Famed for its Scottish heritage and wealth of historic buildings, Ōtepoti Dunedin’s wildlife claim is as the home of the world’s only mainland breeding colony of northern royal albatross.
With a 3-metre wingspan, the majestic albatross demonstrate the worthiness of their title of 'monarchs of the sea’ by soaring up to 120 km per hour. If you’re fortunate enough to visit in January and February, the fluffy chicks are an adorable bonus to your albatross viewing experience.
The Royal Albatross Centre offers informative 60-minute toroa (albatross) viewing tours. Alternatively, go all-in with an in-depth 90-minute tour that explores the Fort Taiaroa hidden tunnel system that lies under the colony.
Also at Taiaroa Head, make time to visit the large fur seal colony, watch for sea lions, and receive an RACV Member discount on this Little Blue Penguins tour.
Nicknamed the Marine Serengeti, Kaikōura, some three hours north of Christchurch, has a wealth of wildlife to entice. Kaikōura is one of the most accessible places in the world to see sperm whales in the wild, along with humpbacks, orcas, several species of dolphins, seals, and sea lions.
While a whale-watching boat trip is an engaging and affordable way to see these titans of the deep, nothing beats spotting a whale overhead from a high-winged aircraft. Witnessing an 18m whale breach from the air is truly unforgettable.
Closer to shore, kayak, or swim to get up-close-and-personal with seals. To interact with the dusky, common, and Hector’s dolphins that ply these chilly waters, book an entertaining dolphin swimming tour.
Kaikōura is not all marine-focused: you can also randomly walk a llama on a woodland trek (one hour) or coastal tramp (four hours)! Forbes rated this quirky Kaikōura activity as one of the top ten places to see llama globally.