When are you open? Do I need to book?
We’re Open Daily from 10:15am until dusk, first scheduled tour 11:00am – bookings recommended. Closed Christmas Day – 25th December.

Do I need to book a tour? It’s strongly advised for a few reasons. Firstly, this is the only place in the world where albatross nest on a mainland, so you don’t want to miss out! Secondly, the only way to get to the observatory to have the chance to see nesting albatross is on a guided tour. Bookings are subject to availability as each tour does have a capacity limit in order to meet permit requirements for entering the nature reserve.

Can you guarentee viewing and flying?
The Albatrosses are not in captivity. They are wild creatures. So we cannot guarantee their behaviour or sightings on any given day, usually we have nests in sight of our observatory for most months of the year. Some times of year and some seasonal and weather variations create more suitable conditions for albatrosses to fly. Please contact us for more information prior to your visit to check what viewing is like.

Is there much walking?
A reasonable level of fitness is required to walk from the Centre to the observatory and the fortifications – its a 5-7 minute walk up a steep hill to the observatory. If you are taking the Unique Tour there are a two small steep staircases. We have mobility scooters, please give us advance notice if you’d like to use one, so we can have a staff member available.

Booking, Refund and Cancellation Policy
– You have until 24 hours prior to your tour time to cancel or amend your booking. Cancellations or changes after this time are non-refundable.
– In the event of a tour cancellation prior to the tour commencing (due to weather conditions), a full refund or tour re-scheduling will apply.

– In the event of your trip being affected or cancelled by COVID-19, a full refund will be issued or the option to re-schedule your visit.
– Child policy – children rates apply to school aged children 5 – 17 years of age, children 4 yrs and under are free of charge.

Do we get to go on the albatross reserve?
Our guided tour is within an observatory over the albatross nesting area, only DOC Rangers are allowed on the albatross nature reserve. A one way glass and sound deadening system is in place to minimise our disturbance to the nesting albatrosses. Photography is behind glass windows.

NO Public Access
Taiaroa Head/ Pukekura is a nature reserve to protect the albatross and other species.

To the wildlife reserve/albatross colony, access is granted by booking on a guided tour. Bookings are essential to guarantee a place on a tour. No self-guided tour options.

Are we COVID-19 Safety Ready?
How we’re keeping you safe

We are COVID-19 Safety Ready and approved by the Tourism Export Council:

If you are feeling ill or presenting symptoms of a cough, a high temperature or shortness of breath, you MUST leave site immediately and seek advice from health line on 0800 358 5453.

Anyone obliged to be in self isolation will be unable to visit us. We have the Covid-19 QR code located at the centre should anyone wish to utilise this, although this is no longer a requirement.

Under orange level we are currently taking up to 18 visitors on tours to our observatory and through Fort Taiaroa. We do require the appropriate use of a face mask both on tour and throughout our buildings. As alert levels change, our tour capacity and mask wearing requirements will change accordingly.

Our facilities are cleaned regularly throughout the day including high touch areas. Hand sanitisers are located in the centre and facilities. We advocate practicing good hygiene by using the washrooms to thoroughly wash your hands before entering our free information gallery and before joining our tours. All employees are required to stay home if they feel unwell.

What might I see at what time of the year?
Albatross have a two year breeding cycle. Contact our team to find out what viewing is like or check out what you might see while visiting Albatross and Penguin Lifecycles 

Have you got Disability Access?
Our centre is accessible with accessible toilets, cafe and displays. We also have 2 self-drive mobility carts available (limited availability), we ask visitors to contact us to book a cart and to advise the centre of any special requirements.

What should I wear?
Weather can be very changeable as it is a marine environment, the albatross choose to nest here because of its special weather. All tour options involve outdoor activity in an area where maritime weather prevails, the weather can change very quickly on the Otago Peninsula year round. Always take warm clothing and solid footwear is required. We would advise dressing in layers and bringing warm clothes as it can get cold, especially in the evening. We have raincoats for the albatross tours, but you’ll need your own warm jackets for the penguin tour, it can get cold. Sensible shoes are strongly advised.

Are children allowed on guided tours?

We are entering a nature reserve, to keep our birds healthy and protected, we do ask parents to ensure children are quiet on tour so visitors and albatross are not disturbed. Our guides may ask parents to ensure children are quiet throughout the tour if required, and do reserve the right to ask parents with children to finish the tour early if they not adhering.

How many can come on a family pass?
Two adults and up to 3 school aged children (5-17 years of age) 18 + is an adult. Infants 4 and under are free on tour.

Is there a charge just to visit the centre?
We welcome you free of charge. This includes access to our interactive gallery, Toroa cafe and gift shop. All donations to keep the centre open and help support the conservation work are very welcome – we ask that you make a small donation if you wish to use our restroom facilities – we have to buy all our water and truck it 30km (and truck the sewage back out).

How far is the Royal Albatross Centre from Dunedin City? Is there public transport?
We’re a 32km scenic drive from Dunedin city centre. Allow about 50-60 minutes and check for roadworks as Dunedin is building a cycleway along the peninsula road that may cause delays. Plan to be 15 minutes before your booked tour.

The closest public transport to the Centre terminates at Harington Point, 3.5kms from the Royal Albatross Centre. Public transport is not suitable as the bus does not stop or travel to the centre therefore requires a 30-40minute walk from Harington Point, which isn’t advised due to safety – there is no footpath.

How can I donate to help the Widlife and Conservation of the Otago Peninsula Trust?
The Royal Albatross Centre is owned and operated by the Otago Peninsula Trust – Aotearoa’s oldest not-for-profit charitable trust.

Check out our Givealittle Fundraising Page

Can I get to the Lighthouse?
There is 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.

Vouchers and Entertainment Vouchers!
These are not valid for already discounted / deals offered – including Mates Rate, Express Albatross Tour options.

We offer Gold Card Holders and Ōtepoti Residents / Locals a 25% Discount off our Unique Taiaroa, Albatross Classic and Fort Taiaroa tours.