Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula Wildlife Tour - Reviews

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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.

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!

robert h

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2015

We really enjoyed this tour as it included a nice mixture of sites in Dunedin, a visit to the gardens of Larnach Castle, an excellent visit of the fascinating yellow penguin reserve on the Otago peninsula and a brief stop to see the albatross at Taiaroa Head. And in between the guide made several stops for us to admire the breath-taking scenery, e.g. views from on top of Signal Hill in Dunedin of the city, the surrounding hills and the ocean. We also made a number of brief stops on the Otago peninsula - everywhere we looked the scenery was beautiful! The pace of the tour was just right - kept us busy and engaged for a nicely filled day. The only negative was the lunch at Larnach Castle. The site was lovely but we found that the food was pretty poor. Lunch was at our expense but we were disappointed with the quality of the food. Nonetheless, this tour was wonderful and we highly recommend it.

George B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2015

An excellent tour.

The guide was attentive and pleasant. Dunedin is lovely, but the nature and sights of Otago were the most amazing parts

A good value, too!

Robert N

4 star rating: Recommended
November 2017

Our driver was a great guy and did everything he could to make the trip special. However, the van we were in was kind of tight and the sound system to hear his commentary was kind of weak. Would do it again except get to the van early to get better seats.

Judy S

4 star rating: Recommended
November 2017

The good - very good tour guide. The ship we came in on that morning was quite late getting the passengers off, but the company waited for all of us and still fit in the entire tour. The not great - don't expect to see penguins walking around on the beach. This is a very endangered species and very few are left. There where only 8 nesting pairs in the preserve and only one nest in the viewing area, which we could only see with binoculars. There were 2 in the hospital which we could easily see. We did get a good, educational lecture at the preserve. I am still glad we took it and did enjoy the tour. Caution, the trails you will walk on in the preserve not only have steps, but are very steep in places. It was quite a workout for most of our group and others whom I spoke with.

rlopienski

4 star rating: Recommended
March 2017

The Larnach Castle is nice, but the highlight was going to Penguin Place, into the trenches of the rare and endangered Yellow Eyed Penguins. We also saw the little blue penguins and seals. The albatross were not out during the time we went to their special area.

Donald C

4 star rating: Recommended
March 2017

My wife and I would give these young men very high grades on their sharing of information and customer relations. We learned so much about the Otago Peninsula where we were staying as well as the larger city of Dunedin. It was a delight to learn about Matthew's family history when we were on the peninsula high road where people are making a living as cattle and sheep farmers. He is also educated and experienced with the rehabilitation of the yellow-eyed penguin population. We would recommend this tour option to anyone who is looking for an experience around a broad range of subjects.

John N

4 star rating: Recommended
March 2017

The highlight of the tour was our guide, who was wonderful. He had great knowledge of the area, the outdoors, the birdlife, and especially the history of New Zealand and the peninsula. The tour got off to a not very good start. There was chaos trying to sort out in the passenger terminal who was on which tour and which bus or van. As it turned out, the van was packed and too cramped. I was also disppointed that the tour did not include the inside of the albatross facility, which I thought was included. The penguin sanctuary was great and Larnach castle was OK the castle highlight for me was the gardens.

tmusky

4 star rating: Recommended
January 2017

We stopped to see the steepest street in the world, then stopped at a University to see a building architecture, then off to see penguins, seals and albatross. The bus and guide were good, the penguin guide was quite good, saw one penguin chick in the wild and a blue penguin on nest, lots of seals close up, several yellow-eye penguins under rehab, and one albatross for several seconds but later saw several and nesting birds while passing through the area on cruise boat. The weather was horrible on our day with lots of rain which fogged up the bus windows badly, not much the tour company can do about that. However, this was one of our best days on our NZ cruise so we would recommend it.

Donald D

4 star rating: Recommended
January 2017

Not enouigh time to experience each destination. Weather was terrible but sites were interesting.

Val W

4 star rating: Recommended
January 2017

penguins and hiking! as an added bonus, the fees go towards protecting the penguins habit and rehabilitating injured birds

jacklyn j

4 star rating: Recommended
February 2016

Daniel is a rockstar - we had a fabulous day with him

Olivia K

4 star rating: Recommended
December 2014

It was a lovely tour, our German tour guide was very entertaining. The highlight of the tour was the Penguin place!

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