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“Choose your birding guide carefully”

Ulva's Guided Walks
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Ulva Island is located on Stewart Island,New Zealand. A predator-free and picturesque island, it is an environmental treasure. Rare, endangered, endemic and native birds abound - it is also a botanist's dream in a pristine primeval forest environment. Ulva's Guided Walks is the Ulva Island specialist natural history guiding team that provides visitors with truly memorable experiences in this unique forest sanctuary. We provide personalised and small group experiences - and absolutely guarantee that you will love our southern-most bird sanctuary in the world!
Sydney, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
5,255 reviews
1,943 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,870 helpful votes
“Choose your birding guide carefully”
Reviewed 15 December 2013

Certain Stewart Island tour operators manage to massage the publicity machine better than others.
Ulva gets a good rap from lots of people but for the specialist birder wanting more targeted birds, it pays to ask Ulva for a specific guide.
Ulva owns Ulva's Guided Tours and has a personable approach with tour groups taking them to Ulva Island.
All very confusing with names.
I however, did not want a tour with six other non-birders; that would have driven them and me mad.
Ulva is clever and caters for the tourist as well as the birding specialist. But you need to ask the right questions.
For one off birding where seeing the right bird really matters, ask Ulva to book her specialist birding guide, Matt Jones.
Matt is a true birder, the sheer joy of watching birds, nest, feed, and what else birds do gives him a thrill and he does not rush to the next location.
If the birds are happening he stays, essential for difficult birds like the Rifleman to see and enjoy. We got killer views of this green gem of a bird.
Matt knows the territory of every bird on Ulva Island and in two hours of guiding; every target bird on our list had not just been sighted but enjoyed for lengthy viewings.
Nor was Matt in a rush to go home when we had seen all the birds. He enjoys birding as much as his clients.
Matt makes a difference to your Ulva Island trip, yes you can do it yourself, but a good guide helps. Matt can be booked thorough Ulva's Guided Tours.

Visited December 2013
13 Thank RonWamberal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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71 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
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English first
London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“superb experience”
Reviewed 4 December 2013

I had the good fortune to participating in one of Ulva's guided walks in mid November on a sunny day.The island of Ulva is largely unspoilt and is a short water taxi ride from Golden Bay on Stewart Island. It has an abundance of native birds and plants . Ulva, who has the same name as the island was the most wonderful guide, she is courteous friendly and extremely good natured . Ulva has a huge knowledge about the island and answered all our questions insightfully and with good humour. If you only do one thing on Stewart Island then let it be this I cannot recommend highly enough. One the highlights of my trip to New Zealand .

Visited November 2013
2 Thank mutiny92
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“A birders paradise!”
Reviewed 2 June 2013

An absolutely fabulous tour of Ulva Island led by Ulva, an excellent guide with an obviously intimate knowledge of the island, its birds, plants and history. We saw everything we expected to see plus much more. Ulva allowed us the time to take photos and kept the tour to our pace. We were impressed by the speed the birds such as Rifleman, Saddleback and Weka. Would recommend this tour to anyone visiting New Zealand.

Visited May 2013
3 Thank PaulH255100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Ulva's Guided Walks an absolute must for young and old”
Reviewed 12 May 2013

Just back after a stunning visit to Stewart Island. One of the highlights was our visit to Ulva Island with Ulva our guide extraordinaire. Ulva has a uniqe connection with the Island in more ways than one. Ulva Island is a remarkable place and increadible to visit but with Ulva you will experience the place at another level. Her kind and explorative nature allowed us and other keen photographers in the group to really get up close and personal with some of New Zealand's rarest birds - within minutes of our arrival we were greeted by a Saddleback. We may have missed this remarkable bird had Ulva not taken the time to welcome us to the Island and introduce us to the history and ecology of the place at the start. We were never rushed and Ulva very adeptly entertained the non-photorgaphers with countless hidden gems and additional info which would make for interesting discussion back at the hotel. This was certainly an experience not to be missed for any and all visiting Stewart Island.

Visited May 2013
2 Thank Kim_Alexander
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Ulva Island with Ulva - not to be missed”
Reviewed 11 May 2013

At 9:30 am on 14 April we met Ulva at the water taxi for the start of what was to be our New Zealand birding highlight. No sooner had we walked from the jetty on Ulva Island when it all started to happen. With Ulva's sharp eyes and incredible hearing she was quickly pointing out Saddleback, Robin, Rifleman, Tui and others. We had great looks and this was just the start. Ulva's knowledge of the local plants was incredible. As the day progressed we had very rewarding sightings, ticking off all the endemic passerines (Yellowhead, Brown Creeper, Grey Warbler, Grey Fantail, Tomtit, Silvereye & Bellbird) on Ulva Island plus NZ Pigeon, Kaka and both Red & Yellow-crowned Parakeets. An inquisitive Weka seemed to like Shirley's jeans as it spent some time tugging on them. It was a great day in a great place with great company.

For any birder visiting Stewart Island a guided tour to Ulva Island with Ulva is a must.

Visited April 2013
3 Thank BillandShirley-Melb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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