FATMAP difficulty grade
A loop through the heart of Stewart Island, the Rakiura Track is a nature lover's paradise that promises stunning views, spectacular night skies, and a walk through historical Maori settlement sites.
This three-day / 37km hike can be tackled in either direction and is passable throughout the year.
That said, winter hikers should be prepared for changeable - and at times - challenging conditions on the trail.
Stage One: Oban to North Arm Hut While it is possible to set out from the heart of Oban, the most popular launch point for the track is some 2km away in Fern Gully car park.
From there, follow the Kaipipi Road to the trail head.
An undulating trail along the coastline, there are plenty of places to enjoy a swim (Kidney Fern Arm and Kaipipi Bay are sheltered), before heading to North Arm Hut and Campsite. Stage Two: North Arm Hut to Port William Hut Heading out through podocarp forest, evidence of former logging activity is all around - indeed, the trail follows the tram lines that carried the logs to their various destinations.
If hiking through the wet season there can be significant stretches of deep mud along this section of the trail.
Gaiters are a sensible addition, as are walking poles. Stage Three: Port William Hut to Oban Back to the coast, the track crosses various streams and inlets as the trail heads back towards Oban.
Check tide conditions as some areas, like at Maori Beach, become impassable at high tide.
There's plenty of historical remnants along the trail, along with a number of places to take a refreshing dip.