EXCLUSIVE TOUR - ONLY FOR PASSENGERS ARRIVING BY CRUISESHIP WITH ARRIVAL TIMES BEFORE 9am - NOTE: Online bookings secure a discounted rate.
This exclusive single day shore excursion presents DUNEDIN, New Zealand’s most beautiful city, and the grandeur of the Otago Peninsula with its unique wildlife and spectacular scenery. This tour departs from Port Chalmers 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: $246 NZD pp, this exclusive wildlife experience includes ship pickup/drop-off, picnic lunch, access into the Royal Albatross viewing gallery, our private conservation reserve and all transport and guiding throughout the day.
NOTE: Requests for exclusive private groups (one to four persons) can be quoted and organised by email.
Departure from the private tour assembly area, Port Chalmers is 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. Those choosing this Albatross option leave the tour group for one hour to join the Royal Albatross tour viewing the Albatross nesting area and watch Royal Albatross soaring majestically around their breeding area at Taiaroa headland located at the tip of the Otago peninsula. Following our visit here 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 world’s steepest street) before returning to your ship 45 to 60 minutes before sailing.
NOTE: Generally cruise ship shore time does not coincide with animal’s 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 limited from March during the penguin's annual moult. The great panoramic vistas are always present.
Click here to enquire about this tour
1 November – 30 April (Not available 25 and 31 December)
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)
Walking is required to access the private conservation area where Hookers Sea lions, NZ Fur seal breeding colony and Yellow eyed Penguins are located. The walk requires basic fitness as the terrain is hilly farm land, sandy beaches and stairways provide access the viewing hides. Generally the two separate return sectors (down & up) each require approximately 15 minutes walking time because of the gradient.
The visit to our private conservation area is usually the highlight of our tours and although we always provide 4x4 assistance in the normally dry conditions, on occaisions if it is very wet we cannot use the vehicle and walking up and down coastal hillside will be required to access the private conservation area where Sea lions, a Fur seal breeding colony and Penguins are located.The walk if required is depicted below.
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
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.
A light lunch is included in the tour fee.
Meals - as per previously agreed itinerary inclusions.
This tour requires a good level of fitness as approximately 30% of the full day adventure is spent exploring beaches forests and other short walks to waterfalls, caves and other view points. During a Catlins Encounters tour stops are made for snacks on the way, we reccomend you bring your own packed lunch.
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.