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Page updated: 6 March 2014

Contact Us: mail@ruggedyrange.com

Page Contents

General

Conservation

History

Flora & Fauna

Travel to Ulva Island

Facilities

Ulva Island Guided Walk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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View across Paterson Inlet, Iona Island and Ulva Island
View looking south from Observation Rock across Paterson Inlet. Iona Island in the middle of picture and thin strip of Ulva Island showing behind it with Stewart Island along the background.

General

Ulva 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.

The majority 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.

Conservation

The Island, 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 biodiversity.

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.


History

There 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.

The island 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

Ulva 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.

Four 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.

Ulva Island is a must see for anyone visiting the area, whether general interest or birders.


Travel to Ulva Island

Ulva 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.


Facilities

There 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.

Ruggedy Range™ Wilderness Experience
"Birds & Forest Booking Office"
Stewart Island - Travel & Activities

14 Main Road
P O Box 188, Stewart Island, NZ

Ph: 64 3 219 1066
Fax: 64 3 219 1078
Mob: 64 274 784 433
www.ruggedyrange.com

For all Enquiries, Bookings, please phone or contact: mail@ruggedyrange.com

Office now centrally located opposite Department of Conservation Office and approx. 2 minutes walk from flight/ferry See Map.

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STEWART ISLAND - ULVA ISLAND NATURE SANCTUARY - RAKIURA NATIONAL PARK, NZ
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