Island, is a picturesque long narrow Island, approximately 600 acres
(269 ha) in size, with beautiful sandy beaches and coves. It is
situated in Paterson Inlet, a large body of water lying in the centre
of Stewart Island with its entrance to the East. See Maps.
of Ulva Island is part of Rakiura National Park, except for approximately
18 acres (7.6 ha) of private land owned by the Hunter Family. There
are no roads on the Island, only walking tracks.
has special significance in terms of conservation. It is one of
the few islands in New Zealand that was made predator-free. Managed
by the Department of Conservation as part of Rakiura National Park,
public access is allowed during the daytime. Overnight camping is
not allowed. Rare and threatened native bird releases and planting
of native flora is aimed at continuing the richness of Ulva Island's
Rat Invasion July 2010
In July 2010 rats were found on Ulva Island and increased trapping in later months showed that rats were breeding. The Department of Conservation carried out aerial poisoning on the 18th August 2011 and 20th September 2011. The poison drop, has had a huge impact on the many rare and endangered birds on Ulva Island and it will take several years for the bird populations to reach levels experienced prior to the rat reinvasion and poison drop. Bird monitoring work was carried out by the University of Otago.
Since then, one rat was
caught in a trap in May 2012, but no other signs of rats have been found.
Some of the birds, especially weka and saddleback are in extremely low numbers with hardly any weka being seen. In April 2012, the Department of Conservation release 14 weka onto Ulva Island from nearby Bench Island to boost the population.
is known to be some interaction by Maori and early European settlers
with Ulva Island. In particular Charles Traill, originally from
the Orkney Islands in Scotland, first occupied the private land
on Ulva Island in the 1860's. He established a grocery store and
later a post office which served the settlers on Stewart Island.
The post office become a popular tourist attraction in later years.
is now essentially uninhabited except for the Hunter Family who
frequently come to enjoy their Island home. Conservation staff and
researchers are on the Island mainly during the breeding season.
Flora & Fauna
Island is largely unmodified, entirely bush clad it is a haven for
native birds and plants. The temperate rainforest cover is an excellent
example of near pristine native forest. The richness in vegetation
continues to delight visitors to the Island.
surviving species of rare or threatened birds have been released
on Ulva Island since 2000, including rare South Island saddleback,
endangered yellowhead and threatened Stewart Island robin. The rifleman,
our smallest bird was released in February 2003. Stewart Island
fernbirds were released in October 2004, but did not survive after
release (fernbirds can be seen on our Kiwi
Journey and Kiwi,
Dunes & Beach overnight hikes). Kiwi are present in low
numbers on Ulva Island and only seen on rare occasions. The Department
of Conservation does not allows commercial kiwi spotting on Ulva
Island - so night tours are not possible.
Island is a must see for anyone visiting the area, whether general
interest or birders.
Travel to Ulva Island
Island is a short 6 - 10 minutes water taxi ride from Golden Bay
Wharf in Stewart Island. Golden Bay Wharf is a 10 to 15 minutes
walk from Oban Township in Halfmoon Bay. See Maps.
is no visitor accommodation or cafes. Buildings seen on arrival
belong to the Hunter Family. There are long drop toilets and a picnic
shelter with cold running water.