Experience the rare, natural wonders of the Otago Peninsula with an eco-tour, cruise or nature walk.
Otago Peninsula Trust
Stretching 20km from Dunedin city, the Otago Peninsula is famous as the nexus of Dunedin’s title of ‘The Wildlife Capital of New Zealand’ and ‘The Seabird Capital of the World’. It’s home to some of the most uncommon sub-Antarctic wildlife in the world. Protecting this unique area, the Otago Peninsula Trust has developed a number of exciting and sustainable attractions for visitors - www.otagopeninsulatrust.co.nz.
Little Blue Penguins, Royal Albatross Colony
At the northern end of the peninsula you will find the Taiaroa Head Reserve. Situated here is the world’s only mainland breeding colony of the Royal Albatross. The centre provides information about local wildlife and offers a number of eco-tours. Throughout the year you can watch albatross adults breeding, building nests and raising their giant chicks, spot little blue penguins, seals and identify other seabirds. You can also visit Fort Taiaroa, which showcases the areas military history. Here you can explore hidden underground tunnels, look at panoramic ocean views and see the fascinating disappearing gun. Combine both experiences with their most popular Unique Taiaroa Tour, $62 for adults and $20 for children. Make sure to stop for a tasty bite to eat afterwards at the Albatross Café while you wait for the magical evening blue penguin tour and see the world’s smallest penguins coming home to their nests.
Albatross chick, Taiaroa Head lighthouse, Royal Albatross Colony
Also operated by the Trust, Glenfalloch Woodland Garden, established in 1871, is a stunning microclimate of colour and vitality. Wander the gardens at your leisure before dining out at their beautiful restaurant, which is acknowledged as one of Dunedin’s top places to dine.
Monarch Wildlife Cruises and Tours
Cruises, tours and walks
Monarch Wildlife Cruises and Tours offer wonderful boat trips around the shoreline and bus tours through some of the more remote parts of the peninsula to view wildlife from a different perspective. They operate daily hour-long trips from the Wellers Rock wharf, or half and full-day tours from downtown Dunedin. Along with information about the natural flora and fauna, the experienced guides also share their knowledge of the history and geology of the region –
Sealions and Yellow Eyed Penguins, Elm Wildlife Tours
Also offering a number of environmentally conscious trips are Elm Wildlife Tours. Having won many awards for their commitment to eco-tourism, Elm not only lead tours around the peninsula and the southern coast by bus, foot and boat, but are also active in conservation. Focusing on the yellow-eyed penguin, their work aims to protect and extend potential breeding grounds and habitats in the area – www.elmwildlifetours.co.nz.
The dramatic coastal scenery is best experienced on a stunning nature walk. Although you may encounter wildlife along the way, remember (for your safety and theirs) to stay 10 metres away from sleeping animals and 20 from those active.