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Here in Dunedin we are fortunate enough to have what is considered the ‘wildlife capital of New Zealand' right at our doorstep.
The Otago Peninsular is host to an abundance of natural wildlife including the Royal Albatross, the rare Yellow-eyed penguin, fur seals, the Little blue penguin, Stewart Island shag, the hooker sea lion as well as many more. There are several guided tours available for those who wish to experience our fantastic wildlife in their natural habitat. A great way to take in these sights is with Elm Wildlife Tours. Judged New Zealand's best leisure activity, you can enjoy a range of tour options from one-day or multi-day tours. If you looking for a true wildlife experience of the Otago peninsula they are one of New Zealands best.
The Royal Albatross Centre is nestled at the foot of Taiaroa Head and offers the incredible opportunity to witness the greatest of all seabirds in their breeding colony. Watch as parents carefully guard their eggs, courtship proceedings, nest building, interplay and the truly magnificent sight of this majestic bird flying at speeds up to 120kph. Lonely Planet's ‘1000 Ultimate Sights' features the Royal Albatross Centre alongside the Taj Mahal and Grand Canyon, so it is certainly a ‘must-see' for locals and tourists alike.
Penguin Place is home of the Yellow-eyed penguin multi-award winning Conservation Reserve. A 90 minute guided tour through the colony in covered trenches and observation huts, offers visitors the rare opportunity to view this endangered species going about their daily business.
To see what can not be seen from land, take a Monarch Wildlife Cruise, and receive unrivalled views of seals, penguins, marine mammals, albatross and up to 20 other species of birds. The cruise takes one hour and is accompanied by an informative commentary, fact-sheets, jackets, binoculars and refreshments.
The New Zealand Marine Studies Centre and Aqaurium is another ‘must-see' place to visit on your Otago Penisula wildlife adventure. Here visitors can view the unique marine life of our Southern waters, from sea-weed and shellfish to octopus, seahorses, crayfish, sharks, crabs and more. Peek inside a sharks egg, look at plankton through a microscope, see a life size replica of a Colossal Squid, or get hands on experience with some marine life in the aquariums touch tanks.
Another great way to get out and see all the incredible sights and wildlife the penisula has to offer is by sea kayak. Eden cafe and boat hire-sea kayaking tours offers the services of a highly experienced local kayaking guide, who will take people out exploring the unique surroundings. Stable single and double kayaks are available for use on these tours, which take between one and a half to three hours (round trip) depending on fitness levels and desired time spent out in the ocean.