Mason Bay 7
Mason Bay is a sweeping, 16km crescent of sandy beach on Stewart Island's west coast. Two sheep runs began here in the 1870s, one continuing through until 1985 but the access difficulties and remoteness saw these ventures close down. Today this area is within the Rakiura National Park.
Rugged and bush-clad, Stewart Island is New Zealand’s third largest island, of which over 80 per cent is set aside as the Rakiura National Park. Back in 1770, Captain James Cook's crew were the first Europeans to sight the island but they mapped it as a cape connected to the South Island. Separated from the South Island by Foveaux Strait, the only town is Oban, on Halfmoon Bay. Fishing has been, historically, the most important element of the economy of Stewart Island/Rakiura, and while it remains important, tourism has become the main source of income for islanders.