Royal Albatross Center Breeding Colony Tour
Dunedin, New Zealand
- Secret life of the albatross: This little-known seabird with the huge wingspan is revealed in a short film narrated by naturalist Sir David Attenborough and in viewing areas by their habitat, with more background from your guide.
- More to see: Examine the amazing Poutokomanawa before you explore the McMillan Gallery to learn more about the area's history and wildlife.
About This Dunedin Tour
They are the birds of myths, reputedly holding the souls of drowned sailors. They are the birds of omens, said to foreshadow changes in weather. They are the birds of penance, as told in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem, Rime of the Ancient Mariner. This tour is a rare opportunity to look into the secret life of the legendary albatross.
The Northern Royal Albatross is one of the 19 endangered albatross species, out of a total of 21. Because their breeding colonies tend to be on rugged, isolated islands, the Royal Albatross Center – the only non-island colony – is in a unique position to observe, learn, and find ways to protect the albatross.
It boggles the mind to learn these birds can spend more than a year without touching land, flying over 115,000 miles at speeds up to 50 miles per hour. It helps to have a wingspan that can reach 11 feet.
What doesn't help, from a preservation standpoint, is that females lay just one egg every two years. Parents share the incubation, in periods of two to eight days, for a total of 80 days. When the big, fluffy chicks hatch, the parents protect them from predators for about five weeks.
What stage of the process you may see depends on what time of the year you're here. But know that your visit helps support the work of the Center, helping to make sure that despite the bad omens, these flying lords of the sea continue to soar.
Carving their place in history
In the foyer of the Royal Albatross Center, a carved pole outlines the history of the Otago Peninsula. The Maori believe that, to know who you are, you must know where you come from; not just geographically, but socially, culturally, and by family. The carved pole is called a poutokomanawa, which means "We are the sum of those who have gone before." Specifics about family history and genealogy are sacred and preserved as oral history and are not shared with outsiders.
Please make your way to 1260 Harington Point Rd, Harington Point to begin your adventure.
Bring small coins for the bathroom. Take a light jacket or rain coat for the weather.
The amount of walking is at the traveler's discretion while visiting the attraction. Varying surfaces will be encountered during your tour.
Scenic, Family Friendly, Wilderness/Wildlife
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
Non-refundable if canceled within 24 hours of requested services.
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