Pelagic Bird Tour

View a stunning array of pelagic birds at close proximity, with Stewart Island’s best guides!

You are in experienced hands!

LogoRakiura Charters is a certified member of the New Zealand Birding Network, and all Pelagic tours are skippered by owner and operator Matt Atkins, with 20 years experience in nautical tourism and ocean bird guiding in the Abel Tasman and Rakiura/ Stewart Island.

If you choose our full day tour including Ulva Island, our Ulva Island guides are internationally renowned, and simply the most experienced guides on Stewart Island. Passionate about this open sanctuary’s inhabitants, as well as its unique forest habitat and cultural history, our guides will enhance your birding experience.

The Tour:

We specialise in small groups to ensure a highly personalised tour on board the luxurious Rakiura Suzy. Fitted with a toilet, heated cabin and covered viewing deck, this is cruising in comfort and style. An on-board species list and identification guide, detailed commentary from your knowledgeable skipper, and a vessel adapted for maximum wildlife viewing and photo opportunities, and close proximity to birds, make for a truly memorable birding and photography experience.

Known as one of the best places in New Zealand for pelagic (ocean-going) bird watching, Stewart Island boasts more than 20 species of breeding seabirds, many of which can be seen on most of our trips: view Giant and Cape Petrels, Sooty Shearwaters (Titi), and the striking albatross at close quarters. With the largest wingspan in the world, species of albatross found in Stewart Island waters include the Greater Albatross (the Wanderings and Royals), and the Lesser (Salvin’s, Shy and Buller’s Mollymawks).

Five penguin species call Stewart Island home, three of which are often spotted on our tours — Fiordland Crested (seasonal), Yellow-Eyed and Little Blue. Various other species can be seen including Terns, Skua, Cormorants and more. Bonus sightings on these trips include bottlenose dolphins, fur seals and sea lions. We are a licensed Department of Conservation Marine Mammal Viewing vessel.



Adult $125, Child $85.

Minimum fare of 3 adults applies. If you have a group of only 1 or 2 passengers, please get in touch, we usually have other passengers on standby.

Departure Times:

9:00am and 1pm daily

Duration: 3 hours

We also offer this experience in our Full Day Land & Sea Bird Package Tour: Combine the above 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. There’s even an option to add an evening Kiwi Watch to make this Stewart Island’s most comprehensive birding package.

Making a difference:

SIRCET_BUSINESS_SPONSOR_LOGOulva logo croppedWe proudly support several local birding habitat conservation initiatives, as Business Sponsors of the Stewart Island/ Rakiura Community & Environment Trust (SIRCET), as well as Supporters of the Ulva Island Charitable Trust. These groups are passionate and proactive in conserving and enhancing local habitat for Stewart Island’s native and rare birdlife; please check out their websites and offer support if you can.

Stewart Island Bird List:

The following list of birds to be found on and about Stewart Island has been compiled with thanks for the able assistance of Ron Tindall, and sourced from the Stewart Island official promotion website.

Bird List