Discover Rakiura/Stewart Island’s remarkable land and sea birds up close and personal, in comfort and style on board with Rakiura Charters & Water Taxi.
“As ardent fans of wildlife, a visit to Stewart island was an essential part of our first trip to New Zealand. The one thing we really got right was organising our offshore expeditions with Matt and Rakiura Charters. Our photographs of the sea birds, penguins, seals and sea lions bear witness to what he was able to find. Matt’s knowledge and seamanship exceeded our best hopes and Alina’s charm and lovely morning tea were justification alone for another visit. Thank you!”
Duncan & Jenny Sugg
Pelagic Bird Tour - View striking Albatross, Yellow-Eyed Penguins, Terns, Fiordland Crested and Little Blue Penguins, Petrels and many more of Stewart Island’s stunning ocean birds at close quarters. Catering for small groups of up to six, our tours are highly personalised with full commentary from your knowledgeable skipper and guide, Matt Atkins, with over 17 years of nautical-tourism experience. Enjoy all the creature comforts such as on board toilet, lounge-style seating, full photographic bird guides and ample photo opportunities from the covered viewing deck or heated enclosed cabin. Delicious home-baked morning tea and freshly ground coffee feature on all of our tours.
Ulva Island - The jewel of Paterson Inlet, Ulva Island is one of New Zealand’s few open bird sanctuaries where bird lovers can wander through primeval forest to view rare forest birds such as Weka, friendly Stewart Island Robins, Yellowhead, Saddleback, Red- and Yellow-Crowned Parakeets, Rifleman and more. We offer an on demand water taxi service to Ulva Island including full historic commentary along the way. With well-maintained tracks enjoy a half day freedom walk or ask about our guided options.
Land & Seabird Package - Combine our Pelagic Tour with a half day on Ulva Island as a full day experience - explore on your own or with an experienced guide. Pack a lunch to enjoy on the beach where you may come across the cheeky Weka. There’s even an option to add an evening Kiwi Watch to make this Stewart Island’s most comprehensive birding package.
Mason’s Bay - Kiwi Spotting on our popular fly-walk-boat experience; the Coast to Coast Adventure begins with a spectacular flight over Paterson Inlet to the West Coast, with a beach landing at Mason’s Bay. Overnight hut stays are available or make a day of it and continue on the 4hr wilderness trek through to Freshwater River, where we will collect you for the 45min scenic boat ride to Golden Bay. Other birds regularly seen include Banded and New Zealand Dotterels, Fernbird and Stewart Island Robin.
About Us - Matt Atkins is a Commercial Launchmaster with over 17 years’ experience in nautical tourism. Raised on Stewart Island, Matt is a passionate and knowledgeable guide. His wife Alina (BAppSc, Coastal Management) shares his love of wildlife and has a varied background in tourism, fisheries conservation, and wetland and forest rehabilitation.
Contributions to Conservation - $1 per person joining our Ulva Island tours is contributed to the Ulva Island Charitable Trust, working towards the continued protection of the Ulva Island Bird Sanctuary. Rakiura Charters is also a Business Sponsor of the Stewart Island/ Rakiura Community & Environment Trust (SIRCET), a passionate community group managing local pest control and native species programs, in order to increase forest bird numbers in Halfmoon Bay. Alina also volunteers her time as Secretary of SIRCET’s Board.
Department of Conservation Marine Mammal Permit Holder
Department of Conservation Freshwater River Concessionaire
Business Sponsor of the Stewart Island/ Rakiura Community
Sustainable Tourism South Member
Rakiura Charters & Water Taxi Contact Details
Rakiura Charters & Water Taxi
14 Kaka Ridge Road
PO Box 112
Stewart Island 9846
Freephone: 0800 725 487
Mobile:027 354 9991
Find us on TripAdvisor and Facebook
Birds always seen
Yellow-eyed Penguins are one of the rarest of the world's 18 species of penguin. There are only 5,000 - 6,000 Yellow-eyed Penguins in the wild and they only live in New Zealand.