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before you go to Ulva Island

What you need to know


Ulva Island is an open sanctuary where native bird and plants thrive because there are no rats or weeds.  Rats can swim up to 700 metres and can arrive from the cleanest of boats moored offshore.  They can also stowaway in luggage.  Visitors are asked to check their bags for rodent hitchhikers before stepping on to Ulva Island.

Ulva Island - check for rats cartoon

before you go to Ulva Island

  • check your boat for rats before you go to Ulva Island;

  • check your clothes & footwear for seeds before you go to Ulva Island;

  • check and re-pack your bag before you go to Ulva Island;

  • take everything you need with you, there are no shops at Ulva Island.

at Ulva Island

  • respect the 'private property' signs;

  • stay on the walking tracks;

  • do not feed the birds or other wildlife;

  • take all litter away with you;

  • use the toilet facilities;

  • no BBQs or open fires;

  • no camping or overnight stays;

  • pets are not permitted in the National Park.

GIVE SEA LIONS SPACE!  Stay at least 10 metres away from sea lions - they may be on the beaches or in the bush.

How to get to Ulva Island

  • Visits to Ulva Island can be made during daylight hours independently or with a guide - please depart Ulva Island by 6pm at the latest.

  • We recommend you spend at least 3 hours at Ulva Island.

  • Water taxis depart from Stewart Island's Golden Bay Wharf to Ulva Island and take about 7 minutes.

  • Some water taxis offer a service from Stewart Island's Halfmoon Bay Wharf to Ulva Island and take about 30 minutes.

  • Bookings are strongly advised for guided walks and water taxis.

Stewart Island map
  • sturdy boots or shoes

  • hat & gloves

  • waterproof jacket

  • snacks & water

  • medication if appropriate

  • camera & binoculars

  • suncreen & insect repellent

  • a backpack/rucksack/bag to put everything in!

  • the Ulva Island self-guide booklet!

What to wear and take with you

  • wear warm layers of clothing, it can get cool beneath the tree canopy

Ulva Island self-guide booklet

The Ulva Island self-guide booklet makes the perfect companion if you are visiting Ulva Island independently.  From past to present, it will guide you gently around Ulva Island, showing the birds you may see, the walking tracks, all in an affordable and easy to carry booklet - available from:

  • Post Office Bay Wharf at Ulva Island (please put money in honesty box)

  • Rakiura National Park Visitor Centre, Main Road, Stewart Island

  • Rakiura Charters & Water Taxi booking office, Main Road, Stewart Island

  • Oban Visitor Centre (The Red Shed), Elgin Terrace, Stewart Island

A number of excellent Stewart Island-based guides are available if you would like someone with local knowledge to accompany you on your walk around Ulva Island.

See the 'guided walks' section of the Stewart Island website.

Ulva Island rat trap and pink triangle

Ulva Island is protected by a carefully designed set of bait stations and rat traps like the one shown (left).  Please do not touch the traps.  Pink triangles mark the traps for conservation staff & volunteers.


Specially trained dogs have now joined the team and use their sensitive nose to sniff out any recent sign of rats.

Photos: Matt Jones

Paws4Conservation, Gadget the Stewart Island-based rodent detector dog

Gadget, the Stewart Island-based rodent detector dog above.

The Ulva Island Charitable Trust supports


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