Of New Zealand's three main islands, Stewart Island/Rakiura is the southernmost and smallest (about 75km long and up to 45km wide). It is also the least modified- the least logged, least farmed, least burnt, and least built upon.
Together with its 170 satellite islands and inlets, it retains a largely intact set of natural habitats ranging from dense coastal rainforest to tundra-like alpine vegetation.
Other landscape features include the unique southern granite domes, Mason Bay's extensive dunelands, the expansive Freshwater wetlands, Mt Anglem's twin lakes, and numerous small forest-lined rivers stained brown by tannin.
Human settlement is confined to a small area on the northeast coast centred on Halfmoon Bay and the township of Oban. There are about 390 residents. Native forest embraces the settlement and its 24km or roads, creating an attractive natural setting.
There are passenger and freight
links with South Island (1 hour by catamaran from Oban to Bluff, 20 min to
Invercargill Airport by light aircraft). Economic activity on the island
is dominated by three sectors – fishing/fish processing, tourism and marine
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