Guide to paradise isle

Ulva Island: A Visitor’s Guide,
by Ulva Goodwillie (Craig Print, RRP $39):

There’s no doubt we live in a beautiful part of the world, but even a born-and-bred Southlander like me can be taken aback at times by just how beautiful it is.

Drive for 20 minutes or so in any direction and you’ll find yourself admiring anything from a rural landscape to a rugged cliff. However, if you go a little further off the beaten track, you’ll be rewarded with some truly remarkable hidden treasures. And one of the finest is surely Ulva Island.

Tucked away inside Paterson Inlet, on Stewart Island, it is believed that Ulva was named by the early Scottish settlers after their namesake Isla of Ulva, in the Inner Hebrides.

Another Ulva has fallen in love with the island, founded Ulva’s Guided Walks and now produced a stunning guide to the island.

Author Ulva Goodwillie is of Rakiura/ Stewart Island Maori heritage with the Scottish branch of her family arriving in New Zealand six generations ago. She has created a guide book that does justice to this beautiful, relatively untouched locale. Packed with photographs that are mainly the work of Gareth Eyres and Matt Jones – and a few by Goodwillie herself – the book is an incredible visual guide to the island, showing the flora and fauna in all their glory.

Each species of bird gets a two-page spread, with a rundown of information about habitats and habits sitting alongside the photographs.

There’s also a section on the more practical information you’ll be needing if you are planning a trip to the island: how to there, a location map, conservation etiquette, weather, walking tracks and the location of the loos. This is a bit like one of those fancy-schmancy cookbooks that we all have tucked away in our kitchen somewhere: fantastic for those who are going there, but still lovely to flick through and daydream about even if you haven’t got travel plans any time soon.

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