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Dunedin City Highlights, Peninsula Scenery & Penguin Tour 

Enjoy a scenic drive from Port Chalmers to explore Dunedin city and Otago Peninsula - the wildlife capital of New Zealand. Stop at one of the most photographed buildings in the Southern Hemisphere-Dunedin Railway station. Grab your camera to capture stunning views while driving along Otago Peninsula with the most breathtaking bays, beaches and harbour with a variety of wading birds. Join a 1.5 hour guided  tour at Yellow Eyed Penguin reserve with a possibility to see penguins and seals (subject to availability). Penguin Place is a private conservation reserve dedicated to helping the endangered Yellow Eyed Penguin survive. Their conservation project is entirely funded by guided tours of the reserve. The funding the reserve receives provides habitat restoration, predator control, a research programme and on-site rehabilitation care for penguins that are sick, starving or wounded.  By joining the tour you directly support this incredible project to protect penguins from the extinction.


     Departure: 10am* & 12pm*

     Price: from NZD265* per person

     Duration: 6 hours

  • Depart at the Octagon, outside Dunedin Visitor Centre (non cruise ship passengers)

  • Join our scenic drive from Port Chalmers to Dunedin city and listen to a story of Dunedin (cruise ship passengers)

  • Visit the steepest street in the world

  • Enjoy views of the city from a local lookout point

  • Free time to explore Dunedin Botanic Garden

  • Stop at Otago University

  • Drive through George street - our main shopping area and the Octagon - the heart of the city

  • Stop at First Church of Otago

  • Stop at the Dunedin Railway Station-one of the most photographed buildings in New Zealand

  • Scenic drive onto Otago Peninsula via Highcliff Road

  • A  guided tour at Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve

  • Back to town or port via Portobello Road to enjoy different scenery

*On some occasions when the cruise ship arrives later we delay our departure to accommodate cruise ship passengers. Please click "book now" and check our departure for a chosen day

*An additional booking fee applies

Lifecycle of Yellow Eyed Penguins

Mid-August: The 28-week breeding season begins when partnerships are formed or renewed, and nest sites are selected. Mating takes place.
Mid-September/October: Two greenish-white eggs, about 75×55 mm in size, are laid. Both parents take turns to incubate, which takes about 43 days.
November/December: The eggs hatch and the guard stage begins. This is a 40-50 day period when one parent stays at the nest to brood while the other fishes. Upon their return they perform an elaborate greeting ceremony of trills and calls before feeding their hungry chicks. Although guarded constantly during this stage, the chicks are still vulnerable to predators.
January: By the time chicks are 6-7 weeks old, both parents must fish each day to satisfy the voracious appetites of their demanding young. This is the post-guard stage and towards the end the chicks will start to lose their soft brown down.
February: The chicks fledge into their waterproof plumage and go to sea, an extremely hazardous time, with fewer than 20% surviving to maturity. Juveniles and non-breeders start their annual moult.
March/April: The parents have just a few weeks to recover and put on weight before beginning the annual moult. They are confined to land whilst they wait for their old feather coat to be replaced.
Early-May: Sleek and shiny in their new plumage, the penguins head out to sea, but return most nights to sleep, preen and socialise.
Soon it will be August and the busy breeding season will begin again. About 80% of surviving juveniles will return to breed at the place where they were hatched. Hoiho are devoted parents. Incubation of eggs and raising of young are shared responsibilities. During a good breeding season yellow-eyed penguin pairs can successfully raise two chicks.


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