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“Exhilarating - possibly not for those of a nervous disposition!”

Stewart Island Flights
Ranked #1 of 4 Tours in Invercargill
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: We maintain scheduled flights linking Stewart Island and Invercargill year round. Charter Flights to Mason Bay and Doughboy Bay.
Useful Information: Lockers / storage, Wheelchair access
Biggar, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
771 reviews
299 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 817 helpful votes
“Exhilarating - possibly not for those of a nervous disposition!”
Reviewed 27 April 2014

It’s a bit ironic that the current top attraction on TA for Invercargill is the plane trip out of town (others may argue of course that’s because it marks your arrival!).

We had read about how rough the boat crossing from Bluff to Stewart Island could be and my wife who is not a keen sailor was immediately put off the idea. I had a check on the pros and cons. At $150 adult return by passenger ferry v $198 adult return by plane (October 2013) there wasn’t a prohibitive cost difference. The ferry operated daily at 9.30am or 5.00pm whilst the plane was 8.00am or 5.00pm but also had a 1.00pm option which would tie-in better with our schedule. The ferry takes 1 hour, the plane 20 minutes each way. It was decided in favour of the plane. (The departure and arrival times vary depending on season so you would need to check those applicable).

From the point of contact by email everything was straightforward in our experience. We had confirmation that if necessary Stewart Island Flights would secure excess baggage for us at Invercargill airport - you’re only allowed 15kg luggage per passenger and as we were touring we had an issue. In the end we just left the luggage in the boot/trunk of our hire car in the airport car park for the couple of nights we were away and had no problems but it was good to know it could have been stored. Car parking, which is monitored by CCTV, was $29 for 3 days.

Check-in was 30 minutes in advance of the departure - the baggage handler doubled up as the pilot too!
With a maximum of only 8 passengers it’s never going to be a big job. Invercargill airport is small and dated but there is a café selling snacks and drinks which were not expensive.

It’s a tight fit on board the small aircraft so I’d recommend that you take the absolute minimum in hand luggage - a camera perhaps. The wheels don’t retract so there is a chance they will block your view as may the propellers depending where you’re sitting - best up front.

On both the flight to and from the island it was turbulent at some points in our experience - very turbulent at times! Whilst we were sitting waiting in the mini bus for departure the plane came in overhead to touch down on the Island runway and was blown quite dramatically by cross winds on landing. That said, the journey was short, the views were very good and none of our hardy bunch on either flight resorted to using a sick bag!

At Stewart Island transfer to and from the airstrip is made by mini bus to the Stewart Island Flight depot at Elgin Terrace, Oban. From there we had arranged to be picked up and dropped off by our cottage host. Those flying to Mason Bay touch down on the beach so different arrangements would apply.

Everyone we dealt with on Stewart Island Flights was friendly and helpful.

For frequent flyers it could be exhilarating but for those of a nervous disposition it might be less so - there's always the ferry.

Visited November 2013
2 Thank Rantin rover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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138 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Gloucester, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
42 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“A scary flight”
Reviewed 19 April 2014

The day was stormy and very windy. The flight was short and very bumpy. I was glad when we landed. I was even more glad that it was a controlled landing. I was even more glad that we were coming back on the ferry.

Visited February 2014
Thank sabingates
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 6 Contributor
103 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“My New Zealand Holiday”
Reviewed 14 April 2014

the flight to the island is only a 15 minutes in a small twin engine plane and one the way back it was a single engine plane. In windy conditions it could be a rough. but the pilots do a great job.very satisfied. Lots of bird watching on the Island and good hiking.

Visited April 2014
Thank worldtravler83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mount Maunganui, New Zealand
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Stewart Island Flights”
Reviewed 8 April 2014

Stewart Island Flights provided excellent value for money for their day trip to Stewart Island. The check in staff and pilot were helpful and efficient, the tour guide was very friendly and overall the tour was excellent. I would highly recommend Stewart Island Flights

Visited March 2014
Thank KWDavey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 5 Contributor
63 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
“Great Way to Get to Great Place”
Reviewed 25 March 2014

We used their scheduled service for a trip to Stewart island (to do the Rakiura Track and visit Ulva Island). All very professional and pleasant. Fine views from the airplane of Invercargill / Bluff and the northeast part of Stewart Island. As we had booked hut dates on the Rakiura, we reserved the flight in advance. Seemed a little pricey, but not all that much more than the ferry. If you can be more flexible, they have excellent standby rates.

It's a small airplane (depending on the particular aircraft used, 9 or fewer seats), one of which is next to the pilot. If you are doing the Rakiura, you need to watch your pack's weight (15 kg max, which is very do-able with a little thought), and you will have to buy your stove fuel on the Island (typically stocked at the Island store). The island store also carries freeze-dry food, but was nearly out after we bought 2-days supply of breakfasts and dinners; we could have brought ours from the Mainland and still stayed under the 15kg limit.

Visited March 2014
Thank fbdaz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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