Diver at Ulva Island Marine Reserve
Image: Vincent Zintzen | ©



Enjoy snorkelling and kayaking to explore the reserve’s marine wildlife. It has crystal clear waters teeming with fish, penguins and a variety of marine flora.

Find things to do and places to stay Ulva Island-Te Wharawhara Marine Reserve

The best snorkelling is found at 5-12 m depth off the north end of Sydney Cove beach on Ulva Island. Take a flashlight to illuminate the colourful array of life hiding below the kelp canopy, and carry a dive knife in case you become entangled in the giant kelp forest – but no catch bags or fishing spears. 

You'll need to wear a wetsuit - the average February temperature is 12ºC dropping to 8ºC in July. 

The southern coast of Ulva Island is best for kayaking and canoeing. Visitors will often see fur seals, sea lions and yellow eyed penguins.

Protect our marine reserves
  • No fishing of any kind.
  • Don't take or kill marine life.
  • Don't remove or disturb any marine life or materials.
  • Don't feed fish - it disturbs their natural behaviour.
  • Take care when anchoring to avoid damaging the sea floor.


Rakiura National Park Visitor Centre
Phone +64 3 219 0009
Email stewartisland@doc.govt.nz
Address 15 Main Road
Oban 9818
Hours See visitor centre hours
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