The Royal Albatross Centre

The Royal Albatross Centre, Dunedin: Hours, Address, The Royal Albatross Centre Reviews: 4.5/5

The Royal Albatross Centre
4.5
Points of Interest & Landmarks • Nature & Wildlife Areas
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10:15 AM - 4:30 PM
Monday
10:15 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday
10:15 AM - 4:30 PM
Wednesday
10:15 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday
10:15 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday
10:15 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday
10:15 AM - 4:30 PM
Sunday
10:15 AM - 4:30 PM
About
The only chance to see... the world's only mainland Royal Albatross Breeding Colony. A unique experience to access the nature reserve to see giant albatross court, mate, raise their chicks and show off their three metre wingspans. Taiaroa Head/Pukekura is alive with wildlife species, many of them scarce nesting seabirds. Our jewel in the crown is the Northern Royal Albatross. Experience it for yourself by taking a guided tour through the Nature Reserve into the viewing Observatory. The 2012 latest Lonely Planet publication "1000 Ultimate Sights" features the Royal Albatross Centre alongside the Taj Mahal and Grand Canyon. They say of us: Here at one of New Zealand's hottest attractions the draw card is the bird life. Taiaroa Head is the site of the world's only mainland royal albatross breeding ground, where you can observe the spectacle of the albatrosses with wingspans of up to 3m coming in to land like a succession of 747s. The Royal Albatross Centre is located on the tip of the Otago Peninsula, about a 45 minute drive from Dunedin. We are operated by the Otago Peninsula Trust, a charitable trust formed in 1967 for the protection of the local natural environment. The Nature Reserve on Taiaroa Head is managed by the Department of Conservation. Taiaroa Head is also famous in New Zealand history. From a small Maori camp in the 1300s to a fortified pa where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840; from a wooden flagstaff to 1864 lighthouse to radar entrance for Otago Harbour; from an 1880s underground fortress to a large defence base in WWII. Taiaroa Head is today a Nature Reserve and an iconic wildlife attraction.
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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Popular mentions

4.5
2,105 reviews
Excellent
1,235
Very good
523
Average
203
Poor
87
Terrible
58

Janette K
96 contributions
May 2022 • Couples
Loved this place. A must do on the Otago Peninsula . We went on the 1200 tour and saw an albatross come into land. Wednesday is the day the rangers weigh the chicks so try to go on that day if you can.
Written 24 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

James R
1 contribution
May 2022
Well worth a visit - used the shorter School Holiday Special, and this was perfect for our young kids (aged 3-7). Staff were really awesome - engaging, kind, good with children and helped us onto the disappearing gun tour too! Thank You!
Written 6 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kia ora James R, Thank you for taking your time to write us a review. We are glad that you and your family enjoyed our express tour during the school holiday! Our team is passionate about sharing our knowledge about the albatross and their conservation management. We are very lucky to have the most accessible colony in the world - just 1 hour of driving distance from the Dunedin City! As a kaitiaki of the headland we are primarily driven by the conservation of all the species that call Pukekura home. We appreciate your contribution to the stewardship of the Albatross and other wildlife as well as the Trust so we are able to keep offering special prices and days like this for families and locals to access the colony. Thank you supporting us. We hope you see you again the next school holiday! Ngā mihi, Janice, Senior Visitor Host, Otago Peninsula Trust Enterprises PRESERVING AND ENHANCING OTAGO PENINSULA SINCE 1967
Written 6 May 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Emma W
Queenstown77 contributions
Apr 2022 • Couples
We walked out to the cliff top viewing platforms - highly recommended for a super easy wander and view. Cafe was terrific - vibe a bit quiet but food excellent! Highly recommend the breaded fish and seafood chowder.
Written 30 April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kia ora 412EmmaW, Thank you for taking your time to write us a review. We are glad that you had a great time at Pukekura. Thank you for your kind words to Toroa Cafe. As a kaitiaki of the headland we are primarily driven by the conservation of all the species that call Pukekura home, including the Royal Albatross at the world's only mainland albatross breeding colony. The cost of the tours, cafe and giftshop contributes to the stewardship of the Albatross and wider flora & fauna here at Pukekura. So thank you for supporting us! Hope you come again to join our tours and take the chance to see what the Albatross are up to next time. Enjoy the rest of your holiday! All the best, Janice, Senior Visitor Host, Otago Peninsula Trust Enterprises PRESERVING AND ENHANCING OTAGO PENINSULA SINCE 1967
Written 1 May 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

brendafrost
Auckland, New Zealand14 contributions
Apr 2022
Well worth a visit to the colony to see these majestic birds up close and personal in their natural environment. We saw 6 chicks sitting in their nests while parents out to sea getting food. Were also lucky enough to see 2 juveniles flying around the peninsula together learning about their mating rituals when the time is right. The staff are very knowledge and more than happy to answer any questions, the guided tour to the viewing platforms is well worth it. Highly recommend.
Written 27 April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kia ora brendafrost, Thank you for taking your time to write us a review. We are glad that you enjoyed the tour! It is indeed a special and unique experience to be able to view these adorable chicks up close in their natural habitat. We are lucky to have the most accessible albatross colony in the world and this can only be possible with the conservation management of the headland. Thank you for your kind words to our guide, we are always passionate about sharing our knowledge to the visitors. As a kaitiaki of the headland we are primarily driven by the conservation of all the species that call Pukekura home. Your tour fees enable us to look after this amazing wildlife sanctuary such as post control, habitat restoration and the running facilities in our visitor centre. We also run education programmes for school children and donate over $11,000 worth of free tickets annually to help schools, charities and other good causes. Thank you for supporting us by taking a tour. We hope to see you again! Ngā mihi, Janice, Senior Visitor Host, Otago Peninsula Trust Enterprises PRESERVING AND ENHANCING OTAGO PENINSULA SINCE 1967
Written 1 May 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Anne L
15 contributions
Apr 2022 • Couples
Great experience, excellent guide (James) and lovely drive to the centre. Saw 4 nests with waiting babies and watched an adult come in and feed.
Written 21 April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kia Ora and thank you for taking the time to leave a review for us! We are pleased to see you enjoyed your visit to our centre recently and had a great tour with our guide James - we will be sure to pass on your kind words to him. We've had a really great season so far with four giant fluffy albatross chicks nesting on view from our observatory - so lucky to that you managed to spot one of the adults flying in as well! We hope you enjoyed the rest of your time out on the Otago Peninsula and that we see you back for another visit sometime soon. Ngā mihi, Laura, Senior Visitor Host Royal Albatross Centre
Written 22 April 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

vcoopz
Christchurch, New Zealand27 contributions
Apr 2022 • Family
Efficient friendly staff, easy check in process. We did the 30 minute express tour, family of four with an 8 year old and a baby. The tour guide was so lovely and very informative - she was great. Unfortunately it was a still day with no winds so we didn’t get to see any adult albatross flying in or out but we did get to see the chicks nesting and learn about the albatross. Great experience with beautiful views.
Written 19 April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kia Ora and thank you for taking the time to leave us a review! We are so pleased to see you enjoyed your Express Albatross Tour with us recently - these are such great tours perfectly suited to younger children to see the giant fluffy albatross chicks we have nesting on view! Thank you for your kind words about our staff and your guide as well - we love sharing our experiences with these magnificent birds. We hope you enjoyed the rest of your time out on the Otago Peninsula and that we see you back for another visit sometime soon. Ngā mihi, Laura Royal Albatross Centre
Written 22 April 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

PHIL P
Coromandel, New Zealand264 contributions
Mar 2022
The birds enjoy a bit of wild wind & rain so don't be put off.
Took the tour and got to see crash landings, chicks and other antics of wild life.
Written 26 March 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kia ora PHIL P, Thank you for your kind review. We are glad that you enjoyed the tour. Crash landing is always a plus to see! Thank you for supporting us, we are run by the Otago Peninsula Trust which is New Zealand's oldest non-profit trust, and by joining our tour you are helping to fund the conservation work within the reserve, fund education programmes for school groups and also the operation of the centre and its facilities. Enjoy the rest of your holiday! Sincerely, Janice, Senior Visitor Host, Otago Peninsula Trust Enterprises, PRESERVING AND ENHANCING THE OTAGO PENINSULA SINCE 1967
Written 28 March 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

pd NZ
12 contributions
Feb 2022
Really enjoyed the informative talk and walk which showed the passion of the guide. On the 3pm tour we saw 6 nesting Albatross, a partner return and the rituals related to the swapping of roles. After the Tour we stayed and wandered outside and saw many flying around. They were so majestic and quiet as they soared above and around us. We also included the disappearing gun in the tour which provided some history related to the area and was something different for the teenagers. Being later in the afternoon we didn't visit the café, but did arrive 20min prior to the tour to wander through the information centre which I found did increase my knowledge of the area. Yes it is $65 but this is run by a trust who are ensuring these wonderful birds are there for ever and I like to think my 'visit' will help to ensure that these birds continue to be accessible for many more generations of New Zealanders. With that in mind, it was definitely worth the money!!
Written 17 March 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kia Ora and thanks for taking the time to leave us a review! We are so pleased to see you had such a nice time visiting us recently and that you had such great activity on your guided tour! So lucky to see several birds out in flight as well - they certainly are majestic. Thank you for supporting us and our efforts to protect and enhance the colony of albatross nesting here at Pukekura, As you say, we are run by a non-profit trust so rely on visitors joining tours to fund our conservation projects. We hope you enjoyed the rest of your time on the Otago Peninsula and that you make it back for another visit sometime soon. Ngā mihi, Laura Royal Albatross Centre
Written 22 April 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Allan M
Hamilton, New Zealand11 contributions
Mar 2022 • Couples
Only a handful of birds to look at .
$52 for a short movie and telling us about the birds.
A look at about 4 or 5 albatross.
Very nice guide did her best however it is my opinion that this experience is overpriced unless you are happy to see it as a donation for the centre.
Written 6 March 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kia ora allanm855, Thank you for taking your time to write us a review. Sorry that you felt the albatross tour didn't meet your expectations. We endeavour to provide visitors with an understanding of the albatross viewing in different times of the year and paying customers are always informed at the counter of the expectations they'll receive should they join the tour. Being wildlife also means it is not easy for us to control what the viewing activity will be like each tour. This season we are lucky to have between 4 - 7 nests in view, comparing to 3 - 4 nests on average over the past many years. The albatross only lay one egg every two years and we are glad that the chicks are all doing well so far. We are the world's most accessible albatross colony that is only an 1 hour drive from the closet city of Dunedin. As you can image, this colony is vulnerable to introduced species, human disturbance, and other environmental issues. That's why we wanted to thank you for taking a tour and support our Trust's work. We are is NZ's first charitable conservation trust managing the albatross centre. A portion of the tour fees goes to Te Poāri a Pukekura management group and the Department of Conservation to support their role as Pukeura guardians and for their management and care of the albatross at the colony. Another portion of your fee goes to the cost of running the centre facilities and providing water and toilets to guests, which is about $100,000 per annum as water and sewage have to be trucked in and out of the headland. As you will appreciate, it costs a significant amount to run a centre like this 364 days a year! We very much value all the contributions people make so that the Trust is able to offer this access and facilities to everyone year round. Thank you so much for your support of our Trust. Hope you enjoyed the rest of your holiday! All the best, Janice, Senior Visitor Host, Otago Peninsula Trust Enterprises PRESERVING AND ENHANCING OTAGO PENINSULA SINCE 1967
Written 16 March 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

zeeba1
Auckland Central, New Zealand146 contributions
Mar 2022 • Friends
The Albatross tour is a must see , rent a car and drive up the coastal direction 45 minutes.
We saw albatross at 3pm tour when wind is up and they are flying and landing .
Fantastic viewing of Albatross chicks with Mum and Dad nearby. Walking and flying
The gift center is really good and cafe too.
Written 6 March 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kia ora Zeeba1, Thank you for taking the time to write such a lovely review, we really appreciate it! We are pleased to hear you enjoyed your visit to our centre. You definitely came at the best time of the day, as the sea breeze picks up there's better chance to see these incredible birds in flight. We will pass on the compliments to our gift shop manager and cafe staff! Thanks again for supporting our work, we rely on visitors joining the guided tours to help fund the conservation and education efforts around the headland, as well as funding the visitor centre itself. We hope to see you back again for another visit sometime soon. Ngā mihi maioha, Hannah Visitor Host, Royal Albatross Centre
Written 6 March 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about The Royal Albatross Centre

The Royal Albatross Centre is open:
  • Sun - Sat 10:15 AM - 4:30 PM
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