Encounters MAX (All options)

  • How much wildlife can you take?
    For the wildlife enthusiast, the MAX tour is 8 hours of totally immersive wildlife experience. All our tours rolled into one!
Peninsula Encounters Max


MAX is our eight hour extended package, combining a boat cruise aboard the 'Monarch', a Royal Albatross nesting area tour and our award winning peninsula encounter tour into one 'total wildlife' tour. This extreme option allows Wildlife enthusiasts a unique opportunity to combine the best possible viewing from land and sea. First the one hour Monarch cruise introduces the wildlife of Taiaroa head from the sea where occasionally dolphins and whales are also seen before returning to the jetty where our guide will be waiting to transport you to the Royal Albatross centre. Here you join a descriptive introduction and viewing of the Royal Albatross breeding area before finally visiting a private conservation reserve. Here you will meet and watch Yellow-eyed penguins, usually arriving home from the ocean, little (blue) penguins in nest burrows and a colony of NZ Fur seals.   

If you love to be on the water and dream of seeing spectacular seabirds and long for close up viewing of penguins Sea lions and seals, then this is the tour for you. If you really want to see the world's biggest sea bird close-up, rare penguins, seals within a few metres then this is as good as it gets. This tour is a unique opportunity to saturate your day with wildlife viewing experiences. You will be collected from your accommodation and transported to the boat for your cruise, after which our guide delivers you to the Royal Albatross centre to join the tour, before you re-join for the land based section of this tour. This option is a must for the dedicated wildlife enthusiast - Elm Wildlife Tour - Awarded "New Zealand’s best leisure activity 2005 continue to provide a high quality experience"  has also maintained the qualmark Environmental gold level standard since 2010.

Average Duration

8 hours from Dunedin city to approx 6.5 hours from Portobello depending on pickup point

Departure Time

from 1.20pm at city accommodation (pickups by Monarch boat tours)

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 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.


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