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“A highlight of the South Island”

The Royal Albatross Centre
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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: Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase, Wheelchair access, Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Reviewed May 11, 2014

This was one of our most memorable experiences in the South Island. Seeing the albatross close up feeding its chick is unforgettable. There is nowhere else in the world where one can do this! Our guide to the 'hide' was knowledgeable and personable. The educational centre itself is very instructive and well presented. We enjoyed lunch in the adjoining cafe while watching these wonderful birds flying overhead. And the drive along the Otago Peninsula is very pleasant. Overall a not-to-be-missed attraction.

Thank Margaret S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"disappearing gun"
in 78 reviews
"royal albatross centre"
in 109 reviews
"blue penguins"
in 124 reviews
"amazing birds"
in 49 reviews
"unique tour"
in 15 reviews
"viewing area"
in 57 reviews
"penguin tour"
in 54 reviews
"adult birds"
in 23 reviews
"birds flying"
in 31 reviews
"otago peninsula"
in 92 reviews
in 30 reviews
"taiaroa head"
in 35 reviews
"money goes"
in 15 reviews
"conservation work"
in 15 reviews
"the cliff"
in 28 reviews
"gift shop"
in 39 reviews
"sea birds"
in 29 reviews

1,095 - 1,099 of 1,603 reviews

Reviewed May 10, 2014

It was windy out there and the rain came and went all the time. Perfect weather to fly, apparently, and we saw plenty of juveniles coming to land in March. The guides and the exhibits are very informative too. $40 may be steep but it's more comfortable than a rough ride at sea!

If you're not sure whether to commit to a tour just hang out in the carpark. If the birds are flying you can see them bobbing over the hill and around the cliffs. Even if they aren't the scenery is worth the drive.

Thank bargeboards
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 6, 2014

This tour is the best when the weather is clear unfortunately we had mist so in the distance we see something that must be a bird with a chicken. But the guide told a lot so without seeing we learned a lot.

Thank georgebilthoven
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 4, 2014

We had lots of brochures and Otago peninsula information but nowhere did it say that this attraction didn't open till 11:30 am! We left Dunedin central at 9 am as we were told that it would take 45 mins to drive out there. As we got near Tairoa Head we realised that something was wrong as there was a steady stream of cars heading back towards us it at 9.45am. I just could not believe the opening hours. Would have been fine if that was in the brochures and we knew what to expect. Even the I-site in Dunedin had no idea because I went and growled at them later about it. However the scenery is freat out there and we did the lookout walk and watched the majestic albatross soar on the thermals. This was a one in a lofetime family experince so most disappointing. We were there on Thurs 17 April and the weather precluded us from going out there the next day but probably would have been closed on Good Friday anyway. There were heaps of people arriving while we were there - I estimate 40 cars.

Thank rosieterry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 3, 2014 via mobile

Did the penguin visit, hosts/guides were great but I think it's the wrong time of year to see good penguin activity. We still saw some and worth it but would be keen to come back when they are at peak numbers.
Toilets in main centre smelt terrible :-(

Thank Chch_kraig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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