Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara

Boulder Beach, Ulva Island – Buy 

Ulva Island is one of only a few open, pest-free sanctuaries in New Zealand. Located in Patterson Inlet on Stewart Island, it has been pest-free since 1997 which has enabled native bird species to flourish.

The first visitors to Ulva Island were members of the Ngāi Tahu tribe who often visited the area as part of their food gathering trips. They also used to strip bark from Totara Trees for use in storing harvested muttonbirds. In fact, some sites where tōtara trees are stripped are dated to be nearly 200 years old.

West End Beach On Ulva Island

West  End Beach – Buy 

If you ever find your way to Stewart Island and staying the night in Oban, then the following day you should put some time aside to do the following. 

In the morning, from Oban, walk through the village and over the hill to Golden Bay. From there, take a water taxi across Paterson Inlet to Ulva Island, a predator free, wildlife sanctuary. Once you’re at Ulva Island, take the walking track to the West End Beach where you’ll find lots of Weka along with many other bird species and not much else. If you’re lucky, everyone who is walking the island will be off exploring other tracks so I’ll have the whole place to yourself. 

When I was there, I was reminded of the Gaelic phrase quietness without loneliness. I knew I wanted to photograph the scene in front of me, I just couldn’t see the finished product. So, I decided to sit and watch until I could see the image I was looking for. 1 minute turned into 2, 2 minutes turned into 10 minutes, 10 minutes turned into 15 minutes when suddenly an idea started forming in my head. Today’s image is the finished result.