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“First Choice”

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
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level Contributor
23 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“First Choice”
Reviewed 5 August 2014

Much the best way to visit Stewart Island. Only 20 minutes flying time and not any more expensive. No worries about high seas.

Visited March 2014
Thank cockeye29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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137 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Dunedin, New Zealand
Level Contributor
342 reviews
127 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
“Not really an attraction but a real working airline”
Reviewed 28 July 2014

Small planes check, windy environment check, friendly staff check, On a good day you can't beat the flight to Stewart Island and back. On a windy day you'll never forget it!

If you get the front seat then you can see how they fly the small thing.

Visited July 2014
Thank Bruce M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Port Stephens
Level Contributor
143 reviews
57 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
“Scary little plane”
Reviewed 9 July 2014

The whole process with SIF was well managed and professional. I have been assured that the pilots are skilled and the planes are very safe...........I hate little planes !!! My husband on the other hand loved every minute of the flight there and back.

Visited June 2014
Thank Australianjen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hastings, New Zealand
Level Contributor
126 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“A great way to see Stewart Island”
Reviewed 26 May 2014

Rantin Rover has put all the details very well so I won't go over those again. I am terrified of small planes but the pilot/owner, Raymond, calmed me down considerably. The rest of the family loved the flight. We paid extra to land at Mason Bay on the way over - perfect weather for it that day. And we spent about half an hour exploring the beach. Raymond gave us an excellent running commentary. 2 days later we flew back direct to Invercargill on another incident free flight. I think that the flight was more scenic, interesting and no risk of seasickness than the ferry.

Visited April 2014
Thank rosieterry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Biggar, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
768 reviews
298 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 810 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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