Encounters Lite

  • Big on wildlife but small on walking
    Don't miss out on the experience of seeing penguins and seals in their natural environments because of fitness concerns.
Peninsula Encounters Lite Tour

Availability (Seasonal)

1 November – 31 March


The walking required for this option is 90% less than our other Peninsula Encounter options. (Seasonal availability 24 November - 31 March)

The Lite option allows the less fit person access to view wildlife within our Peninsula Encounters conservation area. After visiting the Royal Albatross Centre and viewing 25-30 species of estuarine and marine birds we cross farm fields to park within 400 metres of our viewing hides for unobtrusive viewing of penguins returning from the ocean, crossing the beach and climbing the hill to their nests from our strategically placed observation hide. Sea lions are seen on the same beach

You will see a lot of animal activity, particularly the late afternoon arrival home from the sea of yellow-eyed penguins on the beautiful Otago Peninsula. The Peninsula encounters LITE tour operates during the late afternoon/evening to coincide with great penguin, sea lion and seal activity which will provide you with absolutely unrivalled wildlife viewing, particularly within our conservation area and has been the highlight of many travellers visit to New Zealand. Join us to see the growth effects of our penguin conservation endeavours, knowing that your visit has contributed to the ongoing conservation effort. Consider a Larnach castle accommodation package combining our wildlife tour.

Average duration

 6 - 6.5 hours 


1 November – 31 March  (Not available 25 and 31 December)

Child policy

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)

Cancellation policy

Within 24 hours: NO REFUND (100% charge) or rebooking at no extra cost if availability permits.



Peninsula Encounters tours

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. 

Cruiseship excursions and LITE tours

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.

Hill walk from beach (line depicts gradient)

Image depicting angle of climb from beach to vehicles

Access to conservation area

Access walk to seal breeding area


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.

Catlins Encounters

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.


Peninsula Encounters tour departure times vary throughout the year (from 12:45pm mid-winter to 3.pm 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 central City or Peninsula accommodation, the Dunedin Visitor centre at 50 The Octagon, (in city centre) or arranged points on route. Tour duration is 5.5 - 6.5 hours depending on animal behaviours and season.
NOTE: Our MAX (total wildlife experience) duration is 8.5 hours with pickup time from 1.20pm New Zealand Daylight time

NOTE: No tours available 25 December and 31 December

SeasonPickup Times
 ( NZ daylight saving time BEGINS on last Sunday in September ) ( NZ daylight saving time ENDS on first Saturday in April )  
Last Sunday in September first Saturday in April 3pm 3.45pm
first Sunday in April 30 April 1.30pm 2.15pm
1 May 31 August 1pm 1.45pm
1 September Last Saturday in September 1.30pm 2.15pm

Pickups are usually from your accommodation or the Dunedin Visitor Centre (50 The Octagon). Pickups can take up to 15 minutes from the pickup time shown above