We chose this tour after looking at several others for the Dunedin area. We were specifically looking for a combined tour that include the sights of the city, Larnach Castle and some wildlife viewing on the Otago Peninsula.
We purchased the option of visiting the Royal Albatross Centre but declined the inside tour of Larnach Castle.
We were met by our tour guide Chris as soon as we departed the ship. Chris is a very nice young man. He was a naturalist and was very knowledgeable about the flora and fauna we viewed on our tour. He also had a great sense of humour. He was a happy combination of a New Zealander with a Scottish background.
The tour was conducted in a very nice 10 passenger mini-bus and we had a full group. The weather that day was not the greatest as it was very overcast with occasional periods of rain but our tour was so good that even that didn't spoil our tour.
We got to see all the important sights in the city including stops at the University of Otago, Baldwin Street which is the steepest street in the Guinness Book of Records and the Dunedin Train station. We drove through the Octagon on the way out of town.
We stopped at Larnach Castle and Chris gave us a tour of the botanical garden describing the local plants which was very interesting. Be warned if Chris offers you to taste one of the plants. Because it was raining we decided at the last minute to sign up for the inside tour of the castle. It was okay but I don't think it was worth the money. The view from the castle turret would have been terrific but it was so cloudy you couldn't see anything.
We had a great lunch stop at a restaurant in Portobello. Chris recommended the fish and chips and he was spot on as the food was excellent.
We had two stops in the afternoon on the Otago Peninsula. The Penguin Preserve was great. They have a series of tunnels dug into the beach so you can view the rare and very shy Yellow-Eyed Penguins. The penguins were nesting and we were able to see some babies too. There was also a walk along the coastal hills here where we up close to some fur seals.
Our last stop was at the Royal Albatross Centre. If you didn't sign up for the tour, Chris took you to a spot where you had a good chance to see the Northern Royal Albatross. The tour was quite pricey but well worth the money. The reason it is better is because it takes you to a much higher location and you can expect to see the albatross closer up.
All in all this was a terrific tour. I strongly recommend this tour as it was first class all the way and a whole lot of fun.
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