Flight check: Invercargill to Stewart Island

By Shandelle Battersby

Shandelle Battersby flies Stewart Island Flights to New Zealand's third island.
Stewart Island Flights' Britten-Norman Islander can transport about eight passengers at a time. Photo / Creative Commons image by Flickr user Ron Knight
Stewart Island Flights' Britten-Norman Islander can transport about eight passengers at a time. Photo / Creative Commons image by Flickr user Ron Knight

The route: Invercargill Airport to Halfmoon Bay, Stewart Island

The plane: A 1960s Britten-Norman Islander, which seated about eight passengers plus the pilot.

My seat: Near the back. The window was leaking, which was a bit of a worry, and no one told us to turn off our phones, but we obviously survived to tell the tale.

Price: Adults $198 return or $115 one way; children (4-14 years) $118 return or $75 one way; aged 3 or less free on knee of fare-paying adult; seniors (60+) $178 return or $105 one way. Senior prices! Awesome!

Fellow passengers: Young German backpackers from Stuttgart. And the most annoying couple in the world who took photos every 10 seconds and kept tapping the pilot on the shoulder to ask him questions. He's flying the plane, people, leave him alone!

On time? We left a bit late but the whole thing only took about half an hour, so no worries, mate.

Entertainment: Getting picked up in the paddock where the plane landed on the island in a minivan by some dad's joker, who warned us on the way to Oban about walking around at night-time because loads of tourists get hit by cars and die. After a stunned silence he told us he was only pulling our legs.

The service: The pilot took the whole thing a bit seriously, chasing us through Invercargill Airport with our boarding passes (shabby laminated cards) and telling us off for inadvertently leaving them on the counter.

Food and drink: Zip.

The toilets: Zero.

Baggage: A strict 15kg each.

The airport experience: Invercargill Airport is basic but fine. Stewart Island has a paddock and a joker in a minivan.

Would I fly this again: I've heard so many terrible things about the bumpy ferry ride to Stewart Island that yes, I would definitely fly this again should I ever return to this lovely but bonkers island at the bottom of New Zealand.

- NZ Herald

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