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Nature & Wildlife

Royal Albatross Centre attractions & things to do

  • 3 minutes

Unmissable the World’s only breeding colony

Royal Albatross gliding, seemingly floating above the Taiaroa Head are the world’s largest ocean birds. Royal Albatross are marvels of feathered flight, engineered by nature to soar the oceans for years without stop. A must-go visitor attraction awaits you on the Otago Peninsula. Experience the joy of observing Albatross parents caring for their chicks and find out the challenges life throws at them.

@albatrosscentre
@albatrosscentre

A stupendous wing span and solid body is ungainly on land yet the streamlined majesty of flight is uplifting to watch. The albatross viewing observatory is helpfully protected from the elements with extensive windows. Though the brisk wind buffets the window you are cosy inside. The albatross take to the skies using the cliff face, the prevailing wind direction and their body strength to launch themselves in search of food for hungry chicks. Devoted parents share custody of the fluffy chicks ensuring their offspring are monitored and cared for.

The Royal Albatross Centre is a polished visitor experience with a detailed chronology of the albatross’s life and the perils facing these magnificent ocean birds. There is a well stocked visitor gift shop and adjoining cafe.

TIP

There are no public or guided tours that access Taiaroa Head’s lighthouse. The best view of the lighthouse is from the public cliff face viewing platform on the eastern side of Taiaroa Head.

The Royal Albatross Observatory is only accessible via a guided tour. The guided tour is packed with amusing stories interspersed with a serious conservation message about the plight of the 3 metre wingspan soaring ambassadors of the oceans.

@albatrosscentre
@albatrosscentre

A MUST-GO WILDLIFE AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND ATTRACTION

INTERESTING FACT

The Royal Albatross Centre is the location for a slice of NZ military history, complete with a disappearing gun… find out more when you visit the albatross.

 

In the breeding season check out the live cam Royal Cam: Royal albatross/toroa.

Royal Albatross landing, New Zealand
Royal Albatross landing

WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT THE ROYAL ALBATROSS CENTRE, OTAGO PENINSULA?

A favourite time to visit the Royal Albatross Centre, Otago Peninsula is between January to September when the albatross parents are caring for their chicks. The breeding birds arrive at Taiaroa Head on Otago Peninsula in September. They nest during early November and within the following three weeks an egg is laid – one only per pair, each two years.

The parents share incubation duty as it lasts a period of 80 days

INTERESTING FACT

Albatross are the world’s largest ocean birds. They normally breed on remote islands and spend at least 85% of their lives at sea, well away from land and human view. Dunedin’s Taiaroa Head is the only mainland Royal Albatross breeding colony in the world.

CAN THE ROYAL ALBATROSS CENTRE GUARANTEE YOU WILL SEE BIRDS FLYING AND LANDING

The Royal Albatross Centre cannot guarantee you will see birds flying and landing. The birds are wild.

@albatrosscentre
@albatrosscentre
TIP

The albatross like the windier the better. Some times of year and some seasonal and weather variations create more suitable conditions for albatrosses to fly. You can contact the centre and inquire beforehand if this is important to you.

INTERESTING FACT

Renowned ocean wanderers, they travel vast distances from their breeding grounds to feed. The Northern Royal Albatross, with its massive three metre wingspan, flies an estimated 190,000 kilometres a year.

These birds are also a taonga species to Māori, highlighting cultural significance and importance.

 

Interesting facts: sourced from Life Of The Northern Royal | Royal Albatross Centre.

Royal Albatross near Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand.
Royal Albatross near Dunedin

The Royal Albatross Centre is one of Dunedin and Otago Peninsula’s top sights. It’s a special moment when you have an opportunity to view a unique moment in nature. The only mainland breeding colony of the world’s largest ocean birds.

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