Join our guide Mateo (an Otago Peninsula local) on a full-day tour of Dunedin City and the Otago Peninsula.
"We were left buzzing with all the beauty and experiences" - Frans and Monica on TripAdvisor
"Great service, great guide... Great for cruise ship passengers" - Kate on TripAdvisor
Departing promptly in the morning we will take in beautiful Dunedin City. Highlights will include photographic opportunities of the beautiful University of Otago campus, Signal Hill lookout, a drive through the Octagon and George St to admire Dunedin's impressive architecture, a short walk at Baldwin St - the steepest street in the world, and a stop at the Dunedin Railway Station.
We leave Dunedin City and head towards the Otago Peninsula - Mateo's backyard. Beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean and Otago Harbour abound as we wind our way towards Larnach Castle. A stop will be made for a panoramic photograph opportunity along the way and we will learn about the difficulties that the early settlers faced when they arrived to Dunedin in the 1800's as Mateo shares his family history on the Otago Peninsula - a farm that has been in his family for over 150 years!
Larnach Castle will be our next destination with a longer stop here. The Peninsula Perfection tour includes entrance to the Larnach Castle gardens, ballroom cafe area. There is an opportunity to take a self-guided walk around the property or alternatively join Mateo for a short walk through the Native Plant Trail as he shares some knowledge about a few of the special trees growing in the gardens. After exploring the Castle grounds there will be a chance to buy a delicious lunch in the ballroom cafe - fuel for our action-packed afternoon.
A scenic drive around the bays and inlets of Otago Peninsula with our eyes peeled for the many wading birds to be found on the coast leads us to Penguin Place. Penguin Place is a private conservation reserve for Yellow-eyed Penguins and we will learn about the lives of these extremely endangered penguins. An easy to moderate guided walk with just your tour group (taken by Mateo, an ex-guide) allows us wonderful viewing opportunities of these elusive penguins and other marine wildlife (NZ furseals and Little Blue Penguins) all whilst supporting the conservation of these wonderful penguins.
Each month is different at Penguin Place so please use this chart to get an idea of what might be happening at the time of your visit and read below for the latest update:
October 2019 - Spring update: We are currently experiencing record low numbers of Yellow-eyed Penguins - an 86% decrease in the total population over the last two decades has been devastating. Viewing will be variable and we never expect to see quantity but rather we focus on quality of the viewing.
We have made it through winter feeding and now we are into the breeding season. Our first egg in the viewing area was laid on 25th September 2019 (see the gallery picture of Toby curiously looking at the egg in the nest)! Tash and Toby will spend the next 40 days incubating the egg and all going to plan raising their chick for a further 14-16 weeks. The nest is in a very nice location (with a moderate walk to get there) and should provide excellent viewing of this pair of Yellow-eyed Penguins on tour. We expect more egg laying in the coming days and depending on location this may add to the viewing! Of course, little blue penguins and NZ fur seals are still a major and regular attraction in the wild.
While this is very much a great start to viewing and breeding season in the reserve, the Yellow-eyed Penguin is at severe risk. This is a penguin whose prognosis is potential mainland extinction within the next 10-20 years! Your entrance fees to Penguin Place (included in the tour price) go directly towards the conservation of these wonderful creatures...you can help save the Yellow-eyed Penguin from extinction by joining us on tour! If you would like any further updates on the expected viewing before booking please email us.
Our final stop is at Taiaroa Head. We will hope the wind has picked up a little by this stage so that we can see the wonderful Royal Albatross. With a wingspan of 3.2 metres they are an impressive bird to view in flight!
Time now to get back on the bus and head towards the hotel or cruise ship. A chance to ask questions and relax as we wind our way around the many bays of the Otago Harbour satisfied that we have seen the jewel in the crown in New Zealand's wildlife capital - Dunedin.
*We cannot guarantee any or all of the wildlife will be seen on every tour - it is wild after all, and that's the way we want it to stay! But we are confident you will experience some special viewing moments whilst learning about and enjoying the best of what's on offer on the day of your tour :)
Full-day - 7.5 hours (approx.)
What is included:
- Transport (Hotel to Hotel, or to/from Port Chalmers Cruise Ship Terminal)
- Mateo - your local guide offering expert commentary and keeping you comfortable all day
- Entrance fees to Larnach Castle (Garden's Only)
- Private guided tour at Penguin Place Conservation Reserve.
What to bring:
- A warm, waterproof jacket
- A sunhat and sunscreen
- Your camera
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Money/Credit Card for gifts/souvenirs and lunch
Our promises to you:
- untamedNZ pride ourselves on small group touring - we guarantee you will have 10 or fewer people in your tour group.
- Cruise ship passengers have a 'back on the boat' guarantee.