Ulva Island Explorer

Discover Stewart Island’s natural wildlife sanctuary and take a sea cruise out to Ulva Island.

You’ll hear about Māori culture, history, and wildlife stories as you cruise to the island, before beginning your guided walk through natural native bush to listen and look out for weka (native woodhen), bush robins, rare saddlebacks and yellowheads amongst other rare species.

  • Take a return sea cruise around Stewart Island’s shores and through some of Paterson Inlet
  • Listen to cultural, historical and wildlife stories from your nature guide aboard the boat
  • Head out on an approximately 45 minute guided walk through native forest and sandy beaches.
  • Learn about rare native birds and their calls from your guide. Listen and look out for spectacular wildlife
  • Picnic lunches available to pre-order before 12pm the day prior
  • Small group size


Get your photo featured: #RealNZ

More Information

General information

Duration 2 hours 15 minutes

Suitable for most ages and fitness levels

Departure location

Stewart Island Ferry Terminal, Stewart Island

What’s included

  • Cruise of Paterson Inlet
  • 45 minute guided walk on Ulva Island Wildlife Sanctuary
  • On board nature guide 

What to bring

Please bring non-slip shoes or boots, a waterproof jacket, a warm sweater or fleece jacket, sunscreen/ sunglasses, insect repellent, a camera, and personal medication (including for asthma and allergies).

Picnic lunches

Price: $30pp- Must be pre-ordered prior to 12pm the day before travel.

Includes: a filled roll, fresh fruit, brownie/muffin, dried fruits (raisins, berries, etc.), and complimentary tea and coffee.

Please note: If you require a vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten-free or vegan lunch, please add this into the comments box during the booking process. Menus are indicative only.

Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara


The island sanctuary is located within Paterson Inlet (Whaka a Te Wera) and offers the opportunity to view rarer native species including weka, kākā, kākāriki, tūī, bellbirds (korimako), pigeons (kereru), fantails (piwakawaka), tomtit (miromiro) and brown creeper (pīpipi).

The saddleback (tieke), yellowhead (mohua), Stewart Island robin (toutouwai) and rifleman (titipounamu) have all been successfully reintroduced to Ulva Island. 

Some lucky visitors to the sanctuary have also seen the Stewart Island brown kiwi (tokoeka) during the day.

Ulva Island is part of the Rakiura National Park and covers an approximate 269 hectares which are mostly managed by the Department of Conservation. 

The island, which has no permanent human population, is supported by the Ulva Island Charitable Trust, a group of Stewart Islanders, who raise funds for research, maintain the tracks and infrastructure, and help with bird releases.

The rainforest on Ulva Island consists of rimu, southern rātā and kamahi, and also diverse varieties of broadleaf and ferns.

Ulva Island has easy walking tracks and is an aspiring place to visit for anyone interested in native birds or plants.


In case you haven't found the information you were looking for, we've put together some of the most common questions our customers ask about our trips. If you need more specific answers, please contact us directly.

+ Expand All - Close All

Ulva Island Explorer, Stewart Island, New Zealand

Sorry. The booking process is not supported when in private browsing or incognito mode.

Try turning off private browsing or incognito mode to continue.