Dunedin And The Otago Peninsula Wildlife Tour

From USD 145.15
Per Person
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Tour Details


See the highlights of Dunedins city center and Larnach Castle in the morning, then spend the afternoon immersed in the natural beauty of the Otago Peninsula. Visit the nesting grounds of the rare and endangered yellow-eyed penguin and northern royal albatross as you explore the scenic coast along Taiaroa Head. Small-group tour with a maximum of 19 people allows for personalized attention from your knowledgeable guide.

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After morning pickup in Dunedin, see the citys highlights including the University of Otago and Baldwin Street, which claims to be the steepest residential street in the world. Take photos of the Dunedin Railway Station, known as Gingerbread George for its elaborate Renaissance Revival architecture. Then take in the Octagon, the vibrant city center where many notable Victorian and Edwardian buildings are located, including heritage-listed Dunedin Town Hall and St. Paul's Anglican Cathedral.

Next, leave the city behind as you drive about 20 minutes to reach Larnach Castle, rumored to be haunted by the ghosts of its original owners! The sprawling mansion features beautiful gardens that you explore on a short tour with your guide before having time to wander on your own. Castle tours are optional and at own expense. Here you'll have the option to buy lunch at the ballroom cafe attached to Larnach Castle.

Once you have refueled, continue down the road to a reserve where you observe native yellow-eyed penguins, the rarest penguins in the world. A naturalist guide from the reserve leads you on a 1.5-hour tour through hides and tunnels that allow you to get close views of the penguin nesting area without disturbing the birds. This tour requires that participants be a able to walk at least one third of a mile (600 meters) and climb and descend 90 steps.

When you have completed the penguin viewing, reboard your coach to visit nesting grounds for the northern royal albatross at Taiaroa Head, the only human-inhabited mainland where an albatross colony of any species exists. Learn from your guide about the large seabirds as you look for them gliding over the headlands. Enjoy the beautiful coastline before heading back to Dunedin to end your tour.

Inclusions for Dunedin And The Otago Peninsula Wildlife Tour

  • Local guide
  • Larnach Gardens entry fee
  • Penguin place entry fee
  • Transport by air-conditioned minivan
  • Hotel/Port pickup and drop-off

Exclusions for Dunedin And The Otago Peninsula Wildlife Tour

  • Food and drinks, unless specified
  • Gratuities (optional)

Additional Info

Confirmation will be received at time of booking

A moderate amount walking is involved, there are 90 steps at the penguin reserve. A moderate level of fitness is required

Bring a waterproof jacket , sunglasses, hat and closed-toe shoes suitable for walking

Operates in all weather conditions, please dress appropriately

A maximum of 18 people per tour

Departure time may change depending on cruise ship schedule

We guarantee you will see at least 1 penguin, but please be aware penguins are wild and shy birds and sightings may be limited

Cancellation Policy
  • If you cancel within 3 calendar days (72 hours) of the scheduled departure time, the cancellation charge will be 100% of the undiscounted tour price.
  • If you cancel between 4 to 7 Calendar days before scheduled tour departure,the cancellation charge will be 50% of the undiscounted tour price.
  • If you cancel at least 8 calendar days in advance of the scheduled departure time, there is no cancellation fee. You will receive Full Refund for the paid amount.
  • Please note that in case of No show, the cancellation charge will be 100% of the listed tour fare.
  • Please note tours booked using discount coupon codes will be non refundable.

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See All 27 Traveler reviews

  • Our guide was amazing and so knowledgable! It was a small tour and so was quite personal. Wasn't rushed, but showed off a lot of Dunedin.

  • November 17, 2017
    This was a wonderful way to see the beautiful city, countryside and farms of Dunedin. Our driver was a graduate student in Zoology from the University here and was knowledgeable in all aspects of our trip. The Albatross Center was most informative and we did see a couple flying. I would have liked to have spent a little more time in the Center. We also saw the fur seals on the rocks at the ocean's edge.
    The Blue Penguin Colony was very interesting. The Penguin's are endangered and the area protected. We were given a talk about the Penguins and then a walk through camouflaged trenches to viewing ports. We also saw the yellow eyed Penguin in a protective area.
    The drive home was along the ocean edge, beautiful scenery and the opportunity to see many other birds.
    A great excursion.

  • Our driver was a great guy and did everything he could to make the trip special. However, the van we were in was kind of tight and the sound system to hear his commentary was kind of weak. Would do it again except get to the van early to get better seats.

  • The good - very good tour guide. The ship we came in on that morning was quite late getting the passengers off, but the company waited for all of us and still fit in the entire tour. The not great - don't expect to see penguins walking around on the beach. This is a very endangered species and very few are left. There where only 8 nesting pairs in the preserve and only one nest in the viewing area, which we could only see with binoculars. There were 2 in the hospital which we could easily see. We did get a good, educational lecture at the preserve. I am still glad we took it and did enjoy the tour. Caution, the trails you will walk on in the preserve not only have steps, but are very steep in places. It was quite a workout for most of our group and others whom I spoke with.

  • Из всех туров этот был самый неудачный. Гид говорил по английски с плохим произношением и очень не понятно. Мы были в группе с людьми с круизного судна, поэтому мы постоянно спешили и уехали обратно на 1 час раньше программы . Мы не довольны

  • This was a great tour which gave a very comprehensive overview of Dunedin and the surrounds. Chris, owner and guide, was excellent, sharing his knowledge of the area and his passion for the wildlife freely. The tour starts with a tour of Dunedin city then we took the option of touring the inside of the castle as well as the gardens and I would highly recommend this. Our tour of the peninsula and it's wildlife viewing was great - plenty of stops for photos- a great day out.

  • The Larnach Castle is nice, but the highlight was going to Penguin Place, into the trenches of the rare and endangered Yellow Eyed Penguins. We also saw the little blue penguins and seals. The albatross were not out during the time we went to their special area.

  • My wife and I would give these young men very high grades on their sharing of information and customer relations. We learned so much about the Otago Peninsula where we were staying as well as the larger city of Dunedin. It was a delight to learn about Matthew's family history when we were on the peninsula high road where people are making a living as cattle and sheep farmers. He is also educated and experienced with the rehabilitation of the yellow-eyed penguin population. We would recommend this tour option to anyone who is looking for an experience around a broad range of subjects.

  • The highlight of the tour was our guide, who was wonderful. He had great knowledge of the area, the outdoors, the birdlife, and especially the history of New Zealand and the peninsula. The tour got off to a not very good start. There was chaos trying to sort out in the passenger terminal who was on which tour and which bus or van. As it turned out, the van was packed and too cramped. I was also disppointed that the tour did not include the inside of the albatross facility, which I thought was included. The penguin sanctuary was great and Larnach castle was OK the castle highlight for me was the gardens.

  • We had a wonderful tour of the City of Dunedin and The Otago Peninsula with Matteo and a diverse group of travelers. From walking up the steepest street in Dunedin to observing penguins up close at The Peninsula I felt like I experienced one of the best places to visit on the South Island. Matteo was our guide and he is outstanding. It was great to have such an experienced and calm driver to take us on the tour who easily shared his extensive knowledge of the city, land and the wildlife on the peninsula. It was a fun, relaxing and really interesting day.

  • See All 27 Reviews

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