Birding Bonanza & Kiwi Spotting

This ultimate birding and nature experience on Stewart Island combines three experiences to give you an unforgettable encounter with our unique natural environment.

The tour begins with an evening journey to see our native Brown Kiwi in the wild. Our local Stewart Island guides have a wealth of experience in this field and look forward to sharing it with you. The next day enjoy a half-day guided walk on Ulva Island to see all that it has to offer before a half-day voyage on the water to see our abundant, stunning seabirds and beautiful coastlines.

You’ll travel past the scenic Stewart Island shores to deeper ocean and enjoy encounters with at least five species of albatross, as well as penguins, shearwaters, petrels, terns and many more.

A two night stay on Stewart Island is advisable to make the most of this tour. It is possible to do all three activities in one day, however, this makes for a very tiring day and your enjoyment of each activity may be compromised.

Included in your tour

  • All water transport
  • A guided leisurely walk around Ulva Island, encompassing the most important cultural landmarks
  • Expert knowledge to enable you to confidently identify our unique birds and plant life
  • A handy bookmark checklist of all birds seen on your tour – ideal for use inside Ulva’s Visitor Guide to the island!
  • Department of Conservation concession fee

Need to know!

  • If weather conditions are unsuitable or minimum numbers are not met, your kiwi spotting trip will be transferred to TUESDAY night.
  • Tuesday morning Ulva Island Guided Walk departs Golden Bay Wharf at 8.30am and returns to Halfmoon Bay Whart at 4.30pm.
  • Bring your favourite binoculars and all the photographic equipment you need to make the most of this opportunity.
  • Wear warm comfortable clothing and good walking shoes.
  • Bring a day pack containing: warm hat, gloves, waterproof jacket and leggings, water bottle, lunch and snacks.
  • If you are susceptible to motion sickness on the sea, bring suitable medication.
  • Lunch is NOT included – an excellent packed lunch can be ordered in advance from the Stewart Island 4 Square Supermarket and collected in the morning before you go to Ulva Island. Email island@foursquare-si.co.nz for more information and to order.
  • Accommodation is NOT included in the Birding Bonanza package. Visit the Stewart Island website for a range of accommodation options to suit.

Booking information

  • Prior booking is essential, a minimum of 72 hours in advance.
  • Tour operates on Monday evenings and Tuesday (all day), October to April only.
  • Monday evening kiwi spotting departure time is advised on confirmation of your trip.
  • All trips are weather dependent and subject to minimum numbers.

Meet your guides

Ulva Goodwillie
Ulva Goodwillie

Ulva Goodwillie established Ulva's Guided Walks in 2000 to meet a growing need for knowledgeable guides to help visitors identify and enjoy the abundant birdlife, flora and fauna in the region.

Named after both Ulva Island in Rakiura/Stewart Island, and also the wildlife sanctuary of Ulva Isle in the Hebrides of Scotland, Ulva is a published author with tremendous depth of knowledge. She combines traditional stories passed down over generations with an abiding passion for her home environment.

Her team of guides have earned an enviable international reputation and hosted many film crews and nature documentaries on the area.

“It’s a privilege to show people the southernmost bird sanctuary in New Zealand and help them identify our rare and endangered birds and plants that you can’t see anywhere else in the world. We love seeing others share our passion once they’ve experienced this for themselves.”