You’ll zip across Foveaux Strait between Bluff and Stewart Island in just one hour aboard our comfortable catamarans.
It’s an interesting stretch of water, home to several islands including Dog Island (spot the lighthouse), Ruapuke Island and the Titi Islands, and a considerable fishing industry.
During your trip, keep an eye out along the way for wildlife – particularly seabirds such as the Mollymawk and Titi. Our friendly staff provide informative commentary and point out highlights.
We offer an all-year daily scheduled ferry service with complimentary tea and coffee served aboard. Daily coach connections are available from Invercargill and in the summer, from Te Anau and Queenstown.
Travel to/from Stewart Island is on our modern catamaran ferries
Coach from Invercargill & ferry to Stewart Island.
Coach from Queenstown & ferry to Stewart Island.
Coach from Te Anau & ferry to Stewart Island.
Departing Bluff/Oban: prices valid for travel from 1 Oct 2019 - 30 Sep 2020.
- Adult: NZ$89 (one-way) NZ$159 (return)
- Child: NZ$45 (one-way) NZ$80 (return)
|1 October 2019 - 8 November 2019|
|Departs Bluff:||9.45am & 5.15pm daily (plus 1.30pm 28 Oct only)|
|Departs Stewart Island:||8am & 3.30pm daily (plus 12noon 28 Oct only)|
|9 - 30 November 2019|
|Departs Bluff:||9.45am, 11am & 5.15pm daily|
|Departs Stewart Island:||8am, 3.30pm & 5pm daily|
|1 December 2019 - 29 February 2020|
|Departs Bluff:||9.45am, 11am*, 1.30pm & 5.15pm (plus 8am 26 Dec - 7 Jan only) daily|
|Departs Stewart Island:||8am, 12noon, 3.30pm & 5pm* (plus 9.30am 26 Dec - 7 Jan only) daily|
|1 March 2020 - 30 April 2020|
|Departs Bluff:||9.45am, 11am & 5.15pm daily (plus 1.30pm on 10 Apr & 13 Apr)|
|Departs Stewart Island:||8am, 3.30pm & 5pm daily (plus 12noon on 10 Apr & 13 Apr)|
|1 May 2020 - 30 September 2020|
|Departs Bluff:||9.45am & 4.30pm daily|
|Departs Stewart Island:||8am & 3pm daily|
* except 25 December.
**Please note: Timetable information is indicative and subject to change. For the latest information please refer to the website availability grid for your date of travel. Passengers who pre-book through our website will be updated of any departure changes.
Last update: 24 February 2020Book
- From Bluff: Stewart Island Experience Visitor Terminal
- From Stewart Island: Stewart Island Visitor Terminal.
We also operate coach connections (from Invercargill, Queenstown & Te Anau) which meet our ferry arrivals/departures (see "Coach & Ferry Services" below).
Shoes/boots (non-slip), warm clothing/jacket, sunscreen/sunglasses and camera.
Personal baggage is carried free on the ferries - maximum of two bags per person (one stowed and one small carry-on).
For visitors to Stewart Island wishing to bring additional baggage, the transport of these items is by prior arrangement. This service is not available on all ferry departures, due to the size of the vessel and the limited cargo space available.
Additional baggage - prices valid until 30 September 2020.
Vehicle parking is available in Bluff, adjacent to the Bluff Visitor Terminal for self-driving visitors taking the ferry to Stewart Island. Parking is available for cars, boat trailers, coaches, campervans, motorcycles and bicycles. This is an airport-style parking facility, so you collect a ticket on entry and pay when you leave. Vehicle parking cannot be booked in advance.
Prices valid 1 October 2019 - 30 September 2020.
In addition to the Stewart Island Ferry service, we also offer combined 'Coach & Stewart Island Ferry' options departing from Invercargill, Queenstown & Te Anau.
Stewart Island Experience provides a coach service to/from Invercargill which connects with the Stewart Island Ferry (Invercargill - Bluff - Oban / Oban - Bluff - Invercargill). The coach from Invercargill departs 1 hour before the ferry leaves from Bluff. The coach transfer from Bluff to Invercargill returns passengers to Invercargill, one hour after the ferry berths.
Invercargill pick-up / drop off locations are:
Stewart Island Experience & Tracknet provide a coach service to/from Queenstown which connects with the Stewart Island Ferry (Queenstown - Bluff - Oban / Oban - Bluff - Queenstown).
Real Journeys utilises the services of Tracknet to provide a coach service from Te Anau to Bluff which connects to the Stewart Island Ferry from Bluff to Oban.
If you want to depart Queenstown and return to Te Anau (or depart Te Anau and return to Queenstown) etc, then please contact us directly firstname.lastname@example.org as these trips are NOT bookable on this website.
Last update: June 2019Book
One of the few pest-free open sanctuaries in the country, Ulva Island (Te Wharawhara in Maori) offers threatened native species a safe haven in which they can flourish.
There exists healthy populations of Rakiura Tokoeka (kiwi), Tieke (saddleback) and Mohua (yellowhead) birds on the island.
Stewart Island Ferry
"On a good day you can get great photos of the sea birds soaring over the straight sit back and relax with a wine or tea and coffee.
The staff are friendly and helpful. Only one hour from Bluff this is a great way to arrive at the Island."
In case you haven't found the information you were looking for, we've put together some of the most common questions our customers ask about our trips. If you need more specific answers, please contact us directly.
From Invercargill to bluff takes around 30 minutes. From Queenstown to Bluff by car takes around 3 hrs 5 mins and from Dunedin approximately 3 hrs 30 minutes. For more information refer to our Driving Times webpage.
No, we only carry passengers and light freight on the ferry services between Bluff and Stewart Island. Rental cars and motor scooters are available for hire from our Oban Visitor Centre.
Yes, day and overnight Stewart Island Ferry page.is located adjacent to the Bluff Visitor Terminal (extra cost) for visitors taking the ferry to Stewart Island. Parking is available for cars, campervans, bicycles, motorcycles, boat trailers and coaches. This is an airport-style parking facility, so you collect a ticket on entry and pay when you leave. Vehicle parking cannot be booked in advance. Prices for parking and additional baggage can be found on the "More Info" tab of our
Yes, we offer coach transfers between Queenstown, Te Anau, Invercargill and Bluff (extra cost). The Invercargill – Bluff coach service operates for each ferry departure and arrival. Pick-ups and drop-offs are available from several Invercargill accommodation properties and the Invercargill i-Site Visitor Centre.
We operate a coach transfer service from Invercargill to Bluff, connecting with each ferry sailing. If you need to be collected or dropped off at Invercargill Airport, please let us know at the time of your booking.
Stewart Island Experience's vessels are specially designed to operate on Foveaux Strait. We are committed to providing visitors with a safe and comfortable crossing. If, on rare occasions, a scheduled departure is cancelled due to adverse weather conditions, visitors will be rebooked onto a later trip or refunded in full. Please ensure your contact details are provided at the time of booking so that we can contact you to advise of any delays or cancellations.
There is an ATM/money machine in Bluff's "4 Square" shop however it is only possible to withdraw cash with a NZ bank card. You can purchase your ferry tickets at the Bluff Visitor Terminal using both EFTPOS and Credit Cards. The nearest bank is located at Invercargill.
Yes, most places on Stewart Island have EFTPOS and credit card facilities. There is an ATM/money machine at the "4 Square" shop on Stewart Island however it is only possible to withdraw cash with a NZ bank card. There are no banks on the island itself and the nearest bank is located at Invercargill.
Yes, there is a general grocery store, cafés and restaurants and a Kai cart (take-aways summer only).
There are a huge range of activities available on Stewart Island, from kayaking, fishing trips, golf, walking tracks and more. To find out more information and to make bookings, we operate the Oban Visitor Centre. The Department of Conservation (DoC) also operates a Visitor Information Centre and can provide more information on walking tracks and activities.
Yes, there are many activities you can fit into one day on Stewart Island. Ask our reservations team for suggested itineraries.
Stewart Island is not the place for a shopping spree as there is a very small range of shops - from small gift shops with locally produced items to the general store for groceries and fresh food.
Here's a few handy hints to help motion sickness: Ginger is known to contain properties to alleviate nausea. It is available in a number of different forms - from tablets, powder and capsules, which are sold at pharmacies and supermarkets. These need to be taken before your trip, sometimes a few hours before travelling. Other recommendations to reduce motion sickness include not travelling on an empty stomach, as gastric juices can promote nausea. Whilst on the ferry, if possible, sit outside on the back deck to breathe fresh air. Look out to the horizon, rather than looking at the boat's movement in the water.
Yes. Please notify us beforehand to ensure we can assist you.
For visitors travelling on the Stewart Island Ferry Service, you are required to check in 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time (to allow for luggage loading, etc). The check in and boarding gates are closed 10 minutes prior to scheduled ferry departure. For all our cruises and tours, check in is required 20 minutes prior to the schedule departure.
All prices and transactions on the Stewart Island Lodge website are in New Zealand dollars (NZD). This is specified on the Terms & Conditions page.
Our staff are trained to deal with incidents and in case of an emergency you should listen to their instructions.
We have a portable defibrillator on each of our overnight cruise vessels (Milford Mariner, Milford Wanderer and Fiordland Navigator).
In addition to this we also have portable defibrillators at the following locations:
• Milford Sound Visitor Terminal
• Real Journeys Visitor Centre, Manapouri
• Cavern House (Te Anau Glowworm Caves)
• Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant, Walter Peak
• TSS Earnslaw Vintage Steamship
• Stewart Island Ferry (Bluff - Oban - Bluff).