Ulva Island Kiwi, Orchids & Cruise Ships.

Sails Ashore, Stewart Island

Yesterday as part of our guests stay with us at Sails Ashore I took an English couple to Ulva Island. The weather lately has been indifferent to say the least, and I have to say it didn’t look good when we set off. But the weather gods smiled on us and it actually turned out to be more than pleasant. Two other guests came along as well to do their own thing. We offer our guests a free return if we are going over, and I had had them across a few days earlier. They had planned on spending 4 or 5 days walking part of the North West circuit, but when one had injured his hip in a fall I had had to go up in the boat to Christmas Village and bring them out. They were really keen to see a kiwi while on the circuit and were deeply disappointed that they had to come out early….. Kiwi-less

kiwi on Ulva Island

Kiwi feeding alongside a track on Ulva Island

Kiwi !!!

But on Ulva……  we found a kiwi feeding happily alongside the track. Many years ago as forest ranger I liberated the first Kiwi onto Ulva. We think about 8 birds in total were liberated, and numbers have grown to around 30/35 birds, which is about right for the area of land. And although Stewart Island Kiwi are well known for being out feeding in daylight …. they are nocturnal in the rest of NZ …. we only see maybe 2 or 3 in any given year.

So I was just as excited as my guests. We watched it for around 10 minutes as it hunted for bugs through the undergrowth. And sadly the same undergrowth seriously interfered with my photography. But we all had a real buzz on from such an unexpected sighting.

Kiwi on Ulva Island

Kiwi feeding


It was a great day, with our English guests seeing everything they had wanted except Tom Tits.

Yellowhead / Mohua displaying for us

Yellowhead / Mohua displaying for us










Photographing Orchids

Photographing Orchids

Island Life & Orchids Road Tour

Part of our guests Island experience can be our Island Life road tour. It’s a chance to visit the bays and lookouts and at the same time learn a little about Island life… which for many of our “Big City ” folk must seem like the far side of the moon in comparison with where they live. A bonus over spring, summer & autumn are the roadside orchids which we always stop and enjoy. Today there were 5 different species flowering.


 Nematoceras iridescens Big Red Spider Orchid

Red Spider Orchids on the roadside






  Cruise Ships

Caledonian Sky in Halfmoon Bay

Caledonian Sky seen from Mill Creek

I had forgotten that today the first of the seasons cruise ships was due in, and was a bit suprised to see her  while on our road tour. With just 114 passengers the Caledonian Sky is just the right size for a community as small as Stewart Island.  The biggest we get is around 600 passengers. Any more aboard and we can be swamped with people.