Visit the only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatross in the world!

The majestic monarchs of the sea, the Royal Albatross, have a huge 3-metre wingspan and are surprisingly charismatic characters.  In Dunedin, you get the chance to encounter these incredible birds and learn about their breeding cycle from expert guides.

The Royal Albatross Centre has the only mainland breeding colony of the mighty albatross in the world.  So when you are visiting Dunedin, this is a must-see for your to-do list.  Here you can also see little blue penguins scurry up the beach to their burrows on an evening tour.

Pegasus 10% Discount on Royal Albatross Tours, Dunedin

As Pegasus Rental Cars customers, you can access a superb 10% discount to make your holiday budget go even further – just mention that you are a Pegasus Rental Cars customer when you arrive or when calling to book your tour, and show your Pegasus Rental Cars rental agreement as required.

Albatross courtship underway at the Royal Albatross breeding colony

Photo Credit: Laura Findlay, Royal Albatross facebook page

Albatross Viewing

Tours take place throughout the day, from a modern, indoor glassed viewing area – a royal box for viewing Royal Albatross!  There is no public access or self-guided options, so it is important to join the guided tour of the Taiaroa Head facility.

The 60 minute tour relates the story of the Northern Royal Albatross and includes a short Natural History NZ movie, then it’s off to the viewing observatory to view the nesting albatross in all its larger than life glory.  These guys are incredibly cool and entertaining, and you’ll get a special insight into the colony’s social structure and their behaviour – devoted parents fiercely guarding their chicks, adolescents showing off, nests being built and courtships underway.

The Royal Albatross Centre is all about the well being of the albatross and is a not-for-profit charitable trust, so you can rest assured that a portion of your tour ticket cost goes directly towards the protection of these fantastic birds.  You can find out more about tour prices, on the Royal Albatross website.  You can also take a 90-minute Unique Taiaroa Tour, which includes the albatross and Fort Taiaroa, or a double albatross combo, where you combo an albatross tour with a wildlife cruise with Monarch Cruises.  Lots of options!


penguins waddle up Pilots Beach Dunedin

Penguins at Pilot’s Bay, photo credit: Royal Albatross Centre

Blue Penguin Tours

Every evening at dusk, the Royal Albatross Centre and the Pukekura Trust (Joint Venture) operates Little Blue Penguin viewing tours from its Pukekura facility.  Experienced and knowledgeable guides will give you lots of information about these little guys, then its off to a purpose build viewing platform and interactive walkway.  Here you will see the Korora, the little blue penguin, waddling ashore in their natural habitat at Pilots Beach.  So cute!

Again there are a couple of tour options, so check out the Blue Penguin Tours website.


What do I bring on a visit to the Royal Albatross Centre?

You’ll need sturdy footwear and warm, rainproof clothing, as it is a five minute walk up the hill in a marine outdoors environment in Dunedin, so the weather can be a bit unpredictable.  You can bring your camera but note that flash photography is not permitted as this can frighten or harm the penguins.  No dogs, no drones, and be prepared for the smell of guano (poo) – this is the smell of success, a strong indication that breeding is going well!


How do I get to the Royal Albatross Centre?

Hop in your Pegasus Dunedin Rental Car from our Dunedin City or Dunedin Airport locations, and allow about 45-50 minutes to reach the centre from Dunedin’s CBD.  Allow enough time to be 15 mins early for your booked tour.  You’ll head initially towards Anderson’s Bay from the CBD, then enjoy a scenic drive along via Highcliff Rd and Harrington Point Road out to the colony.  You’ll be passing the turn off to Larnach Castle, so could consider adding in a side-trip here if you have time.