Ulva Island lies just off the coast of Stewart Island, New Zealand's third largest island. Being only 3 and a half kilometres long and one of the few open island sanctuaries in New Zealand it's a birdwatchers' paradise.
There is an abundance of native birds and plants thriving in the primeval forests of Rimu and Totara. As soon as you step off the boat, you'll hear the sound of tui and bellbirds punctuated by the raucous call of the kaka. You can also spot weka, saddleback, Stewart Island Robin, rifleman, yellowhead and New Zealand wood pigeon flourishing in their natural environment. The birds come so close, you don't even need binoculars. Dawn is especially loud with a crescendo of noise coming from all the bird calls!
Combine this with white sand coves and pristine aqua-green water, and you've got a setting you will never forget. There are three main walking tracks to explore on the island. They meander between Post Office Cove, Sydney Cove, Boulder Beach and West End Beach, providing the chance to see some of the rarest plants in the world. You can walk up to Flagstaff Hill, so called because when the postman came (which wasn't very often) he would hoist the flag and the people would come out to meet him.
You can scuba dive in the northern part of the island, but beware of the giant kelp trying to ensnare you.
As there is no public accommodation on the island, it's best to get a sea taxi from nearby Stewart Island's Golden Bay Wharf. It is about 10 minute ferry ride one way.