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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.


  • 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

Recent Photos of This Tour

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


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.


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!


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.

Robert T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2016

Very informative. Excellant guide. Wildlife park was great feeding the animals.

Albert B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2015

Experience tour guide worked at Penguin Reserve - fantastic experience with incomparable views - highly recommend this tour

Jason B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

We had a wonderful, wonderful time on this trip. It was rainy, windy, and a little snowy ! in downtown Dunedin the day we were supposed to leave. Les, our tour guide, came to our hotel about an hour before and asked if we wanted to opt out. Like the idiots abroad my wife and I were, we said Ah, it's only a little chilly, the snow is melting as soon as it hits the ground, we'll be fine! Haha, don't make this similar mistake, people! The trip takes you out to some high high places, where the snow that is melting outside your hotel suddenly packs, and out on the peninsula you'll get the full force of the cold southerly oceanic winds. So, with the attitude of the customer is always right Les agreed to wing it and away we went for 7 hours. There were some things which just weren't accesible - we couldn't get all the way up Signal Hill, a winding, winding road which was packed with slippery snow. We couldn't get to the castle as the storm had felled 3 trees along the path though poor beleagured Les tried TWICE, once early in the day and once later in the day to see if the path cleared. What we DID get was an awesome, awesome tour guide who loved Dunedin, knew all about the history, was happy to field any and all questions no matter how weird. It is OBVIOUS Les loves Dunedin and loves to share it with people. And lemme tell you, even in good weather those narrow roads are pretty terrifying, driving up hills so high your ears pop a few times during the trip, and I'm sure some people look at a map from their home in the States and think Gosh we could rent a car and do this ourselves... Well, I don't recommend that at all!! Get someone who has driven those roads before. What did we LOVE? We loved the albatross area with the beautiful ocean views. We loved seeing Dunedin from all sides of the city, looking down. We REALLY loved the beaches. What we really loved was getting a good Dunedin 101 course from Les as we drove. This is an essential trip!

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