Go wild on MV ‘Monarch’

Catch a glimpse of the ‘‘wild’’ on a Monarch Wildlife Cruise.
Catch a glimpse of the ‘‘wild’’ on a Monarch Wildlife Cruise.
Visitors to Dunedin who want to get wild, can take a Monarch Wildlife Cruise to get up close to Dunedin’s unique Southern Ocean wildlife.

Dunedin is the wildlife capital of New Zealand, being uniquely placed in the Roaring 40s at the start of the big cool Southern Ocean. Taiaroa Head is the only mainland nesting site of the northern royal albatross, nearly the biggest albatross, with a majestic wingspan of three metres.

New Zealand has the highest concentration seabirds in the world, with six of the world’s 17 penguin species, 12 of the world’s shag species, and 14 of the world’s 22 albatross species.

The iconic Otago Harbour vessel MV Monarch has been running cruises for over 30 years, and from it, or the smaller Vivienne J, visitors can see different species of albatross soaring at sea, plus other seabirds such as giant petrels and sooty shearwaters. Large numbers of New Zealand fur seals and other charismatic marine animals, including New Zealand sea lions and Hector’s dolphins, are frequently spotted around the spectacular volcanic coastline and harbour.

Buses can take visitors to the Royal Albatross Centre to look over northern royal albatross nests, to Penguin Place to see the rare yellow­eyed penguins and to Larnach Castle and its beautiful gardens. There is also a Sundowner package with wildlife boat cruise, albatross centre tour, dinner, viewing of the little blue penguins coming ashore after dark, then a bus back to town.

For further information, go to the Monarch website www.wildlife.co.nz or phone 0800-666-272.

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