One of the coolest things about exploring Stewart Island is that there are heaps of interesting walks that are accessible from the main village. You can start walking in pretty much any direction and you’ll soon see something pretty. One of those walks takes you along along a winding coastal road and then along the Ackers Point Track to Ackers Point Lighthouse. Awesome views and bird sightings aplenty!
Walking from Town to the Start of the Track
It took us about 40 minutes to walk from Oban to the start of the Ackers Point Track (with lots of stops for photos). You’ll walk along the side of the road and pass by a few picturesque bays and beaches, including Lonnekers Beach. You can also do a detour up to Midnight Cove and Ringaringa Beach.
It’s an easy walk but do take care on the roads as there sometimes isn’t much footpath. Stewart Island traffic is sparse though.
Ackers Point Track
The Ackers Point Track takes you along a short peninsula to Ackers Point Lighthouse. The Lighthouse itself isn’t that interesting, but the walk there is well worth it (and it’s easy). The first point of interest is Harrold Bay, which is home to Ackers Cottage, dating all the way back to the 1830’s.
Harrold Bay is a stunning spot, and you’ll get a glimpse of it from above as you continue along the track. If you’re not keen for the whole walk I’d still recommend walking as far as Harold’s Bay.
From there it’s along the clifftop track, with occasional views of the sea below. We encountered a few fantails on this part of the track and they were pretty entertaining. One followed us for ages, stopping when we did and leading the way when we were a bit slow.
We saw a few other birds on the Ackers Point Track, including some tui at the start. Birds are everywhere on Stewart Island and part of the appeal of a hike is sharing the track with them.
Ackers Point Lighthouse
Ackers Point Lighthouse marks the end of the track. There’s some information there and somewhere to sit (if I remember correctly), and the views out to sea are nice. It’s not the most interesting lighthouse in New Zealand though, so don’t be expecting some architectural marvel (it can’t be good if I didn’t even include a photo of it!).
It took us just under three hours to walk from Oban to Ackers Point Lighthouse and back. This involved lots of photo stops and a quick detour up to Midnight Cove, so you could do it quicker. You could also catch a taxi to the start of the track or rent an e-bike to get you there. The walk from Oban to the start of the track is just as good as the actual track though, so I reckon you’d want to walk at least one way.
Are you planning a trip to New Zealand? Check out our South Island travel guide!