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“Wow!”

The Royal Albatross Centre
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$80.72*
and up
Shore Excursion: Dunedin Highlights Small-Group...
Ranked #16 of 122 things to do in Dunedin
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: 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.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase, Activities for older children, Wheelchair access
Reviewed February 2, 2013

Saw this as part of the Elm tour which I highly recommend. The guide was excellent - a Maori woman who is a descendent of a chief of the area. The albatross viewing was the high point. Seeing these magnificent birds was exciting.

Thank Mudge2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AlbatrossCentreNZ, Manager at The Royal Albatross Centre, responded to this reviewResponded February 14, 2013

Hi, Mudge.
Thanks for your follow up. These birds are such extraordinary creatures. It’s great when our visitors can fully appreciate them in their natural habitat.

Kind regards - Annie

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1,276 - 1,280 of 1,606 reviews

Reviewed January 30, 2013

A great visitors centre and learning experience combining the fascinating Albatross rookery with an old fort. It took some discussion to overcome the 'sticker shock' but very glad we did.

Thank Geoff H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AlbatrossCentreNZ, Manager at The Royal Albatross Centre, responded to this reviewResponded February 1, 2013

Hi, GDH – EAB You must’ve opted for the longer tour which includes the fortifications and historical aspects of the headland. Great that you so enjoyed the experience. We work hard to provide a tour which our guests can relate to, while protecting this fragile environment and especially the albatross habitat. Thank you for taking the time to respond. (By the way, in case it wasn’t made clear when you were here, all funds after operating costs go back into environmental protection projects on the Otago Peninsula.)
Kind regards - Annie

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Reviewed January 27, 2013

It was a windy afternoon so there were albatross gliding over the carpark. Some reviewers suggest that seeing them in the carpark is enough, but we paid for the tour. I'd recommend that. It's very interesting & the hide is well located on the headland and quite close to nests. Hens were sitting at the time we were there and there were lots a birds flying around. I suggest you don't walk down the tracks from the carpark - there's gull poo everywhere (very stinky too).

Thank TonyLoveday
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AlbatrossCentreNZ, Manager at The Royal Albatross Centre, responded to this reviewResponded February 1, 2013

Hi, Tony – Totally agree: you may see albatross from the car park now and then but you really SEE them from the observatory. Sometimes they are almost eyeball to eyeball… and that’s when they’re flying! Sorry about the gull poo – it’s very seasonal (thank goodness) and the gulls will be gone in a week or so, as the young ones fledge. Ironically, they also have protected status in this part of the world so we simply endure them for the few weeks they’re here and hope it rains now and then to clear the path – and the air! Kind regards
Annie

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Reviewed January 26, 2013

At $40 NZD each the tour is pretty expensive and whilst the talk and video are interesting they aren't worth that much. So the sight of an albatross is what you're paying for and to be honest it still isn't worth it. We saw three birds sat on their eggs at varying distances mostly hidden by long grass. The albatross is an impressive bird but the centre is just too overpriced and not worth it. And just in case you thought you'd pop in for a coffee and enjoy the views, don't bother, it will cost you $5 each to even walk through the door.

Thank frandavi99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AlbatrossCentreNZ, Manager at The Royal Albatross Centre, responded to this reviewResponded February 1, 2013

Hi, Frandavi – Sorry you were disappointed with your experience. Just to clarify – the door charge doesn’t apply if you’re on a guided tour. It covers the Centre experience including displays and interpretation for people who prefer not to go up to the observatory. The café is a bonus. Ours is a protected nature reserve and the bird behaviour on any given day is beyond our control. Some days the flying and other activity is amazing – depends on the season, the weather and all sorts of other contingencies. Hope you enjoyed the rest of your time in Dunedin. Kind regards – Annie

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Reviewed January 26, 2013

The Albatross tour was very good, however our highlight was seeing the blue penguins coming in at night after a day of feeding - the best part of my trip so far!

Thank Shinx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AlbatrossCentreNZ, Manager at The Royal Albatross Centre, responded to this reviewResponded February 1, 2013

Glad you had such an enjoyable experience. Hope the rest of your travels go well, too. Kind regards – Annie

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