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Page updated: 21st March 2015

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Page Contents

Ruggedy Range™ Wilderness Experience

Our Trips

Personalised Itineraries & Groups



Health & Safety Plan

Conservation Project

Operating Season

Licences/Permits, Memberships & Affiliations

Our Name

The Environment

Ruggedy Range™ Wilderness Experience

Recommended by Lonely Planet "…an excellent ecotourism operator…", Ruggedy Range™ Wilderness Experience was set up in 2000 and is locally based in Stewart Island. We offer natural history focussed trips, specialising in:

Ulva Island guided nature walks & bird watching,
Stewart Island & Rakiura National Park guided nature walks and hikes, kiwi spotting & bird watching,

• Guided sea kayaking trips around Ulva Island and Stewart Island,
• Boat cruises to view wildlife and seabirds.

We also offer:
• Road tours and shuttle services,
• Water taxi service,
• Travel agency service for travel, accommodation and bookings of other activities.

We pride ourselves on our quality interpretation, friendly service and ensuring clients have an enjoyable experience, and they do: "Extremely fascinating and stimulating - learnt a lot and really enjoyed it. Beautiful Island - beautifully presented!" Harrison Family.

We have chosen Stewart Island because it is largely wilderness, unspoilt, clean and peaceful - we hope it stays that way. Here there are also opportunities for us to provide a truly "off the beaten track" wilderness experience - something which is rare in much of the world today.

Our Trips

We operate our own Booking Office on Stewart Island, so that trip options can be discussed directly with clients and suitable alternatives offered. Despite adverse feedback we are not reluctant to pay commissions to other operators / information centres. We have found that in our tight community, locally and nationally not all operators are fairly represented and understandably people will often promote their own friends / family / associates and therefore, to ensure our business survival and to provide accurate information, after many years we have chosen to handle our own bookings locally and work only with reputable agents willing to represent us fairly overseas and nationally.

We pride ourselves on our personal, friendly service offering individuals in small groups a variety of options to cater for different interests, abilities and fitness from half day, full day and overnight trips.

Depending on the trip there are opportunities to explore primeval forests, wild beaches and dunes, wetlands, spectacular views from subalpine/alpine tops, paddle across crystal clear waters, view rare/threatened birds and the rather unique and unusual kiwi and more....

We enjoy sharing our local knowledge of Ulva Island and Stewart Island's native fauna, flora, cultural history - Maori & European and conservation issues.

There is time to see and listen, time to learn and time to relax. There are opportunities to meet with and interact with other people from all over the world.

Trips are fully arranged. On overnight trips, clients need only bring their own personal belongings and share in carrying of lightweight food and equipment. Nutritious and tasty meals and snacks are supplied.

We also hire and sell quality outdoor clothing & equipment (see hire outdoor gear and retail outdoor gear) and assist clients with travel (to/from Stewart Island), accommodation (in Stewart Island and Southland) and other water taxi bookings.

Personalised Itineraries & Groups

We are small enough to react to customer needs, let us know what you want and we can put together a personalised itinerary. Personalised itineraries and lunches are also organised for group tours and cruise ships.


Packages are offered, including travel to/from Stewart Island (plane or ferry), accommodation in Invercargill and/or Stewart Island, dinner reservations, if required along with water taxi services to various destinations. Packages are individually tailored - let us know what you want and we will put something together for you.


See Our Guides.

Health & Safety Plan

Our externally audited Health and Safety Plan is regularly reviewed. A VHF radio, First Aid and Survival Kit are carried on all trips and a regular radio schedule is maintained on all overnight trips. Our guides hold current Outdoor First Aid certificates.

Conservation Project

From 1st July 2003 we have been donating some of our revenue to help fund our own conservation project. Our aim is to promote conservation and reseach and to encourage clients to actively participate in conservation projects. At the end of June 2011, we have raised approx. $9,000. You can help by participating in one of our guided trips - either a full day or overnight trip. For more details see: Conservation.

Operating Season

We operate all year round. Our main operating season is from September to May, fewer trips operate over the winter months of June to August. However, subject to prior booking and weather, guided trips are available over the winter months. From 2012, due to low mid-winter demand and to allow for annual maintenance work, we are planning to close for guided tours from mid-June to mid-July, but our booking office will be open for bookings, enquiries (and possibly for hire of outdoor clothing & equipment, scenic road tours and water taxi services).

Licences/Permits, Memberships & Affiliations

Department of Conservation - Concession (No. CoC 260) to conduct guided activities on conservation lands/rivers on Stewart Island, Ulva Island.

Marine Mammal Viewing Permit
Qualmark Endorsed Visitor Activity
Qualmark Endorsed Visitor Transport

Qualmark Endorsed Visitor Service
Qualmark Environment Gold
Southland Sustainable Tourism Group
New Zealand Birding Network.
Marine Transport Association (MTA)
Stewart Island Promotion Association.

Our Name

The name is based on the Ruggedy Mountains situated in the north west of Stewart Island - stunning jagged peaks uplifted from the sea bed and rising from a flat plain - the sea and sunsets make a spectacular backdrop.

The name also reflects the dynamic natural environment on Stewart Island - at times calm and at times wild. On calm days the natural landscape and seascape are magical and on wild days it can be exhilarating.

The Environment

We have a great respect for our environment and want you to come and experience and enjoy this beautiful Island but we ask that you "leave only footprints and take away only memories".

Below are some of the things that we are doing:

Environment Plan - We aim to minimise the impact on the environment and wildlife, by adopting sensible practices and ensuring participants follow guidelines.

Education - We provide our clients with information on the environment to increase appreciation and encourage clients to assist in protecting our natural resources.

Conservation Fund & Conservation Volunteer Projects - We donate some of our revenue to help fund our own conservation project, with the aim of promoting conservation and research. We are hoping to develop conservation volunteer projects to assist visitors in making a direct contribution.

Reducing Energy Consumption and Efficient Use of Energy Consumption
· Positioning our office to maximise light and the suns warmth.
· Insulating our office and using double-glazed windows to cut down heating.
· Switching-off appliances and computers when not in use.
· Using energy efficient light bulbs and appliances.
· Developing trips that use less fuel e.g. majority of our trips are walk/hike with some component of boat use.

Designs to Minimise Use of Energy & Carbon Emissions
· We are aim to purchase assets that will be energy efficient.
· Our new office/retail outlet will be designed to utilise natural light and heat including solar panels and will have all round insulation to reduce energy use.
· Reviewing our vehicle needs to ensure low emissions and fuel efficiency.

Green Products & Suppliers, & Reducing Waste
· We are working towards purchasing green products from environmentally friendly suppliers that use sustainable resources.
· Using paper for office and marketing needs from sustainable/recycled sources.
· Using crockery and cutlery on our trips that can be washed and reused.
· Recycling waste e.g. paper and cardboard.

Ruggedy Range Wilderness Experience Guided Walk on Ulva Island

Furhana showing clients the
Hen & Chickens Fern,
Ulva Island
(Photo - courtesy of Dave Hill)


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Ruggedy Range™ Wilderness Experience
"Birds & Forest Booking Office"
Stewart Island - Travel & Activities

14 Main Road
P O Box 188, Stewart Island, NZ

Ph: 64 3 219 1066
Fax: 64 3 219 1078
Mob: 64 274 784 433

For all Enquiries, Bookings, please phone or contact:

Office now centrally located opposite Department of Conservation Office and approx. 2 minutes walk from flight/ferry See Map.

Guided Walks & Treks - Natural History Tours - Kiwi Spotting - Bird Watching - Botany - Sea Kayaking
Boat Cruises & Charters - Water Taxi (operating Aihe Eco Charters & Water Taxi)
Fully Licensed Shuttle & Shuttle Tours
Outdoor Clothing & Equipment
Travel Agency - Accommodation, Travel & Activity Bookings

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