This is our most popular and multi-award winning tour, departing daily from Dunedin city in the afternoon to visit the beautiful Otago Peninsula and its wildlife 'hotspots'. The tour caters for small groups providing a glimpse into the world of tourism and conservation working in a symbiotic relationship for the benefit of the wildlife providing absolutely unrivalled viewing of estuarine and marine wildlife.
Our knowledgeable guides deliver commentary of activity being viewed and visit isolated places inaccessible to others providing the best possible viewing of unique peninsula wildlife. Our private conservation area ensures exclusivity with brilliant opportunities to photograph Hooker's Sea lions, Yellow-eyed Penguins, Blue Penguins, a breeding colony of New Zealand Fur Seals and other sea bird colonies. At Taiaroa head from a cliff face we watch and observe Royal Albatross flying about the headland and to and fro from the ocean. A further 25-30 other estuarine and marine bird species are seen during the experience around the bays and lagoons.
Within our conservation area close up unobtrusive viewing from beach locations and strategically placed observation hides is guaranteed. Most days Albatross are seen flying at Taiaroa headland, with a greater opportunity from our conservation area strategic observation point to see many other pelagic sea bird species flying close, including numerous petrel and shearwater species, and up to five other Albatross species are regularly seen and identified.
Summer 6-6.5 hours Winter 5-5.5 hours
All year (except - Not available 25 and 31 December)
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)
Within 24 hours: NO REFUND (100% charge) or rebooking at no extra cost if availability permits.
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 or 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 price
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, however we recommend that clients carry a range of film speeds to allow for the varied light encountered, 200 ASA up to 1600 ASA for dusk. Click here for information regarding flash photography of birds and animals.
Modern digital cameras and camcorders are well suited to the low light encountered in 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 3.30pm 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 City or Peninsula accommodation, the Dunedin Visitor centre (26 Princes street) or arranged points on route. Tour duration is 5.5 - 6.5 hours depending on animal behaviours and season.
NOTE: Total wildlife tour (ETT) duration 8.5 hours with pickup time 1.20pm New Zealand Daylight time