A SPOTTERS GUIDE TO
FOUND ON THE OTAGO PENINSULA
The wildlife on this page are found on the Otago Peninsula or are spotted in the ocean near Taiaroa Head.
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Some animals are seen more frequently than others. We unfortunately can’t guarantee viewing of any particular wildlife species.
We are very lucky to operate in such an abundant region with a large range of different birds and animals to see each day!
Northern royal albatross
Nesting locally at the Taiaroa Head breeding colony - the only mainland albatross colony in the world! Great viewing of these impressive birds all year round. We will put you in a prime position to watch them soar and glide across the ocean and high above their nests on huge 3m wings.
SOUTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS
The largest seabird in the world with a 3.5m wingspan and weighing between 9-12kgs. We spot them frequently offshore during our Wildlife Cruises. They can be distinguished from a Northern Royal by the extra white feathers that feature across the back of their body and wings.
Spotted daily, the lesser albatross or mollymawks are here to fish and feed in the abudant waters off the Otago Peninsula. Wingspans measure approximately two metres, they can be distinguished by their bright yellow beaks.
Breeding on sub-antarctic island chains these albatross are spotted daily in local waters. Often seen scavenging from behind commercial fishing boats. Their most distinguishing feature is the yellow-tipped beaks and eyebrows.
The rarest of all penguin species, found on the South-east coast of New Zealand and several sub-antarctic islands. Standing 65cm tall and weighing approximately 5-6kgs they are the third largest of all penguins. Experts estimate that only 250 breeding pairs remain on the South Island.
NZ FURSEAL (MALE)
Living predominantly on rocky outcrops dotted around the coastline. They can be distinguished from NZ sealions by their pointy nose and smaller size. The dominant males can grow up to 2.5m long and weigh up to 150kg.
NZ SEALION (male)
An impressive ocean predator they can weigh up to 500kg. When not hunting at sea they can be found mostly on sandy beaches around the Otago Peninsula. They occasionally feed on penguins and furseal pups.
These acrobatic dolphins feed mostly on anchovies, hake and several species of squid. Spotted mostly during our summer months and can often be seen surfing and playing on the bow wave created by the Monarch.
The world’s smallest penguin - they are just over 25cm tall and weigh around 1kg. The local population is growing with increased predator trapping. Occasionally spotted from the boat on our Wildlife Cruises, although the best viewing is just after dusk on our Sundowner Package.
NZ FURSEAL (FEMALE & PUPS)
Females dive deeper and longer than any other furseal. They are known to (occasionally) dive deeper than 238m, and for as long as 11 minutes. They give birth every year to a single pup from the age of roughly 4-6 years old.
NZ Sealion (female & Pup)
Distinguished from the males by their smaller body and lighter fur colour. After nearly being wiped out by early settlers a pup was born locally in 1993, the first in 100 years. The population has steadily grown since then.
One of the smallest marine dolphins in the world, Hector’s dolphins grow no more than 1.5m in length. Easily spotted they feature a distinctive rounded ‘mickey mouse’ dorsal fin. Only found in New Zealand waters.