You, Me & Friends “Favourite Places” *** Ulva Island ***

A short flight from Invercargill across the turbulent skies of Foveaux Straight lies New Zealand’s third largest island – Rakiura Stewart Island. The town centre of Oban is dominated by the 1880’s South Sea Hotel, nestled on a corner, across the road from the bay. Being the main watering hole for locals and tourists alike, it seems that all roads on the island lead to the South Sea!

A must do when you visit here is an Ulva Island excursion.

As we left the dock bound for Ulva, our ferryboat sailed past a flock of very inquisitive Black Browed Albatross. These mollymawks are only slightly smaller than their cousins, the Royal Albatross and made an impressive sight as they took to the wind currents behind the boat, and literally levitated a few metres above the rear deck!

We landed on Ulva Island and set off into the untouched inland Bush. Our keen-eyed guide, Lynettte was soon spotting birdlife for us. The first of the day was the rarest bird on the island – The Stewart Island Saddleback. Like many birds on the island, the rain on the day had enticed them down from the high canopies as they sort to feast on the worms and grubs forced to the soils surface by the precipitation.

An extraverted Stewart Island Robin quickly joined us, bouncing around at our feet, then we passed the tiny Rifleman. This wren is our smallest native bird, weighing only 5 gms.

We also saw Kaka, and then amazingly, a morepork, a small speckled brown bundle asleep in the branches.

We were thrilled with the birdlife that we saw on the island. It is possible to simply catch the ferry over and back and wander around the island of your own accord, but we wouldn’t have seen a fraction of the birdlife if it hadn’t been for Lynette. She knew exactly where to look, and what to look for. When you go to Ulva, do yourself a favour- get the guided tour!


Oh my gosh, we all had a fantastic day out. Thank you so much. I really didn’t expect to like all those weird and wonderful snacks during the "Curious Food Train" activity, and didn’t think they would all participate. The staff all keep thanking us for such a great day. Looking forward to next years event!