Or call +44 (0)1298 74040 and speak to one of our experts.
Located within Stewart Island's Paterson Inlet, Ulva Island is one of the finest examples of an ancient and intact ecosystem in New Zealand and we think the best way to experience this unique and beautiful habitat is with Ulva Goodwillie of Ulva's Guided Walks.
A safe haven for bird and plant life
A programme to eradicate introduced rats and mice from the island has created a safe haven for bird and plant life and a half day guided walk through the forest and along the sandy beaches of the island offers you the chance to experience truly pristine nature.
You will meet your guide at the wharf at Golden Bay, just a 10 minute walk from Halfmoon Bay, and a short water taxi ride will take you over to Ulva Island. You may well get straight into the wildlife as yellow-eyed and blue penguins are often seen in the water as well as dolphins.
As your guide leads you into the forest, you will learn about the history of the island and its flora and fauna.
A special place
As livestock have never roamed the island and it hasn’t been logged, save for a small area by the wharf, the forest is as close to intact as possible from the understory to the canopy. There are mosses, lichens and ground ferns, shrubs, lancewoods and tree ferns, and then the towering podocarp trees.
The lack of predators makes Ulva Island the perfect habitat for birds and the forest is full of them. Kaka (New Zealand’s bush parrot), bellbird and tui are the noisiest along with the kakariki (parakeet) in the canopy. And at lower levels you will see many birds that are difficult or impossible to see elsewhere in New Zealand – weka, South Island saddleback, rifleman, Stewart Island robin and the glorious mohua.
Ulva Island is a special place and as you explore, it is important to remind yourself that there are now few places anywhere in the world where it is so easy to visit and experience a habitat that is virtually untouched by human interference.
After your walk, you will be returned to Golden Bay but a really lovely thing to do is to just stay for the afternoon and take the water taxi back later. You can then just sit quietly in the forest with a picnic and let the birds come to you.
Or you could carry on watching wildlife for the rest of the day on the Birding Bonanza trip…
Stewart Island Birding Bonanza
The Stewart Island Birding Bonanza is a must-do trip for those looking to experience the unique birds and plants which New Zealand is known for.
This full-day trip includes walks through the ancient rainforest, exploring the coast and a twilight cruise, all focused on glimpsing the rare birds found here.
You will begin with a tour on Ulva Island which is accessed by a short water taxi ride across Paterson Inlet. Ulva Island is a pristine ancient environment where, because of the eradication of predators, many birds and plant life flourish.
Once you have arrived, the professional guide will lead your group along the walking tracks through the forest, sharing their knowledge of the forest and the many species of protected birds which can be found here such as the South Island saddleback, kaka and the Stewart Island weka.
Your afternoon takes you cruising around the Stewart Island shores to see the wide array of sea birds such as penguins and albatrosses and other wildlife which inhabits the coastline.
Your day is complete with a twilight cruise to search for the Stewart Island brown kiwi, the largest species of New Zealand’s iconic bird.
A must for birders, Stewart and Ulva Island are special places to explore being one of the few places on the planet having such a habitat for these unique birds to flourish in.