakiura videos on YouTube.