The city of Dunedin prides itself as a wildlife capital and extends a range of habitats, rock types and land formations. Rugged river gorges rise to alpine altitudes and creamy coastal beaches yield to wave tossed coastlines.
Home to the world’s only mainland colony of the majestic Northern Royal albatross, a stronghold for the rare and private Yellow-eyed penguin, and the gradual return of the rare Hooker’s sea lion to the Peninsula dune lands, the Otago Peninsula offers a special natural appeal and is a busy crossroad of biodiversity. Landscape features stacks of columnar basalt called The Pyramids on the back dunes of Victory beach and the breathtaking 220m collapsed sea chasm of Lovers Leap.
Our highly recommended eco tour visits a coastal ecosystem where guests can benefit from discreet uninterrupted observation of the rare Yellow-eyed penguin and Hooker's sea lion. View Fur seals, Blue penguins and many other sea birds and see a local conservation initiative at work.
♦ NZ$110 per person Guided wildlife tour to private beach up to 3hours duration with return transfers. Weather dependant. Warm clothing and sturdy footwear recommended
♦ NZ$720 ½ day private wildlife tour up to 6hours duration
Elm Wildlife Tours are our preferred wildlife expedition partner "see tourism and penguin conservation work together"
► Solitary breeders, the Yellow-eyed penguin breeding season begins in September when penguins are egg laying and continues through to March when the chicks fledge and go to sea. Considered the world's rarest penguin and endemic to New Zealand, the bird is named for its yellow iris and distinctive yellow headband. The Yellow-eyed penguins average lifespan is 23 years, this bird can pursue prey at deep dive up to 60 m.
► After hunting by Maori and Europeans, Hooker's sea lion were almost extinct by the mid-1800s. Endemic to New Zealand, they are the rarest of the world's five sea lion species and are slowly making a comeback to the Otago Peninsula. Up to 3 m length, Hooker's sea lion can reach flipper speed of up to 20 km/hr and dive to over 200 m deep. Males fight for territory in November.
► Helicopters Otago are our preferred charter provider. A fully certified Air Transport Helicopter Company, commercially operational in the Otago, Central Otago and Southland districts since 1990.
Enjoy the spectacular coastal Otago Peninsula and Dunedin city heritage from a different perspective. A 30 minute invigorating scenic flight spanning the length of the Otago Peninsula and Dunedin city surrounds.
♦ POA. Weather dependant.
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► About The City of Dunedin
►Dunedin Geology from the Air The Otago Rock and Mineral Club
Northern Royal Albatross are listed as an endangered species and the world's only mainland breeding colony is located at the tip of the Otago Peninsula. A majestic bird with a wing span up to 3m, more than 80 percent of their life is spent at sea. They are long-lived and slow to reproduce. Breeding starts at 8-10 years, a single egg is laid in October or November, in a nest which takes both parents around 80 days to incubate. Longline fishing is the biggest threat to this magnificent bird.
♦ NZ$45 per person guided tour. 20 minute self drive to the Royal Albatross Centre at Taiaroa Head Nature Reserve.
►Book direct Royal Albatross Centre
Spend some time with local identity Hendrick Koch, a conservator with a fascinating depth of knowledge about local Otago Peninsula flora and fauna. Enjoy a private tour observing special shore and bush birds.
♦ NZ$70 per person. Up to 2 hour duration with return transfers and refreshment. Weather dependant. Warm clothing and sturdy footwear recommended.
► Created in 1908, the oldest Peninsula conservation reserve at Sandfly Bay Wildlife Refuge offers marvelous chance wildlife viewing of the Yellow-eyed penguin
► Walk to the impressive ocean vistas at Lovers Leap, a breathtaking 220 m collapsed sea chasm
► Visit the columnar basalt formation called The Pyramids on the back dunes of Victory beach
► Otago Peninsula Walks Department of Conservation
► Peninsula Tracks Dunedin City Council
Stand up paddle surfing - SUP surfers need not schedule around high and low tides , ideal for a core workout on Papanui Inlet, or for the more adventurous Otago Peninsula surf spots beckon.
♦ NZ$220 single ♦ NZ$345 double.
Weather dependant, equipment and wetsuits supplied.
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Select your need from a choice of tracks and enjoy mountain biking the scenic scapes of the Otago Peninsula.
♦ NZ$25 1/2 day hire
► Dunedin and Otago Peninsula Cycle Routes Dunedin City Council
~ Relax and luxuriate with a wonderful in-room organic treatment ~
♦ Antipodes Arohanui Body Massage
A medium to firm body massage using natural & organic body products from New Zealand's own Antipodes Range. This style of massage brings harmony and balance leaving you in a state of bliss.
♦ Mini Facial extra treat
Complete your experience with an Antipodes Mini facial.
♦ Body Polish
Pamper your body with a gentle body exfoliation scrub, followed by a nourishing body cream, leaving your skin feeling fresh and moisturised.
♦ Detox Full Body Wrap
Experience the reduction in cellulite, while purifying, firming and smoothing the entire body. Using Southland mineral clay around the body, let the detoxification process get to work.
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►Erban Spa is our preferred provider, a boutique day spa located at Rosyln Village, Dunedin. Their experienced and friendly team are committed to providing visitors to Dunedin with a professional and relaxing experience in the comfort of your lodge room. If you are feeling the strains of travel then let Erban Spa help you unwind and relax with these fabulous treatments.
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Rates are based on single person, double room occupancy unless specified, quoted in New Zealand dollars and include GST of 15%. Experiences are subject to availability - during Summer Season Oct - April. Tours are weather dependant. Cancellation policy applies.
"This was a pristine environment where humans were minor players and where the wild animals were totally in control. We were simply viewers with a great respect for the true inhabitants of this lonely and wild beach."
Bruce Elder, Sydney Morning Herald
"Wow! Great location, amazing scenery and thank you so much for sending us
off with David – truly the experience of a lifetime."
Audrey and Bernice, Dublin, Ireland
"Thankyou so much for making us feel
so welcome, comfortable and spoilt! A perfect place for our honeymoon!! We will be recommending your amazing retreat to our friends and family. We will never forget it. David’s tour was FANTASTIC! Thanks again!"
Simon & Emma, Queensland, Australia
"For the ultimate getaway accommodation stay at Kaimata Retreat ... an amazing lodge hewn from local timbers that is perched high above the bay. Snuggle into a hearty fire at the central fireplace, play a game, read a book or search for seals on the rocks below; sunrise here is also spectacular for early rising couples."
20 Dream Escapes