Had a fantastic time. What a privilege to be seeing all these species of birds and even some marine animals along the way. Karen the guide was exceptional. This tour is a must-do when visiting Stewart Island.
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Stewart Island Ferry Terminal, Stewart Island
Non-slip shoes/boots, waterproof jacket, warm sweater/fleece jacket, sunscreen/ sunglasses, insect repellent, camera and personal medication (including for asthma and allergies).
Price: $30pp- Must be pre-ordered prior to 12pm the day before travel.
Includes: Filled roll, fresh fruit, brownie/muffin, dried fruits (raisins, berries, etc.), complimentary tea and coffee.
Please note: If you require a vegetarian, diary free, gluten free or vegan lunch, please add this into the comments box during the booking process. Menus are indicative only.
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.
Highlight of our trip21 September 2023
A big thanks to Britt for saving our holiday! We came down to Stewart Island for a week and unfortunately hit the worst weather possible. Britt went completely above and beyond to make sure we had the best experience possible and were able to make the most of our time on Ulva. It was the highlight of our trip and our bucket list moment!!Katie, via Trip Advisor
A really good experience11 October 2023
This was a really good experience. We were fortunate that the weather was good for our visit, and that we saw quite a few birds, but above all we were lucky to have such a brilliant and engaging guide in Natasha. She really knows her flora and fauna and was able to point out and explain all kinds of things we would never have noticed by ourselves.Michael, UK via Trip Advisor
A must do!!28 October 2022
Karen was our guide and was extremely knowledgeable. We saw so many beautiful species of birds. Karen was quick to describe them by their singing before even spotting them. The trail is beautifully done and the whole tour was just magnificent.Danette31 Dallas, Texas, Via TripAdvisor
Awesome Experience28 October 2022
Absolutely wonderful experience. Guide Bevan was fantastic. Picnic lunch gluten free option was excellent. 10 out of 10. One of New Zealand's best experiences. Thankyou!AnnieHutchison Auckland, New Zealand, Via TripAdvisor
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.
For visitors travelling on the Stewart Island Ferry Service, you are required to check in 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time (to allow for luggage loading, etc). The check in and boarding gates are closed 10 minutes prior to scheduled ferry departure. For all our cruises and tours, check in is required 20 minutes prior to the schedule departure.
The bird life on Ulva Island and Stewart Island is of exceptional interest, not only because of the presence of high profile species such as weka, wood pigeon, Stewart Island Robin and kaka, but also because Stewart Island and its small outliers provide a refuge for a range of less well-known birds, among them the NZ dotterel, South Island saddleback, Rifleman, Oystercatcher and the red and yellow-crowned parakeet.
There are a huge range of activities available on Stewart Island, from kayaking, fishing trips, golf, walking tracks and more. To find out more information and to make bookings, we operate the Oban Visitor Centre. The Department of Conservation (DoC) also operates a Visitor Information Centre and can provide more information on walking tracks and activities.
Yes, there are many activities you can fit into one day on Stewart Island. Ask our reservations team for suggested itineraries.
All prices and transactions on the RealNZ website are in New Zealand dollars (NZD). This is specified on the Terms & Conditions page.
Our staff are trained to deal with incidents and in case of an emergency you should listen to their instructions.
We have a portable defibrillator on each of our overnight cruise vessels (Milford Mariner, Milford Wanderer and Fiordland Navigator).
In addition to this we also have portable defibrillators at the following locations:
• Milford Sound Visitor Terminal
• RealNZ Visitor Centre, Manapouri
• Cavern House (Te Anau Glowworm Caves)
• Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant, Walter Peak
• TSS Earnslaw Vintage Steamship
• Stewart Island Ferry (Bluff - Oban - Bluff)