Birding Classic

Treat yourself to the best of bird watching – on land and on water – with this exceptional full day experience.

Travel to predator-free Ulva Island for a half-day guided walk where you’ll learn to identify the rare and endangered bird and plant life while wandering through the primeval forest and hearing the fascinating history of the area. 

Following your bespoke land tour, you’ll go on a sea voyage, travelling past the scenic Stewart Island shores to deeper ocean for sightings of at least five species of albatross, as well as penguins, shearwaters, petrels, terns and many more.

We guarantee your time with us will leave you wanting more and you’ll understand why our experienced guides choose to call this special part of New Zealand home.

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!

  • Birding Classic 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 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 October to April only.
  • 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.”