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Truly terrific tour - highly recommend! A++

My husband and I booked the standard peninsula encounter. Our guide, Chris, was extremely... read more

Reviewed 20 June 2023
Tourist647607
Highly Recommended Outfit

Very impressed with these guys from start to finish. On time pick-up, great briefing & commentary... read more

Reviewed 6 May 2023
Andy F
,
Devizes, United Kingdom
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Reviewed 12 April 2019 via mobile

Our tour guides, Shawn and Donna, arrived at the pickup location on time and we set off to see the sights. They provided good binoculars for anyone without them and stopped often to pint out various birds along the route. In our van of 11, there were 5 of us who purchased the albatross experience. This got us into the Royal Albatross Center where we climbed to the top of the hill into the observation area over some of the albatross nests. Not only were 3 chicks visible and active, several younger albatross (not parents) were flying around the area. We had plenty of time to observe the birds while our guide was informative (but not obtrusive).

From there, we headed out to another area and walked down to a secluded beach where we were greeted by several yellow eyed penquins walking the beach. We learned of the plight of these endangered penquins and some of the efforts being made to maintain their numbers.

After the penquins moved away, we proceeded along the dunes past several sleeping sea lions when Donna excitedly announced with a huge grin on her face "oh look, a fresh regurgitation, and there are tenticles!" This happy event gave us the opportunity to learn about sea lion diet and digestion. We were treated to a large sea lion sitting up and barking at a smaller fellow nearby and viewed another penquin as it swam in to shore.

A walk back up the hill and a short drive later, we viewed a collection of fur seal pups playing on the rocky shoreline. As we all enjoyed the cuteness, Shawn and Donna recalled the location of some sea lion pups, so we had an added stop. We pulled up to a tidal flat near a small road and sure enough, a very curious and playful pup came over to check us out!

This tour was perfect! We would recommend the albatross viewing extra, while the others were able to see f lo ting albatross from the van, the information at the center and the ability to see the young albatross was worth it. The guides were knowledgeable and the small groups and their guidance minimized the impact on the animals.

1  Thank Adventuredanlisa
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.
Reviewed 5 April 2019

Fantastic experience from start to finish. Full value for the money! Guides were knowledgeable. Paying for the guided Royal Albatross Centre experience was definitely worth it. So many birds. My wife was a bit nervous about walking down to the beach (quite a long incline), but she felt no pressure from the guides and the great views of yellow-eyed penguins and sea lions was worth it. We would do this again in a heart-beat.

Date of experience: February 2019
Thank Harold B
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.
Reviewed 2 April 2019 via mobile

We had experienced Elm on a previous trip to Otago peninsular some seven years ago (wildlife tour and albatross centre) - this time we opted for the wildlife tour and cruise around Taieroa Head.
We were picked up promptly from our accommodation in Dunedin and collected a few more people before being dropped off for the Monarch cruise boat trip. I think this was better than the albatross centre as the skipper told us a lot about all the different seabirds and other wildlife that could be seen.
Returning to shore, we continued by minibus to the private Papanui Beach.
As on our previous visit, the weather was superb and the seals, yellow eyed penguins and sea lions all came out to see us! Although a duplicated trip, it was well worth doing again as each visit will be different.
The guides are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about conservation.
Tip - as the trip starts mid afternoon and lasts for several hours, have a large late lunch. Snacks are allowed on the bus but not in the reserves.

Date of experience: February 2019
Thank ASH696
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.
Reviewed 29 March 2019 via mobile

This tour is phenomenal!
A bit of a hike, but do the guides ever know and love their wildlife! We saw albatross, sea lions, fur seals and above all the yellow-eyed penguins. An unforgettable small group tour!

Date of experience: March 2019
Thank sweetlakeacerage
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.
Reviewed 27 March 2019

What a fantastic experience! We really wanted to see penguins on our trip to New Zealand and we were not disappointed with this excellent wildlife tour to a private beach sanctuary and breeding colony for yellow-eyed penguins. They were moulting when we visited so were not terribly active but we were fortunate enough to be able to watch 6 penguins appear out of the sea, waddle up the beach and then start hopping up the cliffs. Sadly, we did not see any blue penguins but that was our fault for visiting at the wrong time of year. We also saw a number of sea lions, visited the best site for watching lots of baby seals playing in pools among the rocks and having what looked like a wonderful time and saw a large number of albatross flying above Taiaroa Head. From the bus during our travels between sites, we also saw a large number of other birds including spoonbills and herons. Donna was a really knowledgeable and excellent guide and we felt that we totally got our moneys worth and more. An American on the same tour told us that they had done numerous wildlife tours in lots of different places around the world and felt that this was by far the best they had been on.

Date of experience: March 2019
Thank Seonaid H
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.
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