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Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula Wildlife Tour

star-4.5
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Dunedin, New Zealand
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icon7 hours  (Approx.)
Hotel pickup offered
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English

Overview

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 a visit to the gardens of Larnach Castle, with the option to go inside and buy lunch. 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.
  • 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
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.

Next, 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 (choose the Castle option when booking). 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 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.
Itinerary
Stop At:  
Signal Hill
Great View of Dunedin
Duration: 7 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Baldwin Street: The Steepest Street in the World
Take a picture of the steepest residential street in the world!
Duration: 7 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
University of Otago
A short minute walk to the oldest University in NZ - the 'clock tower building' is absolutely stunning!
Duration: 7 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Dunedin Railway Station
You'll have 10 minutes to enjoy this unique building - an absolute work of art and easily NZ's finest.
Duration: 10 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Otago Peninsula
We'll spend about 5 hours on the Peninsula where we'll visit a couple of attractions and get out of the bus as much as possible.
Duration: 5 hours 
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Larnach Castle & Gardens
We go to the castle primarily for the gardens however you will be given the option during the booking process to go inside. The gardens are of international significance and have some of the finest views of the harbour. Lunch (not included) can be ordered in the 'Ballroom Cafe'
Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Penguin Place
Your nature guide will take you into a unique reserve to look for the third largest and rarest penguin in the world - the Yellow-Eyed Penguin, listed as 'critically endangered'. You are alos likely to come across NZ fur seals and Little Blue Penguins
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Taiaroa Head
Our guide will take you to the cliff tops to look for the majestic 'Northern Royal Albatross'
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Free

Traveler Photos

Reviews

4.5
star-4.5
65 Reviews
5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star
Reviews by Viator travelers
star-5
Albatross and penguin sightings
Dale_A
, Mar 2020
We had a really great day! Our guide was amazing and knew just where to go to get the best wildlife views.
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
Hi Dale, Thanks for your 5 star review! There is no doubt their are better times and certain places that enhance your opportunities to see the wildlife on the Otago Peninsula. Our guides take into account a whole host of variables before the tour starts to make sure you get the best experience that day. Its great to hear you enjoyed your day in Dunedin. Your a Back to Nature Legend - Haste Ye Back!
star-5
Great tour of the Otago Peninsula
Anita_G
, Mar 2020
The tour through Dunedin and around the peninsula was very enjoyable and Ben was a great guide. After being picked up directly at the port, we headed to Dunedin and had an opportunity to see and walk up Baldwin Street. Went to the university (consider dropping this from the tour - not terribly interesting although Ben did his best), the railway station (very cool), and passed by the town hall and the church. We then headed to Larnach Castle. I didn't think I would be very interested in the castle and didn't pay for the extra tour but I found the walk around the grounds to be quite nice. We then headed to the peninsula. Ben pointed out several bird species and then took us to a beach to see sea lions (another very cool stop). We then headed to see penguins - didn't see any yellow-eyed penguins in the wild but did see some little blue penguins. Saw several penguin species at Penguin Place as well as lots of seals. Last stop was at the nesting grounds for the royal northern albatross. Saw several of these beautiful birds and got some great photos. This was definitely the highlight of the tour for me. Ben was very knowledgeable and a great guide. Definitely recommend this tour.
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
Hello Anita, Thank you for your 5 star review, it really makes our day when we get this kind feedback. We realise your busy so to take the time to let us know you enjoyed your time with Back to Nature Tours really make our day! Haste Ye Back!
star-5
A Must-Do Day Tour at Dunedin
Christine
, Mar 2020
Ollie is very professional and I knew I was in good hands the moment I met him. Well timed and well paced; no stress and I am so glad I got to view lots of Otago Peninsula's scenery and learn about history at the same time. In short, I had an unforgettable experience! Thank you, Ollie, Chris and Back to Nature Tours.
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
Hi Christine, Thanks for the 5 star review! Oli is certainly laid back, that's the way he conducts his tours, and from the feedback we get it sounds like it works:) Structuring your interpretation during a tour is a real skill - Oli has been guiding with us for three years so he's managed to perfect that - we're glad you chose us! If your ever back down this way make sure you get in touch for a clan discount, you're a Back to Nature legend haste ye Back!
star-5
Otago Peninsula and wildlife tour
Linda
, Mar 2020
Ollie did a great job! He took us to see fur seals, albatross' and pointed out many birds only found in New Zealand. He gave us time to tour the Larnach Castle, too. We really enjoyed visiting the yellow eyed penguins. Thanks, Ollie for making it a wonderful, memorable day.
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
Hi Linda, Thank you for the kind 5 star review, we're really happy you enjoyed your time with Oli. He is passionate about the wildlife on the Otago Peninsula and loves to share her expert knowledge with people like you - I'll pass the feedback onto him. Your're a Back to Nature Legend! Haste Ye Back!
star-5
Great way to experience the wildlife of the peninsula
William_B
, Mar 2020
It was a great tour in which we got to see yellow eyed penguins, albatrosses and numerous other birds. The tour guide Oli really knows what he is talking about and was very good about answering questions. If you have the time you should go ahead and enjoy this tour, it's worth it. Thanks to Oli for a great day!
icon Response from Host , Mar 2020
Hi William, Thanks for your 5 star review - Oli loves taking people out on our full day tour and mentioned that you were a really fun group. From all the team at Back to Nature Tours Haste Ye Back!
star-5
Personal and close up tour
Paulaben111
, Feb 2020
Ben was extremely knowledgeable about the local area, economy and wildlife. As it's a small group in a smaller vehicle he takes you on the smaller roads alongside the bay to get close up to the birds and a very confident sea lion. Recommended.
icon Response from Host , Feb 2020
Kia Ora Paulaben11, Thanks for taking the time to support us, your 5 star review really makes our day. We specialize in putting small groups together to give you the best experience possible when you visit Dunedin - it's important that you get to personable experience from our guides. I'll pass your regards on when I see Ben for our staff dinner this evening. Have a great day - you're a Back to Nature legend! Haste Ye Back!
star-5
Sweet yellow eyed penguins !
Nicole P
, Jan 2020
A great small group tour with a knowledgeable , energetic and helpful tour guide. We saw penguins in the wild. Very nice tour.
icon Response from Host , Jan 2020
Hi Nicole, Thank you for your 5 start review, it really makes our day. The Yellow Eyed Penguin is the rarest penguin in the world - we're so glad you managed to see them. Wildlife on the peninsula can be elusive, especially during the day, haste ye back!
star-4
Nice
heleneschmolz
, Nov 2019
Interesting tour with diverse wildlife. Includes a few walks that were nice, good viewpoints. Tour guide very knowledgeable.
icon Response from Host , Dec 2019
hi Helene, Great to hear you enjoyed your time in our beautiful city! All the best! Haste Ye Back!
star-5
A great tour
Sherry M
, Nov 2019
We were able to see everything promised and thoroughly enjoyed the tour, Unfortunately we did not see any albatross but the tour guide was great and we loved the sights and the yellow penguins. Lanarch Castle was lovely and the railroad station was very impressive.
icon Response from Host , Dec 2019
Its people like you that we love. Those that live in the moment and understand nature on nature's terms. Your're a Back to Nature Legend! Haste Ye Back!
star-5
Great Excursion at a Great Price
Denverite2
, Nov 2019
Back to Nature Tours provides a complete tour of Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula (showing more in one day than any other company we found) at an extremely reasonable price. Ben, our guide, was very knowledgeable about the area and quite an expert on the flora and fauna (especially penguins!). A thoroughly informative and enjoyable day!
icon Response from Host , Dec 2019
Hi Denveri, Thank you for your feedback - it really does make it all worth while - we'll pass it on to Ben. Back to Nature Tours is one of the oldest tourism companies in Dunedin and we aim to make our tours comprehensive and affordable - glad you enjoyed it! Haste Ye Back!

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