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Otago Peninsula

The Otago Peninsula, stretches almost from the city on the southern side of the Otago harbor. Just a few minutes drive from the city center will have you passing scenic bays and farmland. The Otago Peninsula is one of New Zealand's most renowned eco tourism areas and its most famous residents are the Royal albatross. At the tip of the peninsular is Taiaroa Head and here you will find the only mainland breeding colony of albatross in the world.

Larnach Castle and Gardens

Larnach Castle and Gardens

Larnach is New Zealand's only Castle, built in 1871 by politician and merchant, William Larnach, a man of great vision who helped shape New Zealand's early history. It was built for William's beloved first wife Eliza; it took 200 workmen three years to build the shell and a further twelve years were spent by master craftsmen to embellish the interior. The Castle is located high up on the Otago Peninsula and looks down on Dunedin city giving beautiful views. The gardens have an International Garden of Significance status and have a unique collection of specialised areas for you to explore. The Ballroom cafe is a fantastic place to rest and reflect on all you have seen while enjoying a delicious range of refreshments. As with the entire castle, the ballroom had an interesting and varied history prior to its beautiful restoration, uses ranged from a lunatic asylum, antique sales room to the penning of sheep.

Royal Albatross Centre: Albatross Classic Tour

Royal Albatross Centre: Albatross Classic Tour

This 60 minute tour focuses on the Royal Albatrosses and wildlife that inhabit Pukekura (Taiaroa Head). Begin with a short film, then enjoy the informative commentary provided by your guide about albatrosses as you visit the observatory to see nesting albatross in their natural habitat.

Wildlife Cruise, Larnach Castle Tour and Yellow Eyed Penguin Tour

Wildlife Cruise, Larnach Castle Tour and Yellow Eyed Penguin Tour

Today you'll explore the wildlife and history of the Otago Peninsula. You'll be welcomed to the MV Monarch for a wildlife cruise around Taiaroa Head, home to the world's only mainland nesting site for royal albatross. Scattered along the rocks you'll also see New Zealand fur seals basking in the sun and possibly New Zealand sea lions on the beach. In the water you may also see penguins, dolphins and other marine birds. Back on land you'll take a guided tour of New Zealand's only castle, Larnach Castle built in 1871. Learn of the scandals and history of the castle and explore the beautiful garden of international significance. Your final stop of the day is to Penguin Place, a natural nesting site for the rarest penguin in the world, the Yellow Eyed Penguin.

Blue Penguin Viewing Tour

Blue Penguin Viewing Tour

Discover Kororā, the Little Blue Penguin, the world's smallest penguin. See them in their natural habitat - scurrying up to their cliff-face burrows at Pilots Beach on the Otago Peninsula. After a day at sea, the penguins congregate in groups known as 'rafts' not far offshore where they often can be heard vocalising - usually short, loud squawks. Blue Penguin viewing tours are at dusk when penguins come ashore and make their way to their nests where they feed their chicks or roost.

Otago Peninsula Sundowner Tour

Otago Peninsula Sundowner Tour

Take the mid afternoon bus from Dunedin out via the scenic roads of the Otago Peninsula and join Monarch's oceanic Wildlife Cruise around the rugged coastline cliffs. Visit the Royal Albatross Centre for their Classic Albatross Tour, followed by dinner in the Albatross Café. Watch the sunset over the Otago Harbour and view the little blue penguins returning to their burrows after dark. You will then return via bus to your accommodation.

New Zealand touring ideas

A popular style of touring is to take a preplanned self drive road trip.  After a thorough consultation with you we expertly plan and create your self drive tour around New Zealand allows you the freedom to explore at leisure with the comfort and security of pre-booked activities and accommodations. Route suggestions, GPS and APP guidance plus local support mean you are in safe hands. See self drive ideas here

If you prefer to let someone else do the work then an escorted small group tour or a private guided tour might be for you. Our range of hand picked small group itineraries are ideal if you prefer to travel in the company of like minded people. These tours limit the number of participants which means different accommodation options, exclusive activities and of course a knowledgable guide ensures you get to see the best of New Zealand. See our small group tours here. 

A private guided tour offers true flexibility and the security of a knowledgable local guiding you all the way. Well planned itineraries ensure you see exactly what you want to see but with your own driver-guide you can adapt to suit the day or your preference. 100% tailor-made to suit you a private tour is a great option when travelling as a small group. all our self drive itineraries can be replanned and priced using a private driver and guide. Just contact us to discuss your needs.

All North Island touring ideas - explore the diverse North Island with these itinerary suggestions. See here

All South Island touring ideas - Iconic scenery and landscapes await on this made for touring island. See here

All Nationwide touring ideas - see the best of New Zealand on these all encompassing touring itinerary ideas. See here

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