Visitors on the way to Ulva Island.
Visitors photograph penguins on the way to Ulva Island

Iconic Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara is one of the few pest-free open sanctuaries in New Zealand. Here you can see rare birds and plants at close quarters in a safe environment mostly unchanged by human activity and free of introduced animals.

Take a short boat ride

Accessible by water taxi, Ulva Island is situated inside Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera, Stewart Island/Rakiura and has a land area of 266.6 hectares and a coastline of about 11 kilometres.

Most of the island is part of Rakiura National Park and the remaining 7.6 hectares, between Post Office Bay and Sydney Cove, while privately owned, is mostly accessible to the public, by agreement with the Hunter family. Please respect all signs and keep to paths.

Special precautions required

Arriving at Post Office Bay wharf.
A well-formed track leads from Post Office Bay wharf

Visitors must check bags, gear and boats to ensure no rats are introduced to the island. Weeds can be a problem too so check your footwear, pockets and Velcro tabs for any seeds that may be hitching a ride. If you are taking your own boat, then please take the time to check it over for any temporary stowaways.

The Ulva Island Charitable Trust

The Trust raises and manages funds to assist the Department of Conservation to upgrade tracks and visitor facilities on Ulva Island and help keep it free of introduced pests and predators.
Ulva Island Charitable Trust


Find out more


Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:
1. Plan your trip
2. Tell someone
3. Be aware of the weather
4. Know your limits
5. Take sufficient supplies

Alerts for Stewart Island/Rakiura places


Rakiura National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:      +64 3 219 0009
Address:   15 Main Road
Stewart Island
Email:   stewartisland@doc.govt.nz
Full office details