• Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
  • Duration: 7 hours 30 minutes (approx.)
From USD $ 145.99 View price calendar

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Peer at rare yellow-eyed penguins and visit nesting grounds of the northern royal albatross during a full-day tour of the Otago Peninsula and Dunedin. Spend your morning sightseeing in Dunedin’s city center, including highlights of the Octagon, followed by an optional visit to Larnach Castle. In the afternoon, immerse in the natural beauty of the Otago Peninsula and the scenic coast along Taiaroa Head. Numbers are limited to 19 people to allow for personalized attention from your informative guide.

Highlights

  • Full-day tour of Dunedin city center and Otago Peninsula wildlife viewing, from Dunedin
  • See Dunedin highlights like Baldwin Street, Otago University, Dunedin Railway Station, the Octagon and Signal Hill lookout
  • Visit a yellow-eyed penguin reserve and get up close to this rare penguin species
  • Walk around Taiaroa Head to view the northern royal albatross
  • Pickup and drop-off available from Dunedin hotels or Port Chalmers cruise port
  • Small-group tour with a maximum of 19 people allows customized attention from your guide

What You Can Expect

Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula Wildlife Tour

Otago Peninsula wildlife

See the highlights of Dunedin, Larnach Castle and the penguins of the Otago Peninsula — all in one day. After morning pickup from your Dunedin hotel or the Port Chalmers cruise port, your guide transports you by minivan throughout the city.

Get a look at steep Baldwin Street, the University of Otago and Dunedin Railway Station, renowned for its ornate Renaissance Revival design. You’ll pass Dunedin Town Hall and St Paul's Anglican Cathedral in the Octagon — the lively city center — and step out at the Signal Hill lookout for a wider view.

A 20-minute drive takes you to Larnach Castle (if option selected). Explore the extensive Larnach Gardens with your guide before free time to meander at your own pace. Opt to tour the mansion for a historical overview, including rumors of its haunting (own expense). You can purchase lunch at the ballroom cafe adjacent to Larnach Castle before continuing on.

Upon arrival at a nearby nature reserve on the Otago Peninsula, you’re greeted by a naturalist guide for a 1.5-hour tour to observe New Zealand’s yellow-eyed penguins. A moderate walk plus a descent of 90 steps takes you through hides for close-up viewing of the nesting site without disturbing the world’s rarest penguins.

Then rejoin your minivan for the drive to Taiaroa Head to visit nesting grounds for the northern royal albatross. Search for seabirds with the widest wingspans gliding over the headlands. Then marvel at the coastline on the return to Dunedin where your day trip ends.

Customer Reviews

Hayley C W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2018

Our guide was amazing and so knowledgable! It was a small tour and so was quite personal. Wasn't rushed, but showed off a lot of Dunedin.

Gilbert M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2017

November 17, 2017
This was a wonderful way to see the beautiful city, countryside and farms of Dunedin. Our driver was a graduate student in Zoology from the University here and was knowledgeable in all aspects of our trip. The Albatross Center was most informative and we did see a couple flying. I would have liked to have spent a little more time in the Center. We also saw the fur seals on the rocks at the ocean's edge.
The Blue Penguin Colony was very interesting. The Penguin's are endangered and the area protected. We were given a talk about the Penguins and then a walk through camouflaged trenches to viewing ports. We also saw the yellow eyed Penguin in a protective area.
The drive home was along the ocean edge, beautiful scenery and the opportunity to see many other birds.
A great excursion.

Eileen R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2017

This was a great tour which gave a very comprehensive overview of Dunedin and the surrounds. Chris, owner and guide, was excellent, sharing his knowledge of the area and his passion for the wildlife freely. The tour starts with a tour of Dunedin city then we took the option of touring the inside of the castle as well as the gardens and I would highly recommend this. Our tour of the peninsula and it's wildlife viewing was great - plenty of stops for photos- a great day out.

ssstarr

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2017

We had a wonderful tour of the City of Dunedin and The Otago Peninsula with Matteo and a diverse group of travelers. From walking up the steepest street in Dunedin to observing penguins up close at The Peninsula I felt like I experienced one of the best places to visit on the South Island. Matteo was our guide and he is outstanding. It was great to have such an experienced and calm driver to take us on the tour who easily shared his extensive knowledge of the city, land and the wildlife on the peninsula. It was a fun, relaxing and really interesting day.

Paula F United States of ... 

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2017

Oustanding and knowledgeable guide and nice small group. So enjoyed the yellow penquin sanctuary, the steepest street in the world, the university which was having a graduation that day and although we did not get to view any albatros it was great to know where to look as the ship set sail. The Castle gardens were fantastic having a guided tour. Lots of great pictures from the garden. So unspoiled. Highly recommend this tour. Was only 9 of us and it sure beat the big busloads of people with only one guide per a huge amount of people. We were able to hit more places and learn more from our guide than in a large group and the price was much less than what Holland America offered.

janielkins

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2016

This was an awesome way to see the city and the Peninsula. it was a small group and the driver was safe and knowledgeable. Especially when it came to wildlife and birds as well as the Penguins, he did all he could to help us see the few that remain. We saw the baby blue penguins in the back of their boxes. If possible plan to go back to the beach in the evening to see more of the fairy penguins. In the rehab center we had a great opportunity to see a large one. Wear layers as the wind can whip up and go from warm to chilly in no time. There were lots of steps. My husband has a bad ankle, but we were able to do the entire tour, at a slower pace with his walking stick. There are rails throughout most sections. Our guide would reiterate verbal parts of the tour that we might have missed. We truly appreciated this courtesy.

Kathleen S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

Incredible tour- a definite must!!!!. Great way to spend the day, Chris our guide was the best.

Teri T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2016

This trip was one of our favorite excursions on our New Zealand/Australia adventure. Matt, our guide, was able to give us tons of information about the Otago Peninsula. The photo opportunities that this tour offered were amazing and now my new Facebook cover photo! I would highly, highly, highly recommend this tour!

Sandra

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2016

Wonderful tour and informative guide. Highly recommended. We went to several different high points around the city with fantastic views, had an interesting tour of the peninsula and city, visited the albatross area where we were lucky enough to see several albatross and we visited the penguin reserve and the penguin hospital there. Lunch was at the local castle which is more of a manor where we were able to walk around the gardens and our guide gave us interesting info about the trees and plants of the area. Highly recommend this trip.

Claudia W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2016

This tour was fabulous!! We took this tour while on a ship, and I was worried about getting back to the ship on time. However, our guide, Matt, assured us he would have us back before the ship sailed, and he did just that. We had a small group of only 7, and Matt's exuberance about his city made the day perfect. We started with a tour of the city of Dunedin, and then we went to Larnach Castle. Some of the group toured the castle, but we went through the gardens with Matt who told us about all the native plants and how the imported plants are having an effect on the wildlife of the area. After lunch on our own in a nice cafe on the castle grounds, we went to tour the penguin habitat, which was fascinating. Matt is clearly passionate about these animals, and his enthusiasm made the tour all the better. Finally we saw the albatrosses flying majestically. I'm so glad we booked this tour as it was far better than what the ship offered, and it was much less expensive.

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