Oban, Stewart Island, New Zealand
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A bit larger than Hawaii's Oahu, Stewart Island is New Zealand’s third-largest island and sits 30 kilometers (19 miles) south of the country’s South Island. There are fewer than 400 human residents here—mostly in the settlement of Oban, on Halfmoon Bay—but thousands of birds live in the protected nature reserves. They're not the only reason to look up: Rakiura, the Maori name for Stewart Island, translates to “Glowing Skies,” for the rare aurora australis, the Southern Hemisphere’s equivalent of the northern lights.In Oban, history lovers can learn about early settlers by visiting the oldest house on the island, at Acker’s Point. The stone cottage dates from 1835, and a path leads to a lighthouse with beautiful coastal views. Among the species you may see as you explore the area are little blue penguins, sooty shearwaters, mollymawks and wekas. This is also one of the best places in New Zealand to spot the elusive kiwi—there are 15,000 of the birds here, and while they are nocturnal, they sometimes come out to search for food during the day. Even if you sail away without a sighting, you are sure to enjoy the fresh seafood, relaxed island pace and natural beauty of Stewart Island.