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"Sails" Guided Ulva Island Exploration


The Ulva Island Experience
  ...  a glimpse into New Zealand's Ancient Past
    ...   how the world once was


Red Crowned Parakeet


Ulva Island is a magical place, best savoured in peace and at a relaxed pace.....

Not for us the rush and bustle, nor as part of a crowd....

usually never more than 6 per guide.

And we’ve been here for a while......

40 + years as Forest Ranger, commercial fishers

and now as Dept of Conservation concessioned guides..

We’ll explain the history, flora and fauna, and what
Island life is like....

and how it all melds into the magic that is Rakiura.



Ladies Slipper Orchids




Saddleback feeding chick




Ulva Island is an absolute "Must Do" for visitors to Stewart Island. The Island is part of Rakiura National Park and now free of introduced animals and is fast becoming a glimpse into New Zealand's ancient past. Several species of threatened birds have been reintroduced to this open sanctuary and are doing very well. In addition the forest is flourishing without the influence of rats and deer. The orchids are particularly impressive during their flowering seasons.

Party size is small ( generally 6 or less) as we firmly believe larger parties seriously degrades the experience, Your guides will be either Peter or Iris, sometimes we will both guide.

Peters duties as Forest Ranger many years ago included overseeing and managing Ulva Island. He was involved with some projects that are now an integral part of Ulva Island management. Our guided walks and commentary explains these and also subsequent projects that have resulted in the Ulva Island we now enjoy.

Iris's long involvement was recognised when she was appointed a foundation Trustee of Ulva Island.


Stewart Island Robin











Using our own boat for access allows us to time our visits to take advantage of weather windows if conditions are boisterous. It also gives us the flexibility to avoid times when the Island may be busy with other visitors
Talisker at Ulva Wharf





Our standard tour is around 4 hrs and includes all transfers, DoC Fees & etc.
Tours can start early morning or late afternoon when the birds are at their best And if you'd like longer on the Island we can arrange for you to stay on and be picked up later.

You will need walking shoes or sneakers, warmish clothes.... layers are best as much of the walk is under heavy forest canopy... and a coat is a good idea. This can be left on the boat if wished.

And please make sure your camera batteries are charged. We discover a flat battery in the party at least once a week.


And it isn't strenuous









While our "Sails" Guided Ulva Island Experience is packaged with "Sails Ashore" and "Kowhai Lane" accommodation we also welcome casual bookings, and the tariff includes transfers at start and end of tour.



*  Please note ... minimum party size is 2 guests, however this requirement is waived if you are staying at either Sails Ashore or Kowhai Lane. If you are a single please check with us as we probably have a party you can join.

              Please enquire for package specials                    



Generally we have a two person minimum numbers policy, but if you are staying at either Sails Ashore or Kowhai Lane as a single we waive this requirement.

We are happy to offer exclusive and customised tours,


There are lots of opportunities for photographs of both birds and the forest.

We are happy to assist disabled guests including those restricted to wheel-chairs. enjoy the magic of Ulva,  If necessary we will take an extra guide to assist.



 Indigena (February 2009) Recently I was asked to write an article on Ulva Island for Indigena Magazine, the quarterly journal of the Indigenous Forest Section of NZ Farm Forestry Association. This was something of a surprise and also a request I was honoured to meet.


Take advantage of digital to disc copy service.
Standard cost $10 per disc.

"Sails" clients en

If paid in full on booking our tariff is $135 per person,
otherwise $150 per person.

Children under 14 half price

This includes transfers to and from your accommodation or the village.

take our road tour as well and we'll take $15 off the normal tariff for that.

joy a 50% Discount