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about Ulva Island

Charles and Jessie Traill, the first pakeha residents of Ulva Island, built a Post Office in 1872 to cater for the mail boat arriving in Stewart Island waters.  A flag would be raised to alert workers and families in nearby settlements that mail had arrived and they would row or sail to Ulva Island to collect their post. 

In 1899 Ulva Island was reserved under the Land Act 1892 for the preservation of "native game and flora" and was one of the earliest reserves of this kind in New Zealand.

Just under eight hectares at Post Office Bay is now privately owned and the rest of the island is managed by the Department of Conservation who, in conjunction with the Ulva Island Charitable Trust, strive to keep Ulva Island free of introduced pests and predators. 


In 1999 the Ulva Island Charitable Trust raised funds to replace muddy paths with the gravel walking tracks you see at Ulva Island today.  Since then the Trust has played an important role in funding not just the upkeep of Ulva Island but enhancing the experience for visitors to enjoy a truly primeval paradise.  Read more about our projects.

Ulva Island gives us some idea of how New Zealand used to be.  It's just a 7 minute water-taxi ride away from Stewart Island's Golden Bay Wharf.  Ulva Island is a place where people can freely enjoy the native forest and fauna - it has never been logged, there have never been browsing possums, nor bird-eating stoats and ferrets.  With no deer or rats, nature has been free to function the way it has for centuries.  Find out how to get there.


Ulva Island is the largest of several small islands situated in Paterson Inlet encompassed in the Rakiura National Park, Stewart Island, New Zealand.  A place of natural, primeval beauty where the sounds of ancient birdsong still ring today.

It has a land area of 266 hectares combining dense native bush, sandy shores, rocky outcrops and approximately 4.5 kilometres of walking track for visitors to enjoy.

Te Wharawhara = Ulva Island
Te Whaka a Te Wera = Paterson Inlet
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