My last day in New Zealand was spent on Stewart Island, population 408! This island off the southern coast is only accessible by ferry or plane. It took about an hour and a half by ferry to get there from the town of Bluff, and the sea was so rough the day we crossed that people were getting sick left and right from sea sickness. Luckily we had calm seas on the way back or I may not have gotten on another boat again.
The highlight of Stewart Island was going on a night excursion to spot the flightless kiwi bird that is only found in New Zealand. These birds are nocturnal and are sadly moving toward extinction due to new predators in the area (stouts, cats, dogs, mice, possums – all brought into New Zealand by foreigners), loss of habitat due to humans, and being fragmented around the country. Luckily Stewart Island is a predator-free zone for them and one of the only places you are able to spot them in the wild. I didn’t get any good pictures since it was dark outside, but we saw two kiwis and watched them feed on insects and walk around in the bush which was a very cool experience.