Oban, Stewart Island, New Zealand
Gentle walk amongst pristine island sanctuary
Ulva Island (Te Wharawhara) is an important island sanctuary, providing a habitat for some rare NZ birds and some great bush walks. A water taxi leaves from Golden Bay on Stewart Island ($20 return) for the 5 minute trip to Post Office Bay on the island. Pick up the Ulva Island leaflet ($2) at the wharf and set off round the island - allow 2 hours for a leisurely round trip. All tracks are well sign-posted. The track is gravel so you don't need special shoes: sand-shoes are fine.
As you leave the wharf there is a track leading off to the left to Flagstaff hill where you get a view over the water to Stewart Island. Continue along the track to the golden sandy beach of Sydney Cove, where there is a small shelter and a rope swing. Go along the sand and re-join the track inland for a few hundred metres to a junction. From here you can walk either clockwise or anti-clockwise. The route shown goes clockwise to Boulder Beach, then back inland to West End Beach, and then back to the junction and back to the wharf.
Look out for Weka's, especially on the beaches. There are small flocks of Brown Creeper and the very rare Yellowhead in the canopy.
Note that the track only covers part of Ulva Island - the rest of the island is not accessible.
Ulva Island ferry terminal at Golden Bay
Sydney Cove on Ulva Island
The $20 water taxi service leaves from Golden Bay (15 mins walk from the centre of Oban) at 9 am, 12 noon and 4 pm, returning and 12 noon, 4 pm and 6 pm daily (weather permitting). It isn't necessary to book, but the boat only takes 9 people and it can be popular. You can also hire a water taxi for travel at any time, or join a guided tour of the island.
There is no food or drinking water on the island. Make sure you are fully self-sufficient. There are toilets near the wharf and in Sydney Cove. There is a shelter by the wharf and in Sydney Cove (a few minutes walk from the wharf).
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1 Mar 2010 by ledzep
Download GPS path: kml