The Royal Albatross Centre
The Royal Albatross Centre
4.5
Points of Interest & LandmarksNature & Wildlife Areas
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.
Duration: 2-3 hours
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  • StanleySurreyUK
    50 contributions
    There are very few opportunities to see Albatross. Important this is an opportunity not missed.
    A privileged opportunity to see these majestic birds at close hand who truly rule the sky and oceans. The view of the Albatross on their nest while others soar through the sky is memorable. Guides were superb. Not everyone can have a front row view in the hide important this is shared to all.
    Visited February 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 5 March 2023
  • cruzfool2005ft
    Freeport, Texas301 contributions
    Excellent visit duo tour
    What an amazing unique experience. First off the drive out and back are worth it. When you arrive at the center, which is free, they have a lovely cafe & visitor site it’s not necessary to pay to visit. Fortunately we’d booked in advance & had the combo albatross tour & monarch cruise. Excellent value for money & amazing experience being so close to the chicks (early March). We saw many adults birds circling close to feed the nesting chicks. Excellent guide who very evidently loves these majestic birds. Tour lasts for 1 hour. Then we went on a 1 hour cruise on the monarch. The crew, skipper etc were exceptional providing us narration of all the many species of birds and sea wildlife. Such a great afternoon. Kudos to everyone for loving their jobs and giving us a great experience.
    Visited March 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 14 March 2023
  • Jane P
    Ipswich, United Kingdom464 contributions
    Amazing Albatross
    We booked the 1 hour albatross tour in advance via their website. This is probably the best approach to avoid disappointment, although we did see people turn up and pay at the door on the day of our visit. The experience begins with a talk and a film. Sadly this part was spoilt for us by a crying baby so we could not hear what the presenter was saying or enjoy the film. The walk out to the Albatross viewing area did involve several steps and an incline, but was well worth it to observe the birds in their natural environment. We were lucky to see the birds in flight and sitting on their nests. We felt we had a generous amount of time in the viewing area and were encouraged to share the window space so all participants could see from all angles.
    Visited March 2023
    Written 29 March 2023
  • Jean
    Raumati Beach, New Zealand5 contributions
    Unforgettable experience
    The drive from Dunedin to Taiaroa Head and the Royal Albatross Centre is pretty spectacular - go one way on the high road and the other around the waterfront. The weather was very windy today which made it a good day to see the albatross fly. We were lucky to see several flying and one mother return from the ocean to feed her baby very close to the observation room. A special thank you to the Centre who provided me with an electric mobility scooter, at no charge, to travel up the steep path to the observation room. Due to disability walking the path was not an option for me.
    Visited April 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 1 April 2023
  • Lisa K
    7 contributions
    Royal Albatross and More
    We did the combined Royal Albatross Center and Monarch Wildlife cruise while visiting Dunedin. The center's guide shared a lot of basic information with our group and then lead us up to the viewing building, where we saw six chicks in their nests. The chicks fluffy stationary forms are in amazing contrast to the parents who never land, but continued to soar in endless loops around the hillside. The viewing area allows for amazing close ups, yet keeps the birds free from human interference. After seeing the albatross nesting site we were driven to the Monarch cruise dock and boarded the boat for an hour long tour of the same headlands we had visited at the Albatross Center. The captain and crew provided binoculars and gave an informative commentary on all the wildlife we saw on the cruise which included seals, a rare dolphin, albatross and several other sea birds. Both tours are packed with information and sightings of wildlife. It's a great way to spend a long afternoon!
    Visited March 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 7 April 2023
  • Izzybizzy2
    Aylesbury Vale, United Kingdom89 contributions
    Beautiful birds in a magnificent setting!
    Booked a tour here yesterday at 11am. We drive along from Dunedin & arrived in good time. The weather was quite dull & overcast. We had an introductory talk which was extremely interesting & a short film giving us background to the Albatross colony. Our guide was brilliant & very knowledgable. She made the tour interesting & fun. Perfect for all ages. We had a break in the weather & saw the baby chicks in their nests waiting patiently for their parents to return to feed them. The parents when they arrived were fabulous to watch - gliding effortlessly in the sky & circling before landing & locating their chick to feed. Our tour was 90 minutes & included the history of the disappearing gun - fascinating & extremely interesting. Then the icing on the cake was a viewing point to see 3 chicks up close. We had to be very quiet but it was simply wonderful to see these birds in their own environment. I thoroughly recommend this tour! Thank you so much!
    Visited April 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 12 April 2023
  • Stephen M
    41 contributions
    A very worthy cause
    I believe that this Centre is doing great work in maintaining the health and safety and future of the local albatross community. They are a fascinating creature and it is disheartening to see evidence of swallowed pieces of plastic and general rubbish. The tour is well worth doing.
    Visited April 2023
    Written 22 April 2023
  • Andy F
    Devizes, United Kingdom1,229 contributions
    The Place To Watch Albatross
    The central building is a briefing room + shop + cafe + toilets. But it's also a start point for observing the three species of albatross that wheel around the nearby rocky headland. You can also go out on a boat to get more close-up views of these giant-wingspan birds. There are tracks & trails around the Centre.
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 6 May 2023
  • wmjowett
    Christchurch, New Zealand56 contributions
    A Great Experience
    Janice, our guide provided a very informative tour out to the nesting sites. It was a great experience seeing albatross chicks in real life. We were lucky to see an adult albatross flying into land. Would love to come back at the time of the year when the adults are nesting. We were lucky with both the weather and with being in the first tour of the morning, only 6 in our group. The drive out to the heads is also an experience in itself. Lovely bays and we loved all the murals on the bus stops. Again so lucky with a beautiful autumn morning. The harbour was calm and still.
    Visited April 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 9 May 2023
  • Sophie
    75 contributions
    Highly recommend
    Took part in the albatross and WW2 gun tour. The albatross tour was ammazing as we got to get very close to some really cute albatross chicks and their parents coming back to feed them! The WW2 gun was also a very interesting story. Our guide was informative and nice. The gift shop is also really good!
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 16 June 2023
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4.5
2,179 reviews
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Bootsieban
Sidmouth, UK39 contributions
Feb 2024 • Couples
We booked a private tour and our guide was superb. Sorry, we can’t remember your name. She explained so much about the life of the albatross and then took us up to see the chicks with a parent. She was able to tell us when they had hatched and with the binoculars provided we could see them clearly. We were able to go further up the hill to see another chick really close and get some good photos. If you are interested in wildlife I suggest this way of visiting the centre is well worth the money.
Lunch was good but be aware it got really busy around 12.30.
Written 23 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

almenj
nj416 contributions
Feb 2024 • Family
The movie was very good as well as the guide. However the highlights was seeing the albatrosses flying around real close. Also we saw a mom albatross and its baby up close
Written 21 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alan P
11 contributions
Jan 2024 • Couples
Certainly a camera is a must for this tour.
We drove to the Royal Albatross Centre from Dunedin, a great ride with some brilliant views we had booked the last tour of the day as that would end as the blue Penguin evening tour would start immediately afterwards from the same beach.
Seeing these albatross fly, nurse their chicks and generally enjoy the views was a unique experience.
The presentation before walking the steep path to the hide was very informative.
Our young guide was very knowledgable as she pointed out the nests.
Really good value - and decent cafe and shop while waiting for official tours to begin
Written 16 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Michael C
Derby, UK1,981 contributions
Oct 2023 • Couples
There is a good visitor centre with a gift shop and a cafe. We were taken up tp the viewing hut but told that most of the albatrosses had fledged and now left, We did get a distant view of one bird but, on the whole, the experience was rather disappointing. There were lots of other birds to be seen, but we had hoped to see albatrosses.
Written 11 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Andrea R
6 contributions
Feb 2024 • Couples
We booked the Triple Crown Combo Tour which consisted of the 60 minute albatross tour, 60 minute Monarch wildlife cruise, then the 90 minutes Opera yellow-eyed penguin tour. The albatross tour was super informative and very cool to see the albatross nesting on newly hatched chicks. 6 nests were visible from the viewing platform and binoculars and stools were provided. Several people complained about the walk up to the platform, but it was not difficult. The albatross are high up on the hill… to see them, you need to walk up the hill.

The Monarch wildlife cruise was great. We saw 2 species of albatross flying, gannets, shags and many others. We also saw fur seals with pups and a blue penguin hunting! The Captain and Deckhand were pretty amazing as well. The Deckhand has a great eye and the Captain did an amazing job keeping the boat under control, despite some pretty good waves!

The OPERA yellow-eyed penguin tour was great as well. It’s part a visit to the rehab center and part a hike through their native habit to see where they WANT to live. Restoration work is the focal point for these penguins. We saw fur seals and 2 blue penguins who were molting. We did not see any yellow-eyed penguins in the wild and were told during the welcome briefing that we would not. However, when we went to the rehab center, we saw 4 more species of penguins. There were 2 dozen yellow-eyed, a Fiordland, several snares, and a rockhopper. They’re working hard to save these penguins and it’s clear they care about them.

Be aware that you are responsible to get yourself between tour locations, which are all within 10 minutes, so it’s no problem… just something to keep in mind. I highly recommend doing all of these tours, along with the Blue Penguins tour later in the evening. It makes for a long day, but it’s absolutely worth it! It’s been our favorite part of our New Zealand vacation!!!
Written 10 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tourist306
Wimborne Minster, UK27 contributions
Feb 2024 • Couples
With no wind we do didn’t expect to see the Albatross flying, but the educational side of the visit with a knowledgeable guide made the trip a success.
Written 6 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

chris Quartly
London, UK29 contributions
Jan 2024 • Couples
Years and years ago I visited this place for free and saw what I saw a week ago

4 albatrosses sitting on nests

This time I paid 54NZ$ each adult for a 20min presentation and a 15 min or so viewing of the real birds

It felt like I was really donating to a conservation organisation and not getting anything out of it

The staff apologised for the fact the birds weren’t flying as the wind was so low!

Nevertheless if you have to go make sure it’s a very windy day or better still look at the web cam
Written 22 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kylie W
Christchurch, New Zealand34 contributions
Jan 2024 • Family
Amazing! Feel embarrassed as a Kiwi that I have never been before. So interesting and informative. Must do and see! Entertainment Card also provided 50% discount which was great. Really fascinating birds and also the Disappearing Gun tour was really good. Highly recommend doing both tours - the tunnels were awesome and my son especially loved them! Thanks also to our guide - really knowledgeable and friendly.
Written 18 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Grace
Hamilton, New Zealand3 contributions
Jan 2024 • Couples
Absolutely fantastic! My husband and I did The Blue Penguins Pukekura experience tour and it was INCREDIBLE.
You get a wonderful talk about the penguins and the area. The staff are friendly and so knowledgeable! Getting to the best part my husband and I and our group saw about 130 little blue penguins!! Best night ever!!! The awesome part is that the staff shuffle the group around on the platform so that everyone gets a chance to be in the best position to see everything so there was no hogging going on.
Absolutely incredible
Plus all of the money goes right back to the conservation of the area and the animals. So worth it!!
Written 13 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Debbie I
Sydney, Australia198 contributions
Dec 2023 • Solo
I didn’t know much about this particular bird or the site before visiting but am glad I did. It is very much about protecting the albatross and educating us, so don’t expect to get up close, however you still get to clearly see quite a few birds and there is always to webcam. An added bonus were the chicks of the nesting red beaked gulls. The cafe served delicious fresh local food.
Written 12 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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The Royal Albatross Centre (Dunedin) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos) - Tripadvisor

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