Why Ulva Island
- Native plants
- Pest free
Haere mae ki Te Wharawhara!
Welcome to Ulva Island!
I would like to share some great insights as to why it is worth traveling south of Bluff as far as Stewart Island in order to visit this prehistoric forest! I will give you 3 reasons why.
1- This island is pest and predator-free.
What this means is that there has been significant amounts of conservation work done in order to make this island free of these pests which can disrupt our native environment. Between 1993 and 1997 all the rats on this island were eradicated through various trapping methods which has resulted in this safe refugee to release rare and endangered native birds. Although all this trapping work has been done, these pests can swim. The Norwegian rat is know to be capable of swimming up to 2km. With this island with a 2km radius of other land, the traps remain set in order to capture rats that may arrive unexpectedly. There is even a rat sniffing dog named Gadget who is trained to sniff out these pests in an emergency situation.
2- This island has never been logged.
What this means is that the trees here are ginormous!! The tall standing Rimu towers over the rest of the other plant life in this native forest. These Rimu are hundreds and hundreds of years old. They say that if you can put your arms around the Rimu and touch your finger tips, the tree is roughly 200 years old. One can also get an understanding of what New Zealand used to look like millions of years ago by walking through this forest. While you do this you can also imagine the Moa, our large flightless bird browsing the vegetation as it once did many years ago! What is also interesting is seeing so much regrowth of native plants since rats have been exterminated around 20 years ago. Rats harms the seedling of trees which then prevent them from growing. The dense bush sets a great example of what man is capable of doing to help protect and preserve our native bush.
3- There are so many rare native birds living and breeding on this island.
Thankfully many people in years gone by have recognised the damages man has done to the bird life in New Zealand (because of their mistakes introducing many outside pests and predators) and have rescued these birds on the brink of extinction and placed them in a safe environment to breed and grow again. Since the pests were eradicated the bird life on this island has grown in numbers with calls of these birds echoing through the forest and fluttering of feathers heard from the tree canopy above. Some of the beautiful native birds one can see are : Korimako/Bellbird, Tui, Weka, Toutouwai/Stewart Island Robin, Mohua, Yellowhead, Kiwi (however mostly nocturnal), Kakariki/New Zealand Parakeet, Kereru/New Zealand native pigeon, Titipounamu/Riflemen, Pipipi/Brown creeper, Saddleback and even a shining cuckoo. So basically this place is a must do for any bird lover, but also anyone who just loves wildlife and the outdoors!
For those who would love to visit, I would recommend booking a guided walk, here is a link to book with Real Journeys : www.realjourneys.co.nz/en/experiences/cruises/ulva-island-explorer/
I hope you have as much fun visiting as I always do.