Hunting, Fishing & Diving


A warm current from the Australian Great Barrier Reef flows around Stewart Island bringing a greater diversity of marine creatures than would normally be found in waters of this latitude.

Whether you free dive or SCUBA, you will encounter many species. Fish, crustaceans, mollusca and spectacular underwater forests of tall bladder kelp.

The Marine Reserve in Paterson Inlet, which was established in 2004 and covers 1075 hectares, is the ultimate diver's paradise. On show here are up to 170 species of seaweed and over 50 species of fish. Please be aware of the reserve outer limits and do not remove anything from within the boundaries. 


Commercial fishing, mainly for Blue Cod started as early as 1865 with the catch being salted or smoked to preserve for selling. Today cod, crayfish and paua fisheries operate under a quota management system with catches strictly controlled. Salmon, green lipped mussels and oysters are farmed in Paterson Inlet.

Several charter operators targeting mainly Blue Cod offer either half or full day charters and supply all rods, reels, hand lines and equipment. Skippers are mainly ex-commercial operators so they know where to find the fish. The catch is shared between those fishing.

Fishing is allowed off wharves and jetties and catching spotties gives children endless hours of fun.

Private Boaties please make sure you carry a copy of the Recreational Fishing Rules and be aware of the Marine Reserve and Mataitai areas in Paterson Inlet. No excuses will be entertained and forfeiture of equipment and boat will follow if the law is broken.


Stewart Island offers hunters the only readily accessible herd of Virginian White-tail deer in the Southern Hemisphere and is therefore a popular destination for deer hunters.

Rakiura National Park Visitor Centre administers 35 hunting blocks and an open zone on Stewart Island. A further 13 blocks on the island are administered by Rakiura Maori Land Trust. Many of the blocks have specific hunter camps and huts, while others share backcountry huts and facilities with trampers.

Permits are required for all hunting and these need to be applied for in advance. For further information contact Rakiura National Park Visitor Centre or Rakiura Maori Land Trust.