My 24-hour foray was headlined by savouring Ulva Island. Warmly greeted by my distinguished guide, Matt Jones is Chair of the Ulva Island Trust and my host extraordinaire treated me royally. After all, he led Prince Harry around the island on his famous visit five years ago. We took a short taxi ferry across to Paterson Inlet from Golden Bay to this pristine jewel of primeval beauty... As I gazed in awe at the gin-clear waters at Boulder Beach and Sydney Cove, edged in podocarp forest, you can't help but feel immensely privileged to savour such a pristine pocket of unpeopled beauty. It's a mesmerising place, a cure-all realm for jaded city souls. My half-day tour with Matt has whetted my appetite to return to Stewart island for more immersive encounters with nature's feathered treasures and the lush rainforest.
Matt was fun, professional & knowledgeable. Exceeded expectations. Perfect guide. Beautiful island ...nature at its best.
Jackie, New Zealand - 5/3/19
Matt was a superb guide . Found all the birds and his knowledge was wonderful.
Robert, Australia - 20/1/19
Matt was fabulous. He took the time to make sure each person saw every bird. Very knowledgeable, personable, competent and patient. I highly recommend this walk.
Shirley, USA - 10/12/18
Ulva Island is a special place, close to unique. Matt Jones is a special birding guide. Blessed with fine weather, the combination was delightful. We have been out with several birding guides, but Matt stands out for his incredible ear to the calls of the target birds. And great fun to be with.
Ballard, New Zealand - 28/10/18
Our guide was Matt Jones who is very charismatic and just so knowledgeable about Ulva and its background. The walk is at a steady pace with regular stops where Matt points out birdlife and Flora and fauna -the walk involves some steps and gradients. Ulva island is beautiful and unspoilt.
Lesley, England - 1/5/18
This was an amazing experience! Arriving on Ulva Island sounded like being in a jungle because of all the birds. My guide was Matt, who was not only incredibly knowledgeable about the birds, flora and other wildlife, but was also a delightful person with a great sense of humor. He obviously loves what he does and cares deeply about protecting and preserving the islands flora and fauna ... you don't have to be a "bird nerd" to appreciate the beauty and the experience.
Sally, UK - 23/3/18
Enjoyed the birding on Ulva Island but were absolutely blown away by the pelagic, it was a real highlight!
Pike & Nico, USA - 5/1/14
Saw everything - of course! Matt saw to that and we were SO lucky to have him.
John & Anne, UK - 5/12/13
Just a brief note to thank you so very much - the guided tour on Ulva was very special - I'm still talking about kiwi spotting at midday.
Paul Atkins, Chief Executive Zealandia, New Zealand - 9/1/17
Matt, our tour guide, was excellent. He shared his knowledge and love of the forest and bird life with us in a way that was both interesting and memorable. The pace of the 4-hour tour worked and I never felt rushed or like I wanted to move on. But best of all, we heard and saw a multitude of birds that I would never have noticed on my own. I learned the basic of birdwatching - walk less, look and listen more.
Barbara & Jim, USA - 10/3/18
Matt, I want to thank you for a most amazing and awesome experience. Your knowledge of world birds and calls and habitats is incredible. As is your knowledge of New Zealand natural history.
Ingolf, USA - 5/12/17
Matt never missed an organisational beat … or a bird! His outgoing personality, high energy, love of birds, and consistent good cheer made our group cohesive and fully engaged in each day's activities. Matt is a super guide!
John & Marilynne, USA - 26/2/16
It was good to meet up at Miranda and Kaikoura. We've been remembering the excitement of seeing the birds so close … and were grateful for your help in identifying them. We had a brilliant time.
Audrey & Gwyn, UK - 26/2/14
Thank you for your fantastic guiding on Paradise Island (Ulva Island!). We felt very lucky having you as a guide both bird watching and kiwi spotting [7 kiwis!]. This was really the highlight of our NZ trip.
Birgitta & Gunnar, Sweden - 14/4/14
A wonderful day birding. Fantastic views of everything on Ulva Island and a great afternoon's pelagic surrounded with the seabirds. The sights and sounds will stay with us forever. Many thanks Matt.
Jon & Kate, Scotland - 5/11/13
A truly magical experience thanks to Ulva and Matt for making it all happen.
Olaf & Steve, USA - 15/10/13
We came back drenched but with grins on our faces which will last for ages. A wonderful, knowledgeable and generous guide.
Honor & Philip, Australia - 16/3/13
I am glad I changed my mind and had Matt as our guide. I was going to make the visit on my own. Wonderful experience, thank you.
Maureen, UK - 6/1/13