Ulva Island Bird Sanctuary, Stewart Island, New Zealand
Located in Waka o te Wera (Paterson Inlet), with 11km of coastline, Ulva Island is a scenic gem of unsurpassed beauty; an open bird sanctuary and predator free (since 1997). Ulva Island is easily accessed by a short water taxi ride across Paterson Inlet from Golden Bay. Under the luxuriant green mantle of podocarp forest the Ulva Island walks are rich with exquisite seasonal orchids, mosses, ferns, liverworts and the beautiful filmy ferns.
The ancient rimu tree (dacrydium cupressinum) is seen at all stages of growth: seedlings, saplings, young juveniles, to the majestic giants that tower to the forest roof. Totara, kamahi (weinmannia racemosa), southern rata (metrosideros umbellata) and miro (prumnopitys ferruginea) abound among the uncurling fern fronds that carpet the forest floor. There is a small portion of the native forest of Ulva Island Birding Sanctuary that has been modified by the presence of the first Stewart Island Post Office. It was opened in 1872 - when the mail arrived (which wasn't very often), the Postmaster would go to Flagstaff Hill and raise the flag. It was a huge social occasion and the ladies would wear their long frocks and big hats; black and white photographs can be seen at the Rakiura Museum and decorate the walls of the South Seas Hotel.
Ulva Island is a sanctuary to threatened wildlife; 30 saddleback (tieke) were released in May 2000 with 18 delightful Stewart Island Robins (toutouwai) released in October of the same year. You will also hear the songs of bellbird and tui, their bursts of melody interspersed with raucous call of the kaka and the chattering native parakeet kakariki.
A Stewart Island stay is not complete without a visit to Ulva Island, a place of high natural values and beauty steeped in a spiritual and cultural heritage. It is beyond compare.
Join us for a half day guided walk on Ulva Island.
Ulva's Guided Walks support the Ulva Island Charitable Trust who work together with the Department of Conservation towards the further restoration of Ulva Island, and keep Ulva Island free of introduced pests and predators so that native plants and birds can thrive. Read more about the Ulva Island Charitable Trust.
By choosing Ulva's Guided Walks you help us to support Gadget, the only rodent detector dog in the south of New Zealand. Detector Gadget is part of the Conservation Dogs Programme and helps us to keep Ulva Island free of introduced pests and predators. Find out what Detector Gadget has been up to lately!