The Royal Albatross Centre, within Dunedin city limits on the Otago Peninsula, is an ideal spot for nature viewing. The center is home to the only mainland breeding colony of these large birds in the world. Add a tour of the center to a day trip out to the peninsula—a must-do activity while in Dunedin.
The center began in 1938 with just one albatross chick. Now, there are around 140 birds. Albatrosses have an enormous wingspan of around 10 feet (3 meters). The center holds a wealth of information about the birds, so visitors can learn while having fun. Inside the observatory, you may be able to see albatross chicks and, if it’s a windy day, you might even see the adult birds flying. Renowned ecologists have called this the finest example of ecotourism in the world, which is high praise and motivation to visit.
Visitors tend to visit the Royal Albatross Centre on day trips of the Otago Peninsula from Dunedin. These include a number of other wildlife-oriented activities, such as sea lion and penguin watching, as the area is a haven for sea birds and animals.
Things to Know Before You Go
- It can get very cold and windy on the Otago Peninsula at any time of year, so take warm clothes with you.
- Albatrosses are wild animals and their behavior or location cannot be guaranteed on any given day.
- Guided tours of varying durations are available to suit your needs.
- There are also around 20 other bird species on the Otago Peninsula, so stay alert to spot them.
How to Get There
Many people visit the center on a guided tour from Dunedin. If traveling independently from Dunedin, follow the road along the Otago Peninsula to Taiaroa Head, at the end.
When to Get There
The Royal Albatross Centre is open daily (except Christmas Day) from 10:15am till dusk, with tours from 11am in summer and 10:30am in winter. The center is a good place to visit year-round. The Otago Peninsula experiences cool but sunny summers and cold winters.
Amid the scenic beauty of the Otago Peninsula is an old military fort. Fort Taiaroa was built in the 1880s because of fear of a Russian invasion. Visitors can see the Armstrong Disappearing Gun, which is the only one of its kind in the world in working order. A trip here can be added to a visit to the Royal Albatross Centre.