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Suitable for Ages: Families

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  • Admission: Free

Ulva Island, situated in Paterson Inlet just off the coast of Stewart Island/Rakiura, is a birdwatchers' paradise and one of the few open island sanctuaries in New Zealand.

Ulva Island is an important natural resource. The Island is covered by native bush and is home to many types of native bird, including several endangered species that have been reintroduced to the island, the South Island saddleback, yellowhead and Stewart Island robin. There are a number of walking tracks on the island.

In 1996, the island was declared rat-free, following an eradication program.

The Te Wharawhara marine reserve surrounding Ulva Island was established in 2004. The reserve protects marine life within its boundaries, providing a safe haven for a wealth of underwater life, protecting Stewart Island's largely pristine environment. Nothing found within the reserve can be removed.

- images courtesy James Shook ( and

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Map showing Ulva Island Open Sanctuary