Weather :

Timings : 8:00 AM - 10:00 PM

Time Required : 5+ hours

Elm Wildlife Tours, Dunedin Overview

The Elm Wildlife Tours are popular for being located within the wildlife capital of New Zealand, Dunedin and the extensive tour options provided to those interested in adventurous treks and hikes amidst nature while getting magnificent views of the vast biodiversity in New Zealand up close. The wildlife tours also offer international tours outside the region that last for days with exciting excursions and activities for the tourists to indulge in.

The tours are also known for providing exclusive bird viewing options within secluded, protected areas that are owned by the tour company itself along with cruise ship excursions that also offer views of the marine park. The Elm Wildlife Tours are also known for specialising in wildlife like sea lions, fur seals, albatrosses, penguins, etc making it a must-visit attraction for those interested in the viewing of the same from private vantage points that are restricted to the general public. 

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Wildlife Tours

Peninsula Encounter Tours:-

Encounters Tour: Small groups of visitors are taken to visit the Otago Peninsula and the wildlife hotspots within the region, including the isolated places that provide beautiful views of the biodiversity present. These tours run for almost 5 to 5.5 hours during the winter months and for 6 to 6.5 hours during the summer months except on Christmas Day and on New Year's Day.

The tours are not suitable for young children and prams and strollers are not allowed on the excursions as it may get difficult to carry them along in most places.

Encounters MAX Tour: The eight hour long tours are an extension of the regular Encounters Tour with an additional boat cruise aboard the ‘Monarch’ and a Royal Albatross nesting area tour. Visitors are picked up at 1:20 p.m. from the city accommodation by Monarch boat tours.
Encounters + Albatross: The tours are slightly different from the standard Encounter Tours as the guided Albatross viewing tour gets replaced by the Royal Albatross Centre tours that allow viewing within the Royal Albatross breeding area.

These tours run from the 24th of November to the 30th of April except on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Encounters + Monarch Cruise: The tours are slightly different from the standard Encounter Tours as the guided Albatross viewing tour gets replaced by the our hour wildlife cruise aboard the MV ‘Monarch’ for the purposes of Albatross viewing in their colonies along with extensive viewing of the marine wildlife.

The tours run on a seasonal basis from the 16th of September to 20th of March.

Encounters Lite: These tours are most suitable for persons who are not fit for the other Encounter Tour options as it involves upto 90% reduced walking as compared to the rest. Visitors can view wildlife within the conservation area and visit the Royal Albatross Centre along with unobtrusive views of estuarine and marine birds.

The tours are seasonal and run from the 24th of November to 31st of March except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. 

Encounters Lite + Albatross: The tours are similar to the Encounters Lite option except the guided tour for Albatross viewing is replaced with a tour conducted by the Royal Albatross Centre within the Royal Albatross breeding area which offers a closer view of the birds.

The tours are seasonal and run from the 24th of November to 31st of March except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. 

Wildcoast Explorer Tours

Visitors can opt for these tours that are not pre-planned by the tour guides, but have the option of tailoring a private tour for small groups of around one to four people. The tour guides build an itinerary taking into consideration the period of time and preferred spots for wildlife viewing that the tourists choose.

The tours also have pre-built options based on location, like the Wild Peninsula (which is usually considered to be ideal for a day’s trip aboard the cruise ship), the Wild North Coast tour, the Wild South Coast tour, the Wild Catlins Coast tour, and the Wild Island Coast tour.

The rates for these tours range from a minimum of NZD 925 to NZD 5685 and the tours generally depart at 8:00 a.m. everyday, although the timings are always subject to change.

Cruise Ship Tour

  • Shore Excursion: The tours run for seven hours each and take the tourists around Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula for exploring the wildlife and the spectacular scenery of the region along with an exclusive private penguin viewing excursion at their very own penguin conservation area.

    The tour departs from the Port Chalmers cruise terminal at 9:30 a.m. with a maximum limit of eighteen people divided into two groups and run from the 1st of October to the 30th of April on a seasonal basis except on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
  • Shore Excursion + Albatross:  These tours have the same provisions as that of the Shore Excursion tour, except with an additional trip to the Royal Albatross viewing gallery and their private conservation reserves. The tours run from the 24th of November to the 30th of April except on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. 

International Tours

  • Visitors can also go for international tours organised by Elm Wildlife Tours that run from the month of May to August for exploring the wildlife, culture and the biodiversity of other places.
  • There are three escorted tour options for the visitors to choose from, like the Galapagos Peru Adventure, the Borneo Adventure and the African Adventure.
  • Tourists can also book non-escorted tours with a modified itinerary for select dates organised by the tour company.


  • Visitors are advised to carry warm and waterproof clothing with walking shoes or boots with heavy tread to stay on the safer side as most of the activities take place outdoors and the region has a maritime climate with unpredictable weather forecasts.
  • Tourists must carry personal medicines and any medical condition that they have must be informed to the tour guide or any present authority, the tour is not suitable for people with walking disabilities or for people who are wheelchair bound.
  • For Peninsula Encounter tours and Catlins Encounters, visitors are advised to carry their own meals and drinks even though there might be small cafes available through the duration of the course.
  • Flash photography of the penguins is strictly prohibited. 

How To Reach Elm Wildlife Tours

  • Elm Wildlife Tours office is located on 19 Irvine Road - The Cove but the tours take place on 50 The Octagon in the Octagon Peninsula, Dunedin and be reached by both private and public transport.
  • The central city lies at a distance of 20 minutes from the venue, which also includes the airport, and the coach terminal is located at a distance of 5 minutes.
  • Visitors are picked up from and dropped off at the city arrival point, their accommodations or other spots preferred by them and road travel for Peninsula Encounters takes place by mini-coaches or small buses.
  • Road travel for Wild Coast Explorer tours are done by 4x4 SUV Mini-coaches.

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