Welcome to Stewart Island & Sails Ashore +64 3 219 1151 tait@sailsashore.co.nz

‘Sails’ Stewart Island Travel Planning & FAQ’s

…. or all about getting here as well as some queries answered……

We’ve lived on Stewart Island for well over 40 years and as well as our own comings and goings were actively involved in coordinating our guests travel arrangements when joining and leaving our charter yacht Talisker. This initial experience plus the close relationships we have built up with a whole raft of other operators based both on Stewart Island and on the “Mainland” help us make our guests stay at Sails Ashore and Kowhai Lane hassle free and memorable.

We also listen closely to our guests experiences and are guided by this.

Of course if we can help with what you’d like to do we’ll be happy to assist, but we may also suggest other ways of doing it.

We do not make bookings but suggest that you contact the operator directly. You’ll pay the operator concerned directly. We don’t take commissions.

Travelling to Invercargill by Plane ??

Connections don’t always work that well and you may have an extended wait in Invercargill.
Don’t despair, there is lots to do to fill in a couple of hours……….

Executive Car Service operates from Invercargill Airport and can either shuttle you to and from or can hire you a car short term.

Phone Falun and Gary on 03 214 3434, or 027 221 6259 or email them at exec.car.service@xtra.co.nz .

Find them at http://www.executivecarservice.co.nz/

In addition they can store your car in undercover and secure storage

Getting Here !!

Our own preference is to fly … why ? …. Total travel time from Invercargill is just 30 minutes, as against 90 minutes by ferry, and the flight is very scenic. Also there is minimal delay getting your luggage when you arrive, as there will be only 9 on the aircraft, 

Enquire Stewart Island Flights

+64 3 218 9129

Click to visit Flights web site.

Email them  info@stewartislandflights.co.nz

And our Guests enjoy a 10% discount when flying with Stewart Island Flights.
If you wish to enjoy this please email Flights direct once confirmed with us
Do not use their online booking system as it does not cope with the discount.


And we also have a ferry service  Contact Real Journeys

It departs from Bluff .  Ph +64 3 2126660

Connections don’t always work that well and you may have an extended wait in Invercargill.
Don’t despair, there is lots to do to fill in a couple of hours……….

check your luggage into your next flight and Executive Cars will be happy to drop you off at one of the following attractions, and pick you up in time for your departure !!

click on the photo in each attraction below to go to the website


The Southland Museum

(Museum temporarily closed)

A great way to spend a couple of hours between flights.

Displays include “Henry the Tuatara”, “The Southern Ocean” and many more. And there is a great Cafe as well.


E Hayes & Sons

See Burt Munro’s “Fastest Indian” The genuine article, as well as an amazing collection of motorcycles and vintage small machinery.  Hayes are  Hardware Merchants, and their shop is justifiably famous in Southland at least.


Transport World & Motorcycle Mecca

Bill Richardson’s Transport World and associated Motorcycle Mecca are another “All Day or several days” attraction, and a couple of hours spent enjoying their displays will have you marking your book for a longer return.


Dig This

Dig This is an experience quite unlike any other. All guests to Dig This Invercargill have the opportunity to operate bulldozers, excavators, mini excavators and skid steers in a giant gravel pit. Don’t worry if you haven’t driven heavy machinery before, the experienced team at Dig This Invercargill will show you how. You don’t even need to have a driver’s license!


The following are queries our guests make from time to time,
and our answers hopefully will help planning your time here

FAQ Answer
What will the weather
be like when I visit​
  If we could answer that we would be a very wealthy. Our weather is very changeable. Plan for damp and pray for sun. You will probably get both, and often on the same day.
What clothes should I bring . Layers are best.  A light water proof, good walking shoes or heavy sneakers & maybe a warm hat. Stewart Island is not a fashion statement…. we do casual.
 I have a lot of Luggage, can I bring it on the plane  Best not. Pack what you need for the Island. Stewart Island Flights will be happy to store the rest.
Should I book all the things I want to do  The Ulva Island Guided tour is part of our accommodation package, non optional, non refundable. Kiwi Spotting is a “Must Book”, and we can help . Everything else is probably best booked here, bearing in mind the weather forecasts and whats happening on the day. We are happy to assist when you are here. But do please look at our Concierge page for ideas
 How long should I stay on the Island  Sails Ashore and Kowhai Lane lodges are minimum stay 3 nights. And really the Island is worth that and much more. If you like walking the local short walks alone will take you several days to enjoy them all. In some circumstances we may relax the 3 nights rule, but not less than 2 nights. 
I have limited mobility, can I enjoy the Ulva Tour   As long as we can get you on and off the water-taxi then I’m sure you will love Ulva. Depending on your mobility we may need to look at an exclusive tour for you. Please discuss this with us when booking. In general the walk is very easy and relaxed, and we have taken wheelchair guests and one who had a leg off at the hip.
 I have special dietary requirements  We do need to know about these when you book and will discuss these with you. Remember this is an Island, with a single local grocery shop, and choices are limited. It may mean you have to bring your own specialist requirements.
Do Island business’s take Credit Cards  Most do, but many will add a surcharge to Credit Cards. But generally, not to cash point or EFTPOS transactions. Some cash may be a good idea for small purchases
 Can I bring my car  The short answer is no, but you can hire a vehicle here. Best to book before you come. Both Sails Ashore and Kowhai Lane Lodges are within a few minutes stroll of the water front and the central village.
I am leaving on a late plane or ferry, what do I do with my luggage  After your 1000 check out we will take your luggage to either the plane or ferry terminal where there is suitable storage for you. And we are happy to then drop you off at the start of one of the local walks …. a good way to spend a couple of hours… no charge.
 How will I get to my accommodation on arrival  We meet both the plane and the ferry (please remember which number bin your luggage is in !!). But we MUST know your arrival details and generally will be at the ferry holding a sign with your name, if not please phone us when you have your luggage to hand… the plane has only 9 passengers and so we won’t need a sign. On arrival we take you for a short “orientation” tour of the village. 
 I do not speak English, do you have interpreters  No, I’m sorry, we do not. Our Ulva Tour in particular is quite language intensive, and we strongly recommend that guests have at least one person in the party with reasonable English skills. We may also require non-English speaking parties to have an exclusive tour, so as not to impact on others in the party. This may incur an extra charge.
 Why should I need travel insurance  Although it doesn’t happen often occasionally weather can disrupt travel plans both inward and outward. This can be quite expensive and stressful. Insurance makes good sense, even for New Zealanders. And check it actually covers weather disruptions. 
 Can I decide when I go to Ulva  This may not be possible, as we look carefully at the weather and of course there may be others in the party. We can do exclusive tours which may accommodate special timing requests. This service will add an extra cost.
 I am doing the Rakiura Track, can I store extra luggage  Yes, both Kowhai Lane & Sails Ashore can securely store extra gear. And we have a free drop off at the start of the walk for you

Stewart Island Electricity is generated using diesel fuel

Sails Ashore is Solar Powered

 But we now produce 100 % of our electrical needs, and are completely "Off Grid", Excess electricity is used to heat our domestic hot water and central heating system and this has cut our non renewable heating fuel usage to around 20% of pre solar.. All cooking is electric, no more LPG.  See More .......

Kowhai Lane is also Solar powered,

Kowhai Lane is "Grid Tied" Excess production is used to heat water. Production beyond the house requirements is exported, thus cutting diesel use in the wider grid. At night Kowhai Lane Lodge receives power from the grid.

Like Sails Ashore, all cooking is electric,,,,, No LPG



Sails Ashore, Kowhai Lane & Sails Tours

11 View Street,
Stewart Island, 9846

+64 3 219 1151
Email: tait@sailsashore.co.nz
Web: www.sailsashore.co.nz