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Hiking the Horseshoe Point Track, Stewart Island

Hiking the Horseshoe Point Track, Stewart Island

If you’re looking for an easy, short(ish) walk on Stewart Island that requires no boats or taxi transfers, the Horseshoe Point Track could be for you. You’ll walk from Oban, past roadside beaches and viewpoints to the start of the track, which is half the fun.

Oban to the Start of the Track

The walk from Oban to the start of the Horseshoe Point Track took us around 45 minutes, but we went the scenic route and took heaps of photos. That route starts by walking up Church Hill around to Bathing Beach.

It’s one of the best beaches on the island, so definitely check it out at some point on your trip. From there it’s along the Horseshoe Bay Road until you reach the turnoff just past Butterfield Beach (Braggs Bay Road). Head up to Moturua Moana Gardens for an awesome view as well (the lower entrance is on Braggs Bay Road).

You’ll walk past a beach or two and then you’ll see the start of the Horseshoe Point Track. It took us 45 minutes but you could easily do it in less.

Horseshoe Point Track

The Horseshoe Point Track takes you around a big headland to Horseshoe Bay. It’s a loop track, so you can start it at either end, but I reckon it makes sense to do it the way I’m describing. Of course, if you’re already at Horseshoe Bay (maybe you’ve been to Lee Bay to see the start of the Rakiura Track) it’d make sense to do it in the opposite direction.

The track features a few small hills but it’s a pretty easy walk. There are some great views early on, with the best one coming at Deadman’s Bay. It’s one of the few places where you can get down from the track onto the beach below. It was very quiet too – I think we only saw one other group on the track.

Horseshoe Point

We stopped for lunch at Horseshoe Point, which overlooks Horseshoe Bay and the coastline stretching off into the distance. It’s a stunning spot, with the only signs of life being the occasional boat cruising by.

From there it’s an easy walk to the trailhead. You’ll pass by a few picturesque coves and then have the chance to hang out at Horseshoe Bay, a massive crescent of sand and one of the top beaches on Stewart Island. The walk back to Oban from there is easy enough, and since the track was easy you should still have plenty of energy.

The Details

It took us around three and a half hours to do this walk (90 minutes for the track itself), but we took our time, took heaps of photos and did some detours. On the way back to Oban we stopped at Moturau Moana Gardens, and then the cemetery (great view from there). There are heaps of places to explore, but if you were going straight there and straight back you’d do it pretty quickly.

You could also organise a taxi pick-up and drop-off if you wanted to cut down the time. One of my favourite aspects of hiking on Stewart Island is the “road walking” you do to get to the start of the tracks – those areas tend to be just as scenic as the tracks themselves!

Are you planning a trip to Stewart Island? Check out our post about Observation Rock, one of the best viewpoints on the island!

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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.