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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 May 2019

We enjoy bird watching and Royal Albatross was high on our priority list when visiting Dunedin, NZ.
We booked a package with Elm Wildlife Tours which consisted of Monarch Boat Cruise and Exploration of Otago peninsula for wildlife. First about the cruise – it was of one hour duration but full of excitement. We saw albatross sitting in water and then take a running start to get airborne. This magnificent bird has a wing span of about 10 ft and when overhead, you appreciate the long slim wings that enable the bird to fly miles without flapping. The skipper certainly had a keen eye for spotting birds and we saw spoon bills, shag, black swan, ducks and gulls beside a number of albatross. Later we explored the exclusive conservation area of Otago peninsula – no crowds, no disturbance. On the rocky shore we saw a good no of fur seals, a success story for re-colonising the area from which they were hunted out. We also saw sealions playing on the beach, a good photo opportunity. There was a hide by the rocky shore where we watched waterbirds like oystercatcher. Highlight of the excursion was Yellow-eyed Penguins. They spend the day feeding at the sea and return to the shore for roosting late in the afternoon. It was amusing to watch these birds walking ashore - upright like humans, taking a few steps, waiting and watching, jumping up the steps with both feet. Thanks to the guide, we could watch penguins at close quarters without disturbing them. Indeed, the guides of Elm Wildlife were outstanding with their on-field experience.

Date of experience: March 2019
1  Thank Anil G
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 24 April 2019

We only had one night in Dunedin and I am glad we chose to spend it with Elm Wildlife Tours. The driver, the guide, the wildlife, the scenery, it was all fabulous. They have access to private property so when you view the wildlife there are not a lot of tourists, just the folks in your tour. We saw seals, sea-lions and the Yellow Eyed Penguins. Again, it was incredible! We also paid a little extra to have a special visit at the Royal Albatross Centre where you can see several nests and young royal albatross. I would recommend this small additional fee for this added experience. Binoculars are provided on the bus, so no need to bring your own. Wear comfortable shoes as there is a little climbing to get to some of the viewing areas. You are also encouraged to bring some snacks and water. Throughout the entire tour, you stay on the same bus so you are able to leave any extra bags, food, etc., on the bus. As we only stayed in the area for one night, we were unable to watch the blue penguins come in at night. If you would like to experience that as well, I would recommend two nights in Dunedin. Enjoy!!

Date of experience: April 2019
1  Thank JAH_Chicago_Paris
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 19 April 2019

We had a wonderful afternoon viewing wildlife up close, with a very good guide. Although we didn't book the Royal Albatross experience, we did see several albatross flying around once the wind got up. We also saw many fur seals, a sea lion and about 10 yellow eyed penguins. We were also lucky enough to see a tiny blue penguin, which was moulting, hence the reason it was staying on shore amongst the fur seals. Many different types of birds were also spotted as we drove in.

Date of experience: March 2019
Thank Sunwapta2
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 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.
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