Natures Wonders - Wildlife Tour via coach
Dunedin, New Zealand
- Wildlife watching: Roam the peninsula from the highest peaks to the sandy beaches in search of New Zealand fur seals, Hooker's sea lions, and the majestic royal albatross in their natural environments.
- Close-up view: Ride along the beachfront to a covered, all-weather track that leads to a specially built hide-out from which to view the little blue penguins up close in their nests (during season), and catch sight of the rare and shy yellow-eyed penguins.
- Photo ops: During the adventure you'll reach high elevations from which you can enjoy spectacular views of mountains, lakes, Otago Harbor, and the ocean – and down to sea level where the Pacific crashes onto the rocks – so keep your camera ready.
- Coach comfort: No need to trek on dusty roads exposed to the mercy of the elements; your coach travels smoothly over a road purposely made for getting to the viewing sites. So while the tour is an adventure, the ride is in comfort.
About This Dunedin Tour
The Maori call them hoiho, meaning noise shouter. They're found only in New Zealand, and they were once abundant. Now the yellow-eyed penguin is on the verge of extinction. This may be your only chance to ever see them in person.
These rare penguins used to nest in New Zealand's cool coastal forests. But European settlers cleared the land for pasture, and sheep and cattle began trampling the ground. Animals such as cats and ferrets, which were brought by settlers, killed and ate the penguin chicks. Humans also used them for food.
Their name comes from their eye color and from the distinctive yellow band that starts at the eyes and wraps around the back of their heads; the young have gray eyes, and don't develop the yellow band until after their first molt.
Yellow-eyed penguins are considered mid-size, standing up to 31 inches tall and weighing as much as 18 pounds. They're the least social of all penguin species, nesting in secluded areas out of sight of others in the colony. But males and females form long-term partnerships.
Scientists believe the yellow-eyed penguin may be the oldest living species of penguins on the planet. That may change soon; as of the 2015-16 breeding season, fewer than 200 breeding pairs remained on the entire Otago coastline.
Tears of the albatross
The albatross holds a special place in Maori culture, representing beauty and power. Long ago, the Maori noticed that the albatross tears are salty, from which comes the legend that these birds spend their lives crying because they miss their home. In Maori culture, albatross tears are found in songs and sayings, and are often part of tukutuku carvings on the walls of ceremonial meeting houses. Today they make their home at the Royal Albatross Center on Taiaroa Head.
Please make your way to 1265 Harington Point Rd, Taiaroa Head, Dunedin to begin your adventure.
Bring small coins for the bathroom. Take a light jacket or rain coat for the weather.
There is approximately 100 yards of walking over a well groomed gravel track with slight inclines and declines. Travelers with mobility issues should not select 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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