Stewart Island Lodge & Stewart Island Experience is closely involved with community conservation activities on Stewart Island, and actively supports Department of Conservation (DOC) efforts.

In 2007, the owners of Stewart Island Lodge, Real Journeys won the Department of Conservation NZ industry award of "Conservation in Action".

Conservation initiatives are an integral part of our overall strategic plan and day-to-day operations. Funding for these activities is taken into account when establishing budgets. Industry recognition of these efforts includes the Qualmark Enviro-Silver status.

Below are the specific conservation activities relating to Stewart Island:

Best environmental practice

  • Stewart Island Lodge & Stewart Island Experience is constantly seeking new ways to minimise our environmental impact. In this regard, many of our new initiatives are initially proposed by staff. 
  • Any rubbish resulting from our island-based operations is recycled and returned to the mainland.


  • Harlequin Gecko: Real Journeys has contributed $40,000 over the past 5 years to assist DOC in studying the rare Stewart Island Harlequin Gecko.  During 2010 and 2011 a further $4000 will be donated.  The Harlequin Gecko only became known to science in 1981 and is one of the world’s most endangered lizards.
  • Real Journeys provides sponsorship for the Department of Conservation’s Southland Conservancy Conservation Awards and for Environment Southland’s Conservation Awards.

Logistical support

  • Free transport of materials and workers is provided for SIRCET (Stewart Island / Rakiura Community & Environment Trust), and staff participate in work days.
  • Heavily discounted ferry fares are made available to scientific and conservation groups (for example, Otago University Botany Department, Department of Conservation’s Conservation Corps).