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Tour suggestion to see Otago Peninsula

Old Aug 4th, 2003, 03:24 PM
  #1  
SSN
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Tour suggestion to see Otago Peninsula

We will be on a tour to NZ in March and will have about 1/2 day in Dunedin. Due to the shortage of time and we want to see as much wildlife as possible (especially blue & yellow-eye penguins), we thought it would be best to take a local tour. We have read about Elm Wildlife tour & Back to Nature tours, has anyone joined any of these tours? We would love to hear your experience, in particular about how close were you to the wildlife. Any information or comments are most welcomed and appreciated on this topic. Thanks!
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Old Aug 4th, 2003, 07:23 PM
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I haven't used either tour company you mention, but keep in mind that tours on the Peninsula are very popular and be sure to book ahead. We visited the albatross colony, but didn't take an organized tour.

You might want to check out this site for more info on the Otago peninsula:

www.otago-peninsula.co.nz.
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Old Aug 4th, 2003, 07:45 PM
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Whatever you do just make sure you are ON the sunset tour at the Penguin place on the otago peninsula.One of the best wildlife displays i have seen.

In the hides about 3 metres away from the penguins watching/smelling them regurgitate food for their young...not to be missed.

Leaves Phillip island in the shade.
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Old Aug 4th, 2003, 09:02 PM
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ALF
 
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You might consider renting a car and doing this yourself.

You can go out to the far end of the Otago Peninsula to Taiaroa Head, where you can take a guided tour of the Royal Albatross colony. You cannot get very close to the nests, but many albatrosses float right by you on the thermals along the cliff face.

Penguin Place is a private reserve for hoiho (yellow-eyed penguins). For a modest fee, they will take you in their vehicle out to the camouflaged blinds that were described above. You can't get much closer!

If you want to see korora (blue penguins), you will probably need to head up to nearby Oamaru. There is a colony there, right on the edge of town. They tend to me more active at night, so the best time to see them is around 9-ish when the adults come out of the water and waddle over to their nests to feed the young. There is usually a speaker who gives a talk in advance of this time, and then you sit on benches while they turn up some floodlights so you can see the little guys quite clearly. If you are in Oamaru, you can also head over to the blind constructed on top of a cliff overlooking Bushy Beach. Hoiho come ashore there to feed their young in nests on the slopes above the beach. Unfortunately, you can't get very close, so binoculars are a good bet here.
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Old Aug 5th, 2003, 09:42 AM
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In November we took a motor coach to Dunedin from Queenstown with only a motel reservation in hand. The motel owner arranged a day tour of the Otago Peninsula for us for the very next day.
Probably the most scenic beauty I've ever seen. Anywhere!
Can't recall the name of the tour company. The motel was the Aberdeen Motel and the proprietor's name was Nigel.
John
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Old Aug 5th, 2003, 05:20 PM
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Thank you for the tips, everyone! Does anyone know about what time is the sunset in early March? Also is there any time limit (behind the camoflaged blinds) at the Penguin Place? How far is Oamaru from Dunedin? Is there any day tour to Oamaru from Dunedin? Thanks again!
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Old Aug 5th, 2003, 07:22 PM
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Looks like Oamaru is 1.5 hours from the Dunedin airport per this site:

http://www.tourismwaitaki.co.nz/
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Old Aug 5th, 2003, 07:41 PM
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ALF
 
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On March 5, the Sun will set at 6:20pm. Penguin Place tours take 90 minutes, but are limited to less than 15 people. I think that you will find that you will have plenty of time to view form each blind in a leisurely fashion. Oamaru is 115 km from Dunedin. I am not aware of any tour operators that go from Dunedin to Oamaru, but I imagine there must be some.

I also forgot to mention the Monarch Wildlife cruise, a small boat that leaves from Taiaroa Head for a 1 hour trip along the coastline, where you ought to see seals, various albatross species, and other shorebirds (http://www.wildlife.co.nz/).
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Old Aug 5th, 2003, 07:55 PM
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check out www.penguin-place.com.nz

see the albatross place and the seal colony on the beach below the albatross exhibit.

just be on that tour that leaves 90 minutes before sunset.

any half decent tour of the peninsula has to take you to the penguins.

sunset will be late maybe 8.00 pm..so you are not going to get up to oamaru...there are quite a few blue eyed colonies around

we saw some and swam with hector dolphins at a place called porpoise bay in the caitlins.
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Old Aug 7th, 2003, 01:50 PM
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www.sunrisesunset.com is a great site to help you plan your holiday. It shows you the daylight hours of anywhere in the world at any month of the year. It also shows daylight saving, moon phases and twilight.
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Old Aug 7th, 2003, 02:55 PM
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Sorry..my sunset time was a guess...
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Old Aug 9th, 2003, 05:49 PM
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SSN
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It's a relief to know that we will have more daylight time than we thought initially in NZ, now we can plan our activities accordingly. Thank you, everyone!
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