Shore Excursion (standard)

Cruise Ship wildlife tour

Availability (All cruise season)

1 October – 30 April

EXCLUSIVE TOUR - ONLY FOR PASSENGERS ARRIVING BY CRUISESHIP  - NOTE: Online bookings secure a special discounted rate .

Port Chalmers - Dunedin - New Zealand

This exclusive single day shore excursion presents DUNEDIN, New Zealands most beautiful city, and the grandeur of the Otago Peninsula with it's unique wildlife and spectacular scenery. This tour departs from Port Chalmers cruise terminal at 9.30am and is restricted to a maximum of eighteen persons in two guided groups of nine persons. Our exclusive private penguin conservation area allows you to go where others have no access, to appreciate the animals, the solitude and the beautiful coastline.

Internet only Rate : $192 NZD pp this exclusive wildlife experience includes ship pickup/drop-off, picnic lunch, access into our private conservation reserve and all transport and guiding throughout the day. 
NOTE: Requests for exclusive private groups (one to four persons) Using our WILD COAST EXPLORER can be quoted and organised by email.


Departure from Port Chalmers at 9.30am to guide you on a memorable full day tour of the rugged Otago Peninsula, soaking in its scenery and seeing the unique wildlife up close. During our tour we have the oportunity to watch Royal Albatross soaring majestically above Taiaroa headland at the tip of the Otago peninsula, while those who have selected the Albatross option leave the group for one hour to view the Albatross nesting area. Following the Taiaroa head visit we enjoy a light lunch somewhere enroute, following lunch, we prepare for the days highlight, a visit to Elm Wildlife Tours private conservation area. Here we observe up close the hyper activity in a New Zealand fur seal rookery, males fighting, pups playing and females trying to get some rest. On an adjacent sandy beach in a lovely bay our next close encounter meets and observes two of the world’s rarest creatures, Hooker Sea lions resting, and Yellow-eyed penguins with young in their nesting area. Yellow Eyed Penguins and their young are usually very active throughout most of the cruise ship season, however there are periods after their chicks fledge when very few are seen. You will also see the 'Little penguin', the world’s smallest, resting in their nest burrows. The return journey includes views of Dunedin city and a visit to Baldwin street, (the worlds steepest street) before returning to your ship 45 to 60 minutes before sailing.   
NOTE:  Generally cruise ship shore time does not coincide with animals daily routines for the best viewing, however fur seal and penguin breeding during the period November to February ensures good viewing through this period as the animals are ashore during the day, but is very limited from March during the penguin's annual moult. The great panoramic vistas are always present.

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Average duration

 7 hours 


01 October – 30 April  (Not available 25 and 31 December)

Child policy

This tour duration is approximately seven hours, which does not suit all children. Also, as this is an exclusive tour we only a small number of seats are available. Because of this limitation we have no preferred child rate for this tour option.  All participants pay the online rate (tour not suitable for pushchairs/strollers etc)

Cancellation policy

  • Less than two weeks - no refund.
  • Once the tour has commenced - no refund with the exception of any prepaid optional activities not available
  • NO CHARGE made if your ship is unable to dock.



Peninsula Encounters tour and Cruiseship excursions

Some walking is required to access the yellow-eyed penguin private conservation area. The walk requires basic fitness as the terrain is hilly farm land, sandy beaches and stairways provide access the viewing hides.


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/boots with heavy tread are recommended and necessary if conditions are wet or muddy.


Personal medicines etc. should be carried if required on all tours. Any medical condition which could potentially be a problem should be conveyed to your guide at the commencement of a tour. The terrain visited is not suitable for persons with walking disabilities and wheelchairs. Parents of infants should bring a backpack for their transport


Peninsula encounter tours 

Although food and drink is available through a small store in Portobello township and the Albatross centre cafe during the tour, we reccomend that participants bring their own snack and drink. 

Cruiseship passenger tours 

A light lunch is included in the tour fee.

Wild Coast Explorer

Meals - as per previously agreed itinerary inclusions.


Flash We do not allow close flash photography of penguins as this startles them, Click here for information regarding flash photography of birds and animals.   

Digital cameras and camcorders perform well suited in the low light encountered during the evenings on our tours Take another look at our tour Options, the Peninsula Wildlife Tour, the Catlins Group tour or the exclusive Wild Coast Explorer - private option.