Ulva Island and Oban

After spending a week walking the North West Circuit on Stewart Island / Rakiura in March 2021 I visited Ulva Island, catching the charming Ulva Island Ferry service for the 15-20 minute crossing from Golden Bay. The boat was built in 1951 to travel between the islands in the Bay of Islands in Northland, and Peter had been the skipper Peter since 1999.

Ulva Island is a sanctuary for native New Zealand bird life that has been pest free since 1996. It has a number of well graded tracks running through bush to three attractive bays.

It is a great place for bird watching if you’re able to stay still and aren’t disturbed by others walking along. I didn’t see anything new but it is always a pleasure to see robins, less so weka investigating my shoes for food.

The ferry left from Golden Bay, home to a number of photogenic boat houses.

On the fifteen minute walk from Golden Bay to Halfmoon Bay I took a detour up to Observation Rock, which offered great views of Ulva Island, the wide island behind the more prominent, and the much smaller, Iona Island in the foreground.

I finished the day with a visit to the charming Oban Presbyterian Church, which the volunteer pastor from Oregon let me into.

I first visited Stewart Island / Rakiura in 2014 to walk the Rakiura Track. I was treated to one of the better sunrises I’ve seen in my life.

To finish the post with some photos from my flight with Stewart Island Flights back to Invercargill. The pilot let me sit next to him in the nine seater plane for the 20 minute flight over the Foveaux Strait, considerably smoother than even a smooth crossing on the ferry, and three times faster.

Author: jontycrane

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