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Ulva Island

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Ulva Island
Ulva Island

The most enthusiastic visitors to Stewart Island are generally birders, as the small human footprint and the lack of natural predators make for abundant birdlife. Ulva Island, a quick water-taxi ride from Oban along the Paterson Inlet, is a protected open sanctuary for its wildlife, forest and plants, as well as the marine life offshore. New Zealand’s first scenic reserve, the 270 hectares (667 acres) are managed by the Department of Conservation. Several of New Zealand’s native birds that struggle on the mainland thrive on Ulva and other areas on or near Stewart Island, including kakapos, saddlebacks, tuis, wekas and yellow-eyed penguins. Fur seals and sea lions can sometimes be seen resting on the shore. The flora of the island is practically primeval, with a dense mix of hardwood and podocarp forests, while the eradication of pests like weasels and rats has helped plants and birds thrive. 

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