Ann & John Green
We were blown away by the care Furhana took to ensure that we got the best out of the trips we planned. The depth of her background knowledge was amazing, but matched by her ability to communicate this clearly and effectively. Probably the best trips we have been on anywhere in New Zealand and, if you want to know why, read on for a more detailed discussion.
In the last quarter of our lives we thought this was likely to be our only trip to Stewart Island so we wanted to ensure that we got the most out of it. We therefore did a fair amount of due diligence and came to the conclusion that Ruggedy Range/Aihi seemed to be the operator that had the best track record for customer satisfaction, plus their tours were just a little bit longer with a hint of rather more depth than many of the other companies. We were not disappointed and Furhana ensured both our Paterson Inlet wildlife cruise and Ulva Island tour were truly magical experiences that we will certainly treasure.
On Ulva we were on our own and the first thing Furhana did was to take the trouble to teach us how to walk as a group in a way that would allow us to see clearly and avoid disturbing the more nervous birds. As a result we had excellent views of almost every species on the Island – presumably the kiwi and ruru were fast asleep. We were so impressed by Furhana’s powerful academic background and during the 4½ tour we probably learnt more about the geological and botanical evolution of New Zealan
Ulva Island half-day trip with Furhana was great. She is so knowledgeable and informative, and we would have got far less out of the trip with a less able guide or on our own. If we manage to return to Stewart Island, we'll be hoping to take a longer trip with Ruggedy Range.
Michiel van Dijk
We went on a full day guided tour to Ulva Island with Furhana, who proofed to be an excellent and professional guide. Great information about flora, fauna, the local life and environmental issues.
Until you have seen a kiwi, close up, you may not realise what is so special about this particular bird - and if you would like to see one, Furhana, the owner/operator of Ruggedy Range Wilderness Experience has to be the best guide. We would certainly visit again and would recommend Ruggedy Range to others. Thank you Furhana!
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Ulva Island tour. Guide was great!! Lots of knowledge about the island.
Marcel & Kim Meichtry
The guide (Furhana) knew so much, it was highly informative and the Ulva Island is a wonderful place for bird watching.
We had a wonderful day trip to Ulva Island, and fortunately it was in the beginning of our 3 months holiday in NZ! The knowledge we received from Furhana about native and endemic birds and plants was formidable and was of great use for the rest of our holiday. It was a wonderful experience.
We had a superb trip to Ulva Island - hesitate to say any one thing was THE top highlight of our visit to NZ but this would certainly be on the short list.
The group was small. Our guide was enthusiastic and knowledgeable but was able to pitch his commentary to our level.
No hesitation in recommending.
I did a trip to Ulva island with Ruggedy Range in July 2010.(Yes I know the middle of Winter on Stewart Island but the weather was great!)I have travelled around New Zealand for 3 months over 3 trips and I can honestly say that the trip I did with Ruggedy Range was the best thing I ever did whilst in NZ. The enthusiasm of our tour guide was boundless and If I can remember 10% of the info she gave us I would be very happy! She seemed to know so much about everything, even the small stuff that I would rarely notice normally. If I ever get a chance to go back to Steward Island again (and I hope that is not a big if) I will definitely do a longer trip with Ruggedy Range during the summer this time!.
We had a days walk from Port William to Lee Bay. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable, naming trees, fauna, ferns, birdlife. The tour started with about an hours boat ride and we were overwhelmed with the number of seabirds viewed. We had a break for lunch with a picnic provided with freshly made tea or coffee. This was our second holiday to New Zealand but our first visit to Stewart Island and this was one of the highlights of both visits. We highly recommend a tour with Ruggedy Range.
We had a half day tour of Ulva Island with Furhana and had a fantastic time. You could just visit the island alone, but, this would just be a walk in a beautiful area. With Furhana, the island becomes a living breathing thing, her knowledge of the flora and fauna, the history combined with her communication skills, make this a must. We saw rare birds that we never would have spotted in a million years without her. Her explanation of the formation of the forests gives a great insight into the history of New Zealand. Also being a local Stewart Island business, you get a service that is second to none. If you go to Stewart Island I highly recommedn using Ruggedy Range
Furhana and Raggedy Range were terrific. They arranged a 2+ day trip to Stewart Island - ferry, lodging & tours. I did a 1/2 day Ulva Island birdwatching tour, and two half day pelagic birding trips.
Furhana has an exceptionally broad knowledge of local natural history and cultural history of the area, and combines enthusiasm with a rare ability to communicate with people on her tour.
I want to make a big pitch for their pelagic birdwatching tours. These are not emphasized on their website, but are extraordinarily good, certainly as good as trips out of Kaikoura. We had dozens of Buller's White-capped and Royal albatross, penguins, and petrels close to the boat. Photos of the seabirds at http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimscarff/sets/72157623473187159/ For folks with even a slight interest in sea birds, you need to go on this; for those keenly interested, you will be thrilled.
We had a very good time on Stewart Island thanks to Ruggedy Range. Our accommodation in Half Moon Bay was excellent and our walk to and overnight at Mason Bay was enhanced by Furhana’s knowledge of the fauna and flora. We also managed to see 3 Kiwis during the day. They also arranged a visit to Ulva Island and a pelagic trip. Both of these were really good and Eric was an excellent and friendly guide.
One of my highlights in New Zealand. I got to see 2 kiwi birds in the wild.
We first experienced Ruggedy Range in 2003 and have returned twice because of their fantastic personal service and very wide knowledge of the Stewart Island environment. The attention to detail was superb, the knowledge of flora, fauna and conservation issues was second to none and the overall experience unforgettable. Stewart Island has become one of our favourite destinations (all the way from the UK), with Mason Bay as the ultimate unspoilt beach, and the joy of seeing Kiwi in the wild was utterly memorable. We can't recommend Ruggedy Range highly enough.
Guide was lively, knowledgable and enthusiastic. We learned heaps as first time nature lovers.