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Halfmoon Bay and Oban, Stewart Island

Halfmoon Bay and Oban, Stewart Island

Most people who are either from New Zealand or live there know about Stewart Island. They know that it’s full of forests and birds and wild coastlines, and that hardly anyone lives there. I’ve already shown you some of the nature on offer around Stewart Island, so today I thought I’d give you a look at what the main town of Oban is like, as well as Halfmoon Bay which dominates the village.

Halfmoon Bay

Halfmoon Bay is the main beach / bay in Oban and it’s the first place you’ll see when arriving by boat. It’s a nice crescent shaped beach and there are a few places to sit and enjoy the views (maybe with some fish and chips).

Most of the accommodation is close to Halfmoon Bay, and the Seaside Hotel is right there too. It’s not the best beach on the island, but it’s a great “town” beach and is a nice backdrop for walks between the shops and wherever you might be staying.


I’ll be writing a proper guide to Oban at some point, so here I’m just going to put some photos we took while walking around Oban. We walked around town heaps, whether it was walking to the start of a hiking track or just over to the Four Square (small supermarket) for food.

Up the hill from Halfmoon Bay you’ll get some awesome views over Oban. Observation Rock is best viewpoint in these parts, but you can get some nice vistas from some of the roads.

As you can see, it’s a cute little village with some awesome views. These views give you a taste of what you can see on the rest of the island – lots of coastline, great beaches, lots of bush and heaps of native birds.

Not everyone chooses to stay in Oban, as there are holiday rentals scattered around some of the roads (there are only 22 km of roads on Stewart Island). I’d advise to stay in town if you can – there are a few places to eat and it’s got a friendly small-town vibe. I’m not sure if I’d want to be stuck kilometres from town with no transport, but I guess you could rent a car if that was the case.

Are you planning a trip to Stewart Island? Let me know in the comments below!

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Jon Algie

I'm a South Island local -- born in Timaru and raised in Dunedin. I left the island in 2006 and returned 10 years later. Having seen a good chunk of the world I realised how special this place is -- the most beautiful island in the world! Seven years (and almost 400 posts) later I'm still helping locals and tourists alike plan their trips around the South Island.