Ulva Island worth a visit?

Old Apr 18th, 2002, 10:14 AM
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Ulva Island worth a visit?

We will be on the south island of New Zealand in late November for about a week and are wondering whether Ulva Island is worth a daytrip. We love to see wildlife and one of our guidebooks makes it sound like a wonderful place to see a variety of bird life. Has anyone been there and is it true that the birds are not afraid of people and will fly right up to you? We don't otherwise have any plans to go to Stewart Island but if Ulva makes it worth it then we will plan a visit.
Old Apr 18th, 2002, 12:33 PM
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Hi Lisa,
Although I have not been to Ulva Island I have been numerous times to Stewart Island. I love the place for its pristine rain forest, its walks and its solitude.
My sister has been to Ulva and she really enjoyed it. She is a bird watcher and that was her reason for visiting the island. Bear in mind though you can only visit the island on a day trip, as there is no camping allowed. You can get a water-taxi from Half moon Bay and I believe there are boats that will ferry you across from Paterson Inlet.
I see you are only spending 1 week in the South Island. If you don't want to travel to Stewart Island there is another area in the South Island that is rich with wildlife; it is the Catlins, just south of Dunedin.
I live in Christchurch and if I can be of any further assistance feel free to email me.
Old Apr 18th, 2002, 01:45 PM
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We took a water taxi across Patterson Inlet from Golden Bay, on Stewart Island, to Flagstaff Point, on Ulva Island. There is a good network of trails that allow you to cross the island and reach various beaches on the other side. Depending on the season, the trails can be very muddy. It is true that there some birds are not afraid of visitors. As a matter of fact, we felt the need to shoo away many Wekas who were trying to get a piece of our lunch. I enjoyed walking around on Ulva Island, but it is a long trip from Bluff, and I am not sure that it is worth it if you weren't going to go to Stewart Island anyway. If you are a birder, Stewart Island is probably your best chance to see Kiwis in the wild. You would have to overnight on Stewart for that, as they are nocturnal.

If you only have a week and want to see other things as well on the South Island, perhaps it might be more worthwhile to invest your wildlife-viewing time elsewhere, such as the Otago Peninsula, where you can see Hoiho (yellow-eyed penguins) and Royal Albatrosses. Another choice would be Oamaru, where you can also see nesting Hoiho, as well as Korora (blue, or fairy penguings). Also, depending on season, you can take a boat out of Waikawa to see rare Dusky Dolphins.

Old Apr 18th, 2002, 06:29 PM
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Hi Lisa,
Alf is right on the money.
I spoke to my wife after replying to your query and found out that she had been to Ulva Island, unbeknown to myself. I was wrong about the tameness of some of the birds, compared with the mainland they are quite tame.
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