Mixing it up on the Taiaroa headland
A 60 minutes wildlife cruise on the Monarch adds an extra dimension to an already unforgettable wildlife experience. This elephant seal is an occasional oportunity ....
This tour option differs from our standard option by replacing our guided Albatross viewing with a one hour wildlife cruise aboard the MV ‘Monarch’ to the albatross colony. The tour departs daily from Dunedin city in the mid-afternoon to the beautiful Otago Peninsula and its wildlife 'hotspots', catering to small groups and providing a glimpse into the world of tourism and conservation working in a symbiotic relationship. Providing absolutely unrivalled viewing of estuarine and marine wildlife.
Our knowledgeable guides deliver commentary of activity being viewed and visit isolated places inaccessible to others providing the best possible viewing of unique peninsula wildlife. Our private conservation area ensures exclusivity with brilliant opportunities to photograph Hooker's Sea lions, Yellow-eyed Penguins, Blue Penguins, a breeding colony of New Zealand Fur Seals and other sea bird colonies. At Wellers rock jetty you leave our tour to join the crew on the ‘Monarch’ for a 60 minute cruise before re-joining with your Elm wildlife tour guide for the remainder of our half day tour. The ‘Monarch’ option allows viewing of the entire Royal Albatross breeding area and usually allows viewing of Albatross flying or sitting on the ocean as well as seeing many other species who live and breed around the headland.
After re-joining our tour a further 25-30 other estuarine and marine bird species are seen during the experience around the bays and lagoons.
Within our conservation area close up unobtrusive viewing from beach locations and strategically placed observation hides is guaranteed. Most days Albatross are seen flying at Taiaroa headland, with a greater opportunity from our conservation area strategic observation point to see many other pelagic sea bird species flying close, including numerous petrel and shearwater species, and up to five other Albatross species are regularly seen and identified.
Summer 6-6.5 hours, Winter 5-5.5 hours
16 September – 31 March (Not available 25 and 31 December)
Walking is required to access the private conservation area where Hookers Sea lions, a New Zealand Fur seal breeding colony and Yellow eyed Penguins are located. The walk requires basic fitness as the terrain is hilly farm land and sandy beaches. Generally the two separate return sectors (down & up) each require approximately 15 minutes walking time.
Hill walk from beach (line depicts gradient)
All tour options are an outdoor activity in a land where maritime weather prevails, the weather can change very quickly on the Southern coast at any time of the year. Always take warm and waterproof clothes.
Walking shoes or boots with heavy tread are recommended and necessary if conditions are wet or muddy.
Food and Medicines
Although food and drink is available through a small store in Portobello township during the Peninsula Encounters tour, we recommend that participants bring their own snack and drink. Personal medicines etc. should be carried if required on all tours. Any medical condition which could potentially be a problem should be conveyed to the guide at the commencement of a tour.
Transport pickups from accommodation or Dunedin visitor centre, guiding and binoculars
As this tour duration is approximately six hours, the tour does not suit all children. Children under five years are free of charge and require parent to provide carry pack for walks (tour not suitable for pushchairs/strollers etc)
Within 24 hours: NO REFUND (100% charge) or rebooking at no extra cost if availability permits.
Peninsula Encounters tour departure times vary throughout the year (from 12:45pm mid winter to 3.30pm mid-summer) to coincide with changing animal activity and daylight hours. Departure times can be confirmed when making reservations. Participants will be collected from, and returned to any City or Peninsula accommodation, the Dunedin Visitor centre (26 Princes street) or arranged points on route. Tour duration is 5.5 - 6.5 hours depending on animal behaviours and season.
NOTE: Total wildlife tour (ETT) duration 8.5 hours with pickup time 1.20pm New Zealand Daylight time
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Peninsula Encounters brochure(PDF) 556 KB