Encounters inc Monarch Cruise Tour

  • Absolutely unrivalled wildlife viewing...
    Spend a late afternoon watching yellow-eyed penguins as they arrive home from the sea. Watch the majestic albatross soar overhead. Get up close to Sea Lions. - all on our multi award-winning 5-6 hour 'wildlife packed' tours on the beautiful Otago Pen
Peninsula Encounters + Monarch Boat Cruise


This tour is our recommended option differing from our standard option by replacing our guided Albatross viewing with a one hour wildlife cruise aboard the MV ‘Monarch’ to view the albatross colony and other marine wildlife.  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 to provide the best possible viewing of unique peninsula wildlife.  We provide brilliant opportunities to photograph Albatross, Sea lions, Yellow-eyed Penguins,  Blue Penguins,New Zealand Fur Seals and other sea bird colonies.  At Wellers rock jetty you join the crew on the MV  ‘Monarch’ for a 60 minute cruise before re-joining with your Elm wildlife tour guide for the remainder of our half day tour. The MV ‘Monarch’  is our recommended option allowing viewing of the entire Royal Albatross breeding area and usually allows great viewing of flying Albatross and close by resting on the ocean as well as seeing many other species that live and breed around the headland, and regularly see whales and dolphins.

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.


Average Duration

Summer 6-6.5 hours, Winter 5-5.5 hours

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