Peninsula Encounters + Wildlife Cruise

  • 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

Book Now



Adults: $215   Children (5-14yrs): $150 

Our most popular and recommended tour option. See the best of Dunedin's wildlife and scenery from land and on the water!
Enjoy all the great features of the standard Peninsula Encounters and include an invigorating one hour Wildlife Cruise.  


Tour Description

This small-group bus tour departs from Dunedin, join a local guide for a journey across the Otago Peninsula. Travel over the high road with postcard views of the harbour and coast.

You'll see many different wading birds and shore birds as your mini-bus explores around the inlets and the wetland eco-systems.

Enjoy a visit to a remote Otago Peninsula beach. A short walk from the mini-bus will provide dramatic views of rugged coastal cliffs, offshore islands and perhaps some huge sea lions.

The trip continues to Wellers Rock Wharf, for a Monarch Wildlife Cruise. You’ll travel out of the harbour, around Taiaroa Head, and out to sea. Watch as a majestic royal albatross glides across the water and returns to it's breeding colony. Beneath a historic lighthouse is a colony of playful furseals, the skipper will get you nice and close for photos. A short way out to sea and you’ll spot other rare seabirds and maybe a blue penguin or dolphins. 

The final stop is at a Yellow-eyed Penguin conservation reserve. Visit the on-site rehab centre before a tour of the reserve. Your guide will take you on trails through native bushland, walking through tunnels and trenches to different viewing hides scattered around the reserve. Watch as the world’s rarest penguin returns ashore and interacts around their nesting sites.

The tour ends with a relaxed drive, following the harbour, back to Dunedin.


Summer (1 October - 31 March)

2:00pm to 8:30pm


Winter (1 April - 30 September)

11:00am to 6:00pm
Operating Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday


Tour Departure Point

The default departure point for Elm Wildlife Tours is 20 Fryatt St, Dunedin. We share the facility with Monarch Wildlife Cruises. Please check-in at reception 15 mins prior to the scheduled tour start time. Free carparks are available around this location.


Accommodation Pick-ups & Drop-offs

We provide a complimentary pick-up and drop-off service from central Dunedin accommodation - hotels, motels, backpackers, holiday parks and the iSite visitor centre (no airbnb's or private residences).

If you're staying on the Otago Peninsula we also can pick-up from Portobello Store and Larnach Castle. You are responsible for travel to and from either location.

Your pickup must be requested when making your booking, our reservations staff will confirm your pickup time via email.


Child Policy

As this tour duration is approximately 6.5 hours, the tour does not suit all children. Children under five years are free of charge and we recommend the use of carry pack for walks (tour not suitable for pushchairs/strollers etc).


Food & Drink

Food can be purchased during the tour from the Albatross Cafe at the Royal Albatross Centre. Our guests are also welcome to bring a pre-packed meal and drink bottle with them. We recommend our visitors have a good sized lunch before departing Dunedin.



Some walking is required to access the yellow-eyed penguin private conservation area. The walk requires a medium level of fitness as the terrain you may encounter includeshilly farm land, sandy beaches, bush tracks and stairways that provide access to viewing hides.


Clothing & Footwear

All tour options are based outdoors in a land where maritime weather prevails, the weather can change very quickly on the Southern coast at any time of the year. Always wear a few warm layers and a waterproof jacket is a good idea. Your footwear will ideally be designed for walking and should be sturdy, comfortable and enclosed. 


Medicines & Health Conditions

Personal medicines should be carried on all tours. Any health condition which could potentially be a problem should be disclosed before the commencement of a tour. The terrain visited is not suitable for persons with walking disabilities and wheelchairs.



Don't forget to charge your batteries and clear your memory cards, your tour will have many fantastic photo moments. We don't allow flash photograpy of any animals we see. If you have the option to bring both a telephoto and wide angle lens then do it. You never know how close we will be to the wildlife.


Cancellation Policy

We will provide a refund (less a 3% transaction fee) or credit for cancellations made more than 24 hours prior to your tour. We reserve the right to charge up to 100% for bookings cancelled within 24 hours of your scheduled start time, or for no-shows.

If your tour is cancelled by Elm Wildlife Tours, for any reason, such as inclement weather, we will attempt to reschedule your tour to another suitable day (subject to availability). If this is not possible we will provide a full refund.

We reserve the right to cancel or alter any cruise, service or price.