Kia Ora! Happy Thanksgiving, and welcome to Aotearoa, New Zealand, where we spent our day on Ulva and Stewart Islands. Ulva Island is a pristine, forested island and home to one of New Zealand’s predator-free nature sanctuaries. It is situated near Stewart Island, which is the third largest of New Zealand’s islands. Around 6:00 AM, National Geographic Orion pulled into Patterson Inlet. We enjoyed a glorious sunrise and calm seas.

Guests were given the opportunity to visit Ulva Island to experience the island’s serenity and nature. Local guides pointed out numerous endemic birds, like the rarely seen saddleback, yellowheads, bellbirds, tūīs, Stewart Island robins, tomtits, kākās (or New Zealand parrots), and many more. We visited golden sand beaches and forests with native trees, plants, orchids, and flowers. The walk was easy and peaceful, and we enjoyed a very comfortable temperature.

After an amazing Thanksgiving lunch prepared by Executive Chef Rannie and his team, our adventurous guests were transferred by trusty Zodiacs to Oban, the main town on Stewart Island. It was a relaxed visit, and guests had time to leisurely roam to the museum or take a walk around Oban for those feeling energetic.

All in all, it was a relaxing day in a very special part of the world. Cheers!