HRH Prince Harry visits Stewart Island

Follow in Royal Footseps to New Zealand’s Stewart Island

June 9, 2015

“It’s a really nice opportunity to come down here and see people that live the very simple life away from all of the chaos of cities.”

After the excitement of Prince Harry’s New Zealand adventure on Stewart Island last week, life on the country’s southernmost isle has returned to a more familiar pace with visitors’ able to experience this ecological wonderland, and its many endemic bird species.

Measuring 674 square miles, Stewart Island is the third largest of New Zealand’s landmasses. A key conservation area, it is one of the few places you’re likely to encounter a kiwi in its natural habitat, and is the home to one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, the Rakiura Track.

Just a short boat ride from Stewart Island, Ulva Island is a pest-free bird sanctuary where visitors can see and learn about species that wouldn’t survive on the mainland.

Our own Paul Carberry, New Zealand travel expert and founder of New Zealand In Depth added; “For anyone with a love of nature or wanting the chance to see endemic bird species like the kiwi, Stewart Island is always a highlight. For me, it is a mixture of remote island life and wildlife encounters that bring people back to the island again and again.”

During his visit HRH Price Harry was able to get a taste of life on the island where he said; “It’s a beautiful place, it really is”. His visit included spending an afternoon on Ulva Island where he met the team from Ulva’s Guided Walks and saw weka, kaka, kakariki and robins.

During his stay, the prince also added; “To come here (Stewart Island) where, according to a lot of the Stewart Island Population, they are slightly left out of everything. It’s a really nice opportunity to come down here and see people that live the very simple life away from all of the chaos of cities.”

Ulva Goodwillie, founder of Ulva’s Guided Walks, said; “He brought perfect weather with him for his visit to Stewart Island and knew about Ulva Island Bird Sanctuary, more than we realised. He even knew a lot of the birds that he saw including the Weka that greeted him on his arrival at Ulva Island wharf.”

Following the enthusiasm and warm reception for the Island from the Royal visitor, it is thought that Stewart Island is set to attract yet more nature loving visitors.

Paul further added; “Stewart Island is one of my favourite places and I’m sure that with great ambassadors like Prince Harry dropping in, it will open more eyes to this incredible corner of New Zealand.”

Follow in Royal Footsteps Across New Zealand

Following the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s royal tour of New Zealand in 2014, Prince Harry’s visit to Stewart Island took him from Auckland’s urban buzz to the most southern community on Stewart Island.

  •  AucklandNamed one of Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Cities last year, Auckland blends city style with a stunning natural playground, spread over two harbours and countless beaches and bays.
  •  WellingtonThe capital city is a lively hub of culture and colour. Prince Harry visited the new Pukeahu National War Memorial Park and attended a rugby game at Westpac Stadium.
  •  Whanganui – The Whanganui River is a place of deep spiritual significance to the local iwi (tribe). After a ceremonial welcome onto a marae (meeting house) Prince Harry paddled a traditional Maori waka / canoe on the river.
  •  ChristchurchDescribed by Lonely Planet as a “vibrant city in transition, coping resiliently and creatively,” Christchurch is bouncing back post-earthquakes, as Prince Harry has observed.
  •  Stewart IslandNew Zealand’s third and southernmost island is an ecological wonderland and one of the few places you’re likely to encounter a kiwi in its natural habitat.

For more information and expert advice on how you can follow in royal footsteps and travel to Stewart Island and New Zealand, call us +44 (0)1298 74040 or email explore@newzealand-indepth.co.uk.

New Zealand's Stewart Island Rakiura Track