Ulva Island

Ulva Island

Within a day in and around Oban on Rakiura, you will probably see kākā, kererū, and korimako, but the Ulva Island bird sanctuary is the place for extra-rare native land bird sightings. Bird life includes tīeke (saddleback), mohua (yellowhead), kiwi, native robins and parakeets, tītitipounamu (rifleman), and weka.

Ulva is just a short boat trip from Golden Bay, a walkable kilometre or so south of the Oban ferry terminal. The walk around the mostly forested island is similarly an easy 3 to 4 kms on loop tracks between Flagstaff Point, West End Beach, and Boulder Beach.

Flagstaff Bay also has a little bit of history. From 1872 to 1923, the local postmaster would raise a flag there to alert the communities around Patterson Inlet to the arrival of the mail boat. Extensive gardens were established including exotic tree species, some of which have survived. The island’s tracks were first established in the 1880s and in 1922 it became the first scenic reserve in New Zealand. The original postmaster’s 7 hectare homestead is still in private ownership, with the rest of the island managed by DOC.

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