The Royal Albatross Centre
The Royal Albatross Centre
4.5
Points of Interest & LandmarksNature & Wildlife Areas
10:15 AM - 4:30 PM
Monday
10:15 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday
10:15 AM - 4:30 PM
Wednesday
10:15 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday
10:15 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday
10:15 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday
10:15 AM - 4:30 PM
Sunday
10:15 AM - 4:30 PM
About
The only chance to see... the world's only mainland Royal Albatross Breeding Colony. A unique experience to access the nature reserve to see giant albatross court, mate, raise their chicks and show off their three metre wingspans. Taiaroa Head/Pukekura is alive with wildlife species, many of them scarce nesting seabirds. Our jewel in the crown is the Northern Royal Albatross. Experience it for yourself by taking a guided tour through the Nature Reserve into the viewing Observatory. The 2012 latest Lonely Planet publication "1000 Ultimate Sights" features the Royal Albatross Centre alongside the Taj Mahal and Grand Canyon. They say of us: Here at one of New Zealand's hottest attractions the draw card is the bird life. Taiaroa Head is the site of the world's only mainland royal albatross breeding ground, where you can observe the spectacle of the albatrosses with wingspans of up to 3m coming in to land like a succession of 747s. The Royal Albatross Centre is located on the tip of the Otago Peninsula, about a 45 minute drive from Dunedin. We are operated by the Otago Peninsula Trust, a charitable trust formed in 1967 for the protection of the local natural environment. The Nature Reserve on Taiaroa Head is managed by the Department of Conservation. Taiaroa Head is also famous in New Zealand history. From a small Maori camp in the 1300s to a fortified pa where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840; from a wooden flagstaff to 1864 lighthouse to radar entrance for Otago Harbour; from an 1880s underground fortress to a large defence base in WWII. Taiaroa Head is today a Nature Reserve and an iconic wildlife attraction.
Duration: 2-3 hours
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  • Sophie
    75 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Highly recommend
    Took part in the albatross and WW2 gun tour. The albatross tour was ammazing as we got to get very close to some really cute albatross chicks and their parents coming back to feed them! The WW2 gun was also a very interesting story. Our guide was informative and nice. The gift shop is also really good!
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 16, 2023
  • Penny G
    Launceston, Australia301 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Wonderful experience
    We had a wonderful time at the centre, learning about albatross via film and talk, and then seeing up close albatross feeding their chicks. Our guide was friendly and knowledgeable. We also enjoyed lunch in the cafe following our tour. A long drive out from the city, but absolutely worth it for the scenery on the way and our tour when we arrived.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 9, 2023
  • Mindy
    Dunedin, New Zealand9 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    lovely
    all well friendly.. very expensive .. (sad that actual dunedin nites have to pay as much as the tourists. ) and can not get to the beach unless giving the farmer a money tree. all was well otherwise until the very end.. when we all were to come out of the gate form seeing the albatross's.. the tour lady was obviously in a rush to go as i realised i was locked in.. and my son had got her as she was just starting her car to leave.. i dont know what i would have done if i were locked in .. so a bit more patience was needed and they nee tdo look after their tourists.. make sure they are all out and not going to be locked in :)
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written September 10, 2023
  • Simon P
    Halifax, Canada79 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great bird experience. Terrible food preparation.
    This review falls into two categories: things you can do nothing about and things you can. Part One - A wonderful opportunity to be close to such magnificent birds. The first tour (11am) was without a single albatross being seen. There is nothing anyone can do about that. Fortunately we had time for the centre to honour their free tour (if you don’t see an albatross first time). Part - Two The only hitch with the day was having to send a “cooked” meal back to the kitchen because it wasn’t heated properly. That was within your control and you failed.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 30, 2023
  • Lynette R
    Masterton, New Zealand62 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful!
    Seeing the albatross up close was amazing! We were lucky to see them on the ground and in the air and they are so beautiful! We did the Unique tour which also took in the Fort area and that was where we actually saw the birds, so it was lucky we did both. The information was interesting and the guide was very helpful. I would recommend going here for a tour.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written November 8, 2023
  • Busy T
    Devizes, United Kingdom42 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Paying for your visit offers you a rare opportunity to support an enterprise on the frontline of wildlife preservation
    We were given great views whilst being kept a safe distance from the wildlife, thus giving it a chance! Albatross populations are in a parlours state due to unsustainable population growth which has driven habitat loss, acidification of the sea, climate change and the issues caused by plastics. So if you are on the Otago Peninsula (close to Dunedin) supporting this organisation is a must.
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written November 8, 2023
  • jmgreeneyes1966
    Rochester, New York121 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A thrilling experience
    The Royal Albatross Center is a must see. To see those amazing birds fling overhead is very thrilling. I try to support all of the tours and conservation efforts in New Zealand. These sanctuaries do incredible work.
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written November 11, 2023
  • Go11416868581
    4 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Albatross views are fantastic
    Glorious day, really lucky with albatross on nests and flying around. Gulls on the nest and many chicks. Excellent tour guide. Make sure you visit the disappearing gun.
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written November 17, 2023
  • Brandon T
    7 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Bucket list for bird lovers.
    Bucket list experience for birders. We did the Blue Penguin tour/experience and it delivered as advertised. Entertaining yet informative briefing by Linton (sp?), one of our guides for the evening. Penguins are up close and personal (no touching) once they start coming in from the ocean. Overall a great family experience. Oh and we did see an albatross.
    Visited January 2024
    Traveled with family
    Written January 6, 2024
  • Grace
    Hamilton, New Zealand11 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Absolutely incredible
    Absolutely fantastic! My husband and I did The Blue Penguins Pukekura experience tour and it was INCREDIBLE. You get a wonderful talk about the penguins and the area. The staff are friendly and so knowledgeable! Getting to the best part my husband and I and our group saw about 130 little blue penguins!! Best night ever!!! The awesome part is that the staff shuffle the group around on the platform so that everyone gets a chance to be in the best position to see everything so there was no hogging going on. Absolutely incredible Plus all of the money goes right back to the conservation of the area and the animals. So worth it!!
    Visited January 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written January 12, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Melly Adventura
Invercargill, New Zealand103 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Friends
I wanted to leave a one star review as the staff tailgated us all the way up the drive at 9.50am in the morning, when we were driving the legal speed limit, on the very narrow and winding roads. Unsure if they were late but it was not okay when you’re representing your company 20 minutes later... We booked the Unique Taiaroa tour and it was wonderfully informative and yes, definitely unique! Some of the guide’s pronunciation was difficult to understand though. Loved the Albatross experience although the observatory doesn’t do them justice, and the glass reflects back on your photos at certain viewpoints. I would not book if you were more than 10 people on the tour as we were 14 and some could not view the albatross nesting on the cliff as nobody moved and let them in to see. You do require a reasonable level of fitness to be able to climb the steep hill but you are encouraged to stop and catch a breath regularly. The cafe was full when we arrived back down at 12pm and being remote I feel too small for the demand, so we headed elsewhere.
Written February 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Kia ora and thanks for your review I really appreciate your feedback and we will certainly be looking into the issues you raised.We pride ourselves on trying to deliver the best visitor experience possible, so very much welcome your help to improve our experience. Please accept my apologies and be assured we are looking at how we can improve All the best Sophie, Marketing Manager, Otago Peninsula Trust Enterprises PRESERVING AND ENHANCING OTAGO PENINSULA SINCE 1967
Written March 16, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

hols84
Auckland, New Zealand47 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2021 • Couples
We joined an albatross tour led by Nich. From the hide we saw 5 albatross sitting on their nests and quite a few flying with a couple landing on the cliffs just in front of us. Nich was a great guide, very informative and answered all of our questions. Would highly recommend this tour and the money for the tickets goes towards the conservation of these incredible birds. Just out front of the building is a path down to a small bay where you can see fur seals so would recommend that too.
Written January 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Kia ora Hols84, Thank you for taking your time to write us a review. We are glad that you enjoyed your time here at the albatross centre ! Pukekura is indeed a special and unique experience to be able to view these magnificent wild birds in their natural habitat and see the world’s only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatross close up. A definite ‘must do’ of any visit to NZ - The Royal Albatross Centre – the Seabird Centre of the Wildlife Capital of New Zealand. Your tour fees definitely go to a good cause - for conservation and education programmes to help look after this amazing wildlife sanctuary. A portion of the tour fees also goes to Te Poāri a Pukekura co management group and supports the group's role as guardians of the headland. Our Otago Peninsula Trust, which owns the Royal Albatross Centre is NZ's first charitable conservation trust, set up in 1967 to 'preserve and enhance Otago Peninsula'. As well as supporting conservation, pest control, habitat restoration and visitor facilities we also offer special prices and days for families and locals to enable greater access and appreciation to the colony. We also run education programmes for school children at a minimal cost for the pupils; in 2019 we hosted over 1000 students. The Trust also donates over $11,000 of free tickets annually to help schools, charities and good causes fundraise. The Royal Albatross Centre itself, with it's comprehensive historical and educational displays, videos, toilets, cafe, gift shop is free to access for everyone. This is only made possible by the Trust's activities. As you will appreciate, it costs a significant amount to run a centre like this 364 days a year. We very much value all the contributions people make so that the Trust is able to offer this access and facilities to everyone year round. The cost of providing water and toilets to guests is about $100,000 per annum as water and sewage have to be trucked in and out of the headland. Thank you so much for your support of our Trust. Hope you enjoyed the rest of your trip! All the best, Chris, Operations Manager, Otago Peninsula Trust Enterprises PRESERVING AND ENHANCING OTAGO PENINSULA SINCE 1967
Written January 9, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Julie P
United Kingdom1,857 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2019
We visited the centre as part of a wildlife tour so we had access to the observation hide. When we arrived we started with a film telling about the life cycle of Albatross and the conservation programme. We were then escorted by our guide up a steep path, through the Red Billed Gull colony to a hide perched halfway up Tairoa Head. What we didn't know was that this hide is enclosed and had one way smoked glass, so photos will obviously come out dull. This is to protect the birds. They also don't tell you until you're up there that most of the birds actually nest on the other side of the hill where there is no access, so you may not see many. We were fortunate in seeing about 8 birds; some were pair bonding and others just sitting. It was a beautiful, fairly windless day so not as many were in the air as may have been, but we still saw some wheeling round.

The guide was good and knowledgeable. You only get a limited amount of time in the hide as there are regular half hour groups. If however you just turn up and don't take a tour your chance of seeing anything is slim unless there are birds in the air as they will be hidden. An alternative would be a boat trip, which some of out party did, and this will take you below the head. Plenty of parking and a shop.
Written January 2, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Kia ora and thank you for taking the time to write a review. Thank you for coming on one of our tours - we are operated under the Otago Peninsula Trust which is a charitable trust. From the money we receive through tours a large portion will go straight back into the conservation and preservation of the birds here at Taiaroa Head. This includes predator control, habitat restoration and the maintenance of the nature reserve. Part of the tour fee also goes to the restoration of the 130 year old fort and the disappearing gun.We are lucky to have the only mainland colony of breeding albatross in the world here in Dunedin and it is great having people support us through tours. It is our greatest priority to protect and preserve the albatross that breed here at the headland. It is for this main reason that all tours are guided from an enclosed observatory. The tinted windows are one-way, meaning the albatross cannot see in but we are able to get a good view of part of the colony from the warmth and shelter of the observatory. It is very special to be able to see royal albatross in their natural breeding habitat, and very exciting that you were able to see albatross in flight and engaging in social behaviour. It is all part of what makes the headland one of the most special places in the world! We are proud of the experience presented by our guiding staff and glad that you enjoyed the tour. Thank you for supporting the Otago Peninsula Trust and the Royal Albatross. We hope you enjoy the rest of your travels. Kind regards, Ali Visitor Host, Royal Albatross Centre, Otago Peninsula Trust Enterprises PRESERVING AND ENHANCING OTAGO PENINSULA SINCE 1967
Written January 6, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

buckeyetravel
Ohio316 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2019
We were not sure what to expect here but really enjoyed our visit. The Red-Billed Gulls were nesting while we were there so it was really cool as they were everywhere (and a little bit of guano to dodge-lol). These gulls are actually more endangered than the Albatross but there were so many there with eggs and chicks it was pretty cool. Inside there is a really good museum/interpretive center you can visit and the cafe was pretty good as we ate lunch there. The tour guide was very informative and friendly as you have a presentation first and then move on to the tour where you go to the blind to see the Albatross. We felt lucky as we saw several nesting pairs and some young couples in the courting phase. We also got to see a male circling the nesting area and come in for a "landing" and then waddle on over to his mate. It was a great experience and highly recommend a visit.
Written January 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Kia ora and thanks for taking the time to write a review. Thanks for supporting us by taking a tour. There is the chance for great viewing at the moment, with 4 of the albatross nests on view and adolescents back at the colony and socialising. Our team love sharing their knowledge and stories of the albatross and introducing visitors to the 'Royals of Taiaroa'. It is indeed a special and unique experience to be able to view these magnificent wild birds in their natural habitat and see the world’s only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatross close up. A definite ‘must do’ of any visit to NZ - The Royal Albatross Centre – the Seabird Centre of the Wildlife Capital of New Zealand. Your tour fees definitely go to a good cause - for conservation and education programmes to help look after this amazing wildlife sanctuary. A portion of the tour fees also goes to Te Poāri a Pukekura co management group and supports the group's role as guardians of the headland. Our Otago Peninsula Trust, which owns the Royal Albatross Centre is NZ's first charitable conservation trust, set up in 1967 to 'preserve and enhance Otago Peninsula'. As well as supporting conservation, pest control, habitat restoration and visitor facilities we also offer special prices and days for families and locals to enable greater access and appreciation to the colony. We also run education programmes for school children at a minimal cost for the pupils; in 2019 we hosted over 1000 students. The Trust also donates over $11,000 of free tickets annually to help schools, charities and good causes fundraise. The Royal Albatross Centre itself, with it's comprehensive historical and educational displays, videos, toilets, cafe, gift shop is free to access for everyone. This is only made possible by the Trust's activities. As you will appreciate, it costs a significant amount to run a centre like this 364 days a year. We very much value all the contributions people make so that the Trust is able to offer this access and facilities to everyone year round. The cost of providing water and toilets to guests is about $100,000 per annum as water and sewage have to be trucked in and out of the headland. Thank you so much for your support of our Trust. Hope you enjoyed the rest of your holiday! All the best Sophie, Marketing Manager, Otago Peninsula Trust Enterprises PRESERVING AND ENHANCING OTAGO PENINSULA SINCE 1967
Written January 23, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Murray2003
Dublin, Ireland52 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2020
We loved he visit here. Its about 45-50 minutes out of town but worth it. We recommend booking a tour.
Our guide was great and after a short video you head up to an inside viewing area for about 30 minutes. They provide binoculars which is great. After that you return to the main building, an extended tour can be booked to see the the fun emplacements and old fort area if you want. We got the 'mates rates' deal which cost us $25 each. Great value. You'll also see the red billed gulls nesting as well ( this can be seen for free in some areas)
Written September 23, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Kia Ora and thank you for taking the time to write a review. It is wonderful to hear that you enjoyed your visit to the Albatross Centre and the guided tour to see the albatross. Our team love sharing their knowledge of the headland and all the species that live upon it. It is a very special experience to be able to see these beautiful giants in their natural habitat, and also to see the red billed gulls nesting in such large numbers! We are lucky to have the world's only mainland breeding colony of albatross right here in Dunedin, along with so many other seabird species including the gulls, shags, spoonbills and penguins. Everything nests here at Taiaroa Head so well because of the abundant food sources right off the Otago Coast, and also because we trap for predators within the nature reserve. Thank you for supporting us by joining a guided tour. We are a non-profit trust and rely on tour fees to fund our conservation work which includes predator trapping, planting and weeding, supplementary feeding, education programmes, and also running the centre and its facilities. We hope you enjoyed the rest of your time on the Otago Peninsula. Laura, Senior Visitor Host, Royal Albatross Centre, Otago Peninsula Trust Enterprises PRESERVING AND ENHANCING OTAGO PENINSULA SINCE 1967
Written October 6, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Sharpeze
Dunedin, New Zealand334 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
A long drive down to this attraction but so worth it for the amazing views and wild life. Even though we have lived in DN we have never actually been here. We didn’t pay for the tour to view the Albatross but in the information centre there is a lot to read and videos to watch, There is even a cafe and gift shop. Out side there are hundreds of Seagulls and a small rabbit came and started eating the grass and wasn’t scared of the birds or people walking around.on,y down side is it is a bit smelly and when you park your car don’t be surprised to come back to a few birds poos on it . Haha
Written February 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Kia ora thank you for taking your time to write us a review, We are very glad that you enjoy your time at the albatross centre. Thank you for your kind words and your support for the Albatross centre. The Royal Albatross Centre itself, with it's comprehensive historical and educational displays, videos, toilets, cafe, gift shop is free to access for everyone. This is only made possible by the Trust's activities. As you will appreciate, it costs a significant amount to run a centre like this 364 days a year. We very much value all the contributions people make so that the Trust is able to offer this access and facilities to everyone year round. The cost of providing water and toilets to guests is about $100,000 per annum as water and sewage have to be trucked in and out of the headland. Thank you so much for your support of our Trust. We are very lucky to have the only mainland albatross breeding colony in the world - while the rest of other species nest on isolated islands. Such accessibility emphasizes the importance of conservation management necessary for the birds here at Pukekura. Our Otago Peninsula Trust, which owns the Royal Albatross Centre is NZ's first charitable conservation trust, set up in 1967 to 'preserve and enhance Otago Peninsula'. As well as supporting conservation, pest control, habitat restoration and visitor facilities we also offer special prices and days for families and locals to enable greater access and appreciation to the colony. We also run education programmes for school children at a minimal cost for the pupils; in 2019 we hosted over 1000 students. The Trust also donates over $11,000 of free tickets annually to help schools, charities and good causes fundraise. Thank you again. Hope you enjoyed the rest of your holiday! All the best, Janice, Senior Visitor Host, Otago Peninsula Trust Enterprises PRESERVING AND ENHANCING OTAGO PENINSULA SINCE 1967
Written March 15, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

blackadderjdx
Brisbane, Australia8 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
Definitely worth the drive, we were lucky to score an excellent guide (Julian from memory). He was very patient answering many questions from my 11 year old son. The albatross is a beautiful animal, we were lucky enough to get really close to the albatross via the optional Fort Tour

We also stayed for the penguin viewing at the beach which was excellent. The only negative was that some people were selfish and would not rotate positions to allow others to see where the penguins were most active when coming up out of the water. An easy solution to this would be getting the tour group split into 2 before leaving the main building and ask each group to wear a different coloured fluro vest. Then when everyone reaches the viewing platform, tour guides could designate one group to access one area and the other group another. Then after say 20 mins, get the groups to swap positions. This would help to eliminate lazy and selfish guests occupying the same spot all night.

One word of warning for guests visiting the centre, there are LOTS of seagulls here. Lots of seagulls equates to lots of seagull droppings and dont be surprised if your car is covered by the time you leave. Our car was bad enough to warrant visiting a car wash in Dunedin on the way home

I hope this centre continues to grow and draw in many visitors, they are doing fantastic work!
Written February 3, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Kia ora and thanks for taking the time to write such a great review. Thanks for supporting us by taking a tour - and for the compliments for Julien! We'll also chat to the team about the penguin rotation and to keep a better eye on people rotating, thats such a pity that some spoil it for others - we want everyone to have the chance to see the wonderful little blue penguins. We've had a few comments about the seagulls - as we say "The smell of guano is the smell of success - we have the onlt red-billed gull colony not in decline in NZ, thats pretty special - they do get a bit messy though! There is the chance for great viewing at the moment, with 4 of the albatross nests on view and adolescents back at the colony and socialising. Our team love sharing their knowledge and stories of the albatross and introducing visitors to the 'Royals of Taiaroa'. It is indeed a special and unique experience to be able to view these magnificent wild birds in their natural habitat and see the world’s only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatross close up. A definite ‘must do’ of any visit to NZ - The Royal Albatross Centre – the Seabird Centre of the Wildlife Capital of New Zealand. Your tour fees definitely go to a good cause - for conservation and education programmes to help look after this amazing wildlife sanctuary. A portion of the tour fees also goes to Te Poāri a Pukekura co management group and supports the group's role as guardians of the headland. Our Otago Peninsula Trust, which owns the Royal Albatross Centre is NZ's first charitable conservation trust, set up in 1967 to 'preserve and enhance Otago Peninsula'. As well as supporting conservation, pest control, habitat restoration and visitor facilities we also offer special prices and days for families and locals to enable greater access and appreciation to the colony. We also run education programmes for school children at a minimal cost for the pupils; in 2019 we hosted over 1000 students. The Trust also donates over $11,000 of free tickets annually to help schools, charities and good causes fundraise. The Royal Albatross Centre itself, with it's comprehensive historical and educational displays, videos, toilets, cafe, gift shop is free to access for everyone. This is only made possible by the Trust's activities. As you will appreciate, it costs a significant amount to run a centre like this 364 days a year. We very much value all the contributions people make so that the Trust is able to offer this access and facilities to everyone year round. The cost of providing water and toilets to guests is about $100,000 per annum as water and sewage have to be trucked in and out of the headland. Thank you so much for your support of our Trust. Hope you enjoyed the rest of your holiday! All the best Sophie, Marketing Manager, Otago Peninsula Trust Enterprises PRESERVING AND ENHANCING OTAGO PENINSULA SINCE 1967
Written February 10, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Kristina H
New Plymouth, New Zealand137 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2021 • Family
We chose to do the Albatross Blues combo, which starts at 7pm. We had a fantastic experience seeing the Albatross, we were lucky enough to see 20 albatross from the viewing platform (which provided binoculars), and we were so lucky to see a three day old albatross chick! We spent over an hour up at the viewing platform, and the guide Janice was great at answering questions and providing information about the albatross.
The little blue penguin tour was at 9:30pm, so we had time to have a bite to eat at the cafe. The penguins were so beautiful, we saw roughly 175+ on the night we went. The viewing platform is fantastic, with lights underneath so we could see the penguins. The guides were also great, and provided good information.
Overall a fantastic tour, well worth doing to see these beautiful animals.
Written January 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Kia ora Kristinah156, Thank you for taking your time to write us a review. We are glad that you enjoyed your time at the albatross centre! Thank you for your kind words. We were really lucky to see so many albatross and penguins that day! Your tour fees definitely go to a good cause - for conservation and education programmes to help look after this amazing wildlife sanctuary. A portion of the tour fees also goes to Te Poāri a Pukekura co management group and supports the group's role as guardians of the headland. Our Otago Peninsula Trust, which owns the Royal Albatross Centre is NZ's first charitable conservation trust, set up in 1967 to 'preserve and enhance Otago Peninsula'. As well as supporting conservation, pest control, habitat restoration and visitor facilities we also offer special prices and days for families and locals to enable greater access and appreciation to the colony. We also run education programmes for school children at a minimal cost for the pupils; in 2019 we hosted over 1000 students. The Trust also donates over $11,000 of free tickets annually to help schools, charities and fundraising events. Thank you so much for your support of our Trust. Hope you enjoyed the rest of your holiday! All the best, Janice, Senior Visitor Host, Otago Peninsula Trust PRESERVING AND ENHANCING OTAGO PENINSULA SINCE 1967
Written January 27, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

johnfcook
Timaru, New Zealand29 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Friends
Great destination for wildlife. Albatross are sitting and incubating their eggs. Also saw Red Billed gulls, Shags and a few fur seals. The tour to the observatory was well worth the fee, our guide was informative and helpful, answering lots of questions and making sure we got the most from our visit. Not our first visit nor our last.
Written January 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Kia ora and thanks for taking the time to write a review. Thanks for supporting us by taking a tour - and coming back again, there is so much wildlife to see and admire, and so much happening at different times of the year that its almost addictive! There is the chance for great viewing at the moment, with 4 of the albatross nests on view and adolescents back at the colony and socialising. Our team love sharing their knowledge and stories of the albatross and introducing visitors to the 'Royals of Taiaroa'. It is indeed a special and unique experience to be able to view these magnificent wild birds in their natural habitat and see the world’s only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatross close up. A definite ‘must do’ of any visit to NZ - The Royal Albatross Centre – the Seabird Centre of the Wildlife Capital of New Zealand. Your tour fees definitely go to a good cause - for conservation and education programmes to help look after this amazing wildlife sanctuary. A portion of the tour fees also goes to Te Poāri a Pukekura co management group and supports the group's role as guardians of the headland. Our Otago Peninsula Trust, which owns the Royal Albatross Centre is NZ's first charitable conservation trust, set up in 1967 to 'preserve and enhance Otago Peninsula'. As well as supporting conservation, pest control, habitat restoration and visitor facilities we also offer special prices and days for families and locals to enable greater access and appreciation to the colony. We also run education programmes for school children at a minimal cost for the pupils; in 2019 we hosted over 1000 students. The Trust also donates over $11,000 of free tickets annually to help schools, charities and good causes fundraise. The Royal Albatross Centre itself, with it's comprehensive historical and educational displays, videos, toilets, cafe, gift shop is free to access for everyone. This is only made possible by the Trust's activities. As you will appreciate, it costs a significant amount to run a centre like this 364 days a year. We very much value all the contributions people make so that the Trust is able to offer this access and facilities to everyone year round. The cost of providing water and toilets to guests is about $100,000 per annum as water and sewage have to be trucked in and out of the headland. Thank you so much for your support of our Trust. Hope you enjoyed the rest of your holiday! All the best Sophie, Marketing Manager, Otago Peninsula Trust Enterprises PRESERVING AND ENHANCING OTAGO PENINSULA SINCE 1967
Written February 10, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Stewarts Vacation
1,543 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2021
We saw thousands of seagulls, but not one albatross! Admittedly, we did not pay the $52 per adult for a 1 hour walking tour to see 4 nesting albatrosses - quite pricey we thought. Perhaps December is also not the time to see them, although the internet suggests December to March as the best time to view them!
There is an informative and interesting exhibit at the Centre as well as a cafe providing good coffee and reasonably priced edibles. Apple strudel with cream and ice cream - highly recommended. There is a short walk down to an adjacent beach where fur seals laze on the beach or frolic in the water. We saw a number of nesting sites for penguins, but no penguins. Apparently dusk is the opportune time to sight them.
Overall, a bit disappointing as we had hoped to experience the albatrosses soaring through the air!
Written December 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Kia Ora Stewart, Thank you for taking the time to write a review, great to hear you enjoyed your visit to the centre and cafe. It's a shame you didn't manage to spot any albatross out in flight - they come and go at different times throughout the day. The albatross nest inside a nature reserve managed by the Department of Conservation who allow us access by permit to the observatory, which helps to minimise disturbance to the birds. Summer is definitely the best time to see them, however seeing them in flight is usually weather dependent. These seabirds need a good breeze to get enough lift to glide around the headland, if it is a warm sunny day with no wind they usually conserve their energy by sleeping until it picks up again. Also, over the summer we have the adolescent albatross who arrive in to court and socialise in the afternoons and evenings - this is fantastic to see from our observatory! We are run by Aotearoa's oldest non profit conservation trust, the Otago Peninsula Trust. The fees from joining our guided tours help to fund some of the conservation projects in the reserve, as well as education projects and the running of the entire centre and it's facilities. Thank you again for visiting. We hope you make it back for another visit sometime to see the birds. Nga mihi, Laura, Senior Visitor Host, Royal Albatross Centre, PRESERVING AND ENHANCING THE OTAGO PENINSULA SINCE 1967
Written January 1, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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The Royal Albatross Centre - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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