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How Long Is Ferry Ride From Bluff To Oban


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Corly Dykes



Welcome to the scenic journey from Bluff to Oban! Located in the stunning country of New Zealand, this ferry ride offers a unique experience for locals and tourists alike. Whether you’re looking to explore the picturesque landscapes or simply enjoy a relaxing journey, the ferry ride from Bluff to Oban is not to be missed.


Situated in the Southland region, Bluff is a small coastal town known for its rugged beauty and charming atmosphere. It is famous for being the southernmost town on the South Island of New Zealand, making it the perfect starting point for your ferry adventure.


On the other hand, Oban is located on Stewart Island, a remote and unspoiled destination that is often referred to as the “Jewel of New Zealand”. Oban is the main settlement on the island and offers visitors a glimpse into the untouched natural wonders of the region.


The ferry service from Bluff to Oban provides a convenient and efficient mode of transportation between these two incredible destinations. Not only does it offer a practical way to travel, but it also allows passengers to soak in the awe-inspiring beauty of the New Zealand coastline along the way.


So, pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready for an unforgettable ferry ride filled with breathtaking views, relaxation, and the anticipation of what awaits you at your destination. Let’s dive into the details of this remarkable journey and discover all the wonders that await you on the Bluff to Oban ferry route.


Location of Bluff and Oban

Bluff, located on the southern coast of the South Island of New Zealand, is a small coastal town with immense natural beauty. It is nestled at the southern end of State Highway 1 and overlooks Foveaux Strait, offering spectacular views of the ocean.


Oban, on the other hand, is the main settlement on Stewart Island, which is located about 30 kilometers south of Bluff. Stewart Island is known for its pristine landscapes, dense forests, and diverse wildlife, making it a haven for nature lovers.


The ferry ride from Bluff to Oban is the gateway to exploring the wonders of Stewart Island. The journey takes you across Foveaux Strait, showcasing stunning coastal scenery along the way.


Bluff and Oban are both easily accessible by road and air. If you’re traveling by car from Invercargill, you can reach Bluff in approximately thirty minutes via State Highway 1. Alternatively, if you’re flying into Invercargill, you can take a short domestic flight to Invercargill Airport, and then catch a shuttle or taxi to Bluff.


Once you reach Bluff, you can board the ferry that will take you to Oban. The ferry terminal in Bluff is conveniently located near the town center and is easily accessible. The ferry dock in Oban is also situated in close proximity to the main township, making it convenient to explore the island upon arrival.


Bluff and Oban are not only popular tourist destinations, but they also serve as important access points to other attractions in the region. From Bluff, you can venture further south to explore the Catlins, a picturesque coastal region known for its waterfalls, forests, and wildlife.


All in all, the location of Bluff and Oban, with their natural beauty and convenient accessibility, make them perfect starting points for a memorable ferry ride and the exploration of the stunning landscapes of New Zealand.


Ferry Service from Bluff to Oban

The ferry service from Bluff to Oban offers a reliable and convenient mode of transportation between these two scenic destinations. Operated by Stewart Island Experience, this ferry service ensures a comfortable and enjoyable journey for passengers.


The ferry departs from the Bluff ferry terminal and makes its way across the picturesque Foveaux Strait towards Oban on Stewart Island. The ferry is equipped with modern amenities and facilities, providing a pleasant experience for travelers of all ages.


The ferry service operates multiple trips daily, with varying departure times to suit different schedules. It is recommended to check the schedule in advance and arrive at the terminal at least 30 minutes before departure to ensure a smooth boarding process.


The journey from Bluff to Oban takes approximately one hour, depending on the weather and sea conditions. During the ride, passengers can enjoy stunning panoramic views of the coastline, the crystal-clear waters of Foveaux Strait, and the surrounding islands.


The ferry is spacious and comfortable, with indoor and outdoor seating available. Passengers can choose to relax indoors, enjoying the onboard amenities such as a cafe and restrooms, or step outside to the deck to feel the refreshing sea breeze and take in the breathtaking views.


It’s important to note that the ferry ride is subject to weather conditions. The Foveaux Strait can be known for its rough seas at times, so it’s advisable to check the weather forecast and dress accordingly. If you’re prone to seasickness, it’s recommended to take necessary precautions or consult a healthcare professional prior to the journey.


Upon arrival in Oban, passengers can disembark and begin their exploration of Stewart Island. Whether you’re planning a day trip or a longer stay, the ferry service provides a convenient and flexible travel option that allows you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty and unique experiences that await you on the island.


Overall, the ferry service from Bluff to Oban is a fantastic way to travel between these two captivating destinations. With its reliable schedule, comfortable accommodations, and breathtaking views, this journey sets the stage for an unforgettable experience on Stewart Island.


Duration of Ferry Ride

The ferry ride from Bluff to Oban offers passengers a scenic journey across Foveaux Strait, with a duration of approximately one hour. This one-hour ride provides ample time to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the surrounding landscapes and enjoy the unique experience of traveling by sea.


The exact duration of the ferry ride can vary depending on various factors including weather conditions, sea state, and the specific vessel being used. It’s important to keep in mind that Foveaux Strait can sometimes be known for its choppy waters, so the captain may adjust the speed of the ferry accordingly to ensure a comfortable journey for passengers.


While onboard, passengers have the opportunity to relax and enjoy the amenities available. The spacious and comfortable seating, both indoors and outdoors, allows you to find your preferred spot to sit back and take in the breathtaking views. Whether you choose to stay inside and admire the scenery through large panoramic windows or venture outdoors to feel the fresh sea breeze on the deck, the duration of the ride offers plenty of time to appreciate the stunning surroundings.


During the journey, passengers can marvel at the rugged coastlines, picturesque islands, and, if you’re lucky, even spot some marine wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for seals, dolphins, and, in the right season, the majestic Southern Right whale. The ever-changing vistas make the ferry ride an excellent opportunity for photography enthusiasts to capture unforgettable moments.


As with any sea voyage, it’s important to plan accordingly and consider factors such as seasickness. If you’re prone to motion sickness, it’s advisable to take necessary precautions or consult a healthcare professional for appropriate medication beforehand.


Overall, the approximately one-hour duration of the ferry ride from Bluff to Oban provides a delightful and memorable journey. It allows ample time to soak in the stunning scenery, relax, and enjoy the serenity of the journey while eagerly anticipating the adventures that await you on Stewart Island.


Scenic Views during the Ferry Ride

The ferry ride from Bluff to Oban offers passengers a truly mesmerizing experience as they traverse the Foveaux Strait. Throughout the journey, passengers are treated to breathtaking scenic views that showcase the natural beauty of the New Zealand coastline.


As the ferry departs from Bluff, passengers can enjoy panoramic vistas of the rugged coastline with its cliffs, sandy beaches, and picturesque bays. The stunning landscapes of the Southland region create a magnificent backdrop as the ferry navigates its way towards Oban on Stewart Island.


As you venture further into the Foveaux Strait, keep your eyes peeled for the numerous islands and islets scattered throughout the waters. These include landmarks such as Ruapuke Island, Codfish Island, and the Titi/Muttonbird Islands. These islands are known for their diverse wildlife, including seabird colonies and habitats for penguins and marine mammals.


The Foveaux Strait itself is renowned for its ever-changing character. The waters can range from calm and serene to wild and tumultuous, creating an exciting and dynamic journey for passengers. The sight of the waves crashing against the shoreline or the play of sunlight on the water’s surface adds to the dramatic beauty of the surroundings.


One of the highlights of the ferry ride is the opportunity to witness marine life in their natural habitat. Keep a lookout for New Zealand fur seals lounging on rocky outcrops or playfully swimming alongside the ferry. If you’re lucky, you might even spot pods of dolphins gracefully leaping through the waves, or the majestic Southern Right whale breaching in the distance during the migration season.


As you approach Oban, the landscapes of Stewart Island come into view, welcoming you to its untouched beauty. The emerald green forests, pristine beaches, and rolling hills provide a captivating sight that perfectly encapsulates the essence of this remote island. The tranquility and natural splendor of Stewart Island will leave you in awe as you disembark from the ferry.


The scenic views during the ferry ride from Bluff to Oban are sure to leave a lasting impression. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a photography lover, or simply someone seeking a peaceful journey, the stunning landscapes and wildlife encounters along the way will make this ferry ride an unforgettable experience.


Amenities and Facilities on the Ferry

The ferry ride from Bluff to Oban provides passengers with a comfortable and enjoyable journey, thanks to its array of amenities and facilities onboard. Designed to enhance the overall experience, these offerings ensure that passengers have a pleasant and convenient time during their voyage.


One of the primary amenities available on the ferry is a cafe. Whether you’re in need of a warm cup of coffee, a refreshing beverage, or a light snack, the onboard cafe offers a selection of refreshments to keep you energized throughout the journey. You can indulge in tasty treats while taking in the scenic views from the comfort of your seat.


Additionally, restroom facilities are available onboard the ferry. These clean and well-maintained facilities ensure passenger comfort and convenience throughout the trip. It’s essential to note the location of the restrooms upon boarding to easily access them when necessary.


The ferry is equipped with comfortable seating options, both indoors and outdoors, allowing passengers to choose the setting that suits their preference. Indoor seating provides a cozy environment with large panoramic windows that offer uninterrupted views of the surrounding landscapes. Outdoor deck areas provide the opportunity to breathe in the fresh sea air and feel the gentle breeze as you relish the natural beauty around you.


For those inclined to capture memories of the journey, the ferry provides ample photo opportunities. Whether you’re an amateur photographer or simply want to document your experience, the panoramic views and exceptional scenery present excellent photo backdrops that you won’t want to miss.


The vessel itself is designed with passenger comfort in mind. It is spacious, allowing for ease of movement and relaxation during the journey. The ferry adheres to stringent safety standards to ensure that passengers have a secure and worry-free voyage.


As with any ocean travel, the captain and crew prioritize the safety and well-being of passengers. They are experienced professionals who are trained to handle various situations that may arise during the ferry ride. Their expertise and commitment to passenger safety provide reassurance and peace of mind throughout the journey.


Overall, the amenities and facilities onboard the ferry from Bluff to Oban contribute to a seamless and enjoyable travel experience. Whether you’re seeking refreshments, a comfortable seat, or facilities to meet your needs, the ferry ensures that your voyage is both relaxing and convenient.


Tips for an Enjoyable Ferry Ride

The ferry ride from Bluff to Oban offers a unique and memorable experience. To make the most of your journey, here are some tips to ensure an enjoyable and comfortable ride:

  1. Arrive Early: Plan to arrive at the ferry terminal in Bluff with ample time before departure. This allows you to check-in, collect your tickets, and familiarize yourself with the boarding process.
  2. Dress Appropriately: Foveaux Strait can experience variable weather conditions, so it’s advisable to dress in layers and carry a light jacket or sweater. This way, you can adapt to changing temperatures and stay comfortable throughout the journey.
  3. Seasickness Precautions: If you’re prone to motion sickness, consider taking preventative measures such as taking motion sickness medication or using wristbands. You can consult with a healthcare professional for guidance on the best option for you.
  4. Secure Valuables: Ensure that your belongings are securely stored during the ferry ride. Use lockers or keep small items and personal belongings with you to prevent any loss or damage.
  5. Stay Hydrated and Well-Rested: It’s important to stay hydrated during the journey, so carry a water bottle with you. Additionally, getting a good night’s rest beforehand will enhance your overall comfort and enjoyment during the ferry ride.
  6. Explore the Vessel: Take the opportunity to explore different areas of the ferry, both indoor and outdoor. Find a comfortable seating spot that suits your preference and allows you to enjoy the panoramic views.
  7. Capture the Moments: Bring your camera or smartphone to capture the stunning views and wildlife encounters during the journey. Whether it’s the rugged coastlines, playful dolphins, or a breathtaking sunset, these moments are worth preserving.
  8. Respect Wildlife and Environment: As you enjoy the scenic views, remember to be mindful of the natural environment and the wildlife around you. Avoid disturbing or feeding any wildlife you may encounter and follow any guidelines provided by the crew.
  9. Connect with Fellow Passengers: Strike up a conversation with your fellow passengers and share experiences. This can be a great way to learn about the destination and make new connections.
  10. Relax and Enjoy: Finally, take the time to relax, unwind, and truly appreciate the beauty of the journey. Allow yourself to be captivated by the stunning landscapes, the calming sounds of the sea, and the sense of adventure that a ferry ride brings.

By following these tips, you can ensure a pleasant and enjoyable ferry ride from Bluff to Oban. From comfortable attire to capturing memories, these suggestions will enhance your overall experience and make your journey truly unforgettable.



The ferry ride from Bluff to Oban offers a captivating journey through the pristine beauty of New Zealand’s southern coast. As you embark on this adventure, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views, diverse wildlife encounters, and a sense of tranquility that can only be found on the open sea.


From the moment you step aboard the ferry, you’ll be greeted with modern amenities and facilities that ensure your comfort throughout the ride. Whether you choose to relax indoors or venture out to the deck, you’ll have the opportunity to marvel at the ever-changing scenery that unfolds before your eyes.


The journey across Foveaux Strait presents a perfect balance of excitement and serenity. The rugged coastlines, picturesque islands, and crystal-clear waters provide a stunning backdrop that will leave you in awe. Keep an eye out for the playful dolphins, sunbathing seals, and, if you’re lucky, majestic Southern Right whales that may grace your journey.


As the ferry approaches Oban on Stewart Island, the untouched beauty of the island comes into view. The emerald green forests, untouched beaches, and rolling hills offer a glimpse into the unspoiled landscapes that await you on the island.


Throughout the ferry ride, it’s important to take advantage of the onboard amenities and facilities. Grab a cup of coffee at the cafe, find a comfortable seat, and capture the incredible moments through your lens or in your memory. Embrace the sense of adventure, relax, and savor the anticipation of what awaits you at your destination.


In conclusion, the ferry ride from Bluff to Oban is not just a means of transportation; it’s an experience in itself. It allows you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the New Zealand coastline and provides a sense of calm and wonder that can only be found on the open sea. So, pack your bags, embark on this remarkable journey, and get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime on the Bluff to Oban ferry route.