Close Encounters with Royal Albatross and Little Blue Penguins

Right on the end of the Otago Peninsula, at a place called Taiaroa Head, is the world’s only mainland royal albatross colony. We’ve seen these larger than large seabirds gliding around Taiaroa Head and flying past our boat as we have taken various wildlife tours around Taiaroa Head. But there’s a way to have a far more intimate experience and get to know how intelligent these birds are. We’re heading there in our campervan right now!

We set off from the Hogwartz Backpackers early evening so our viewing of the royal albatross can coincide with watching the little blue penguins return from fishing at dusk. However, the rain has been coming down hard all day. The Otago Peninsula road has been subject to a few landslips, it’s pretty cold and windy… But what we humans find as grim weather, the wildlife is sure to find heaps of fun.

The journey to Taiaroa Head

On the final upwards climb up to Taiaroa Head, starting 4km away, we can already see the outlines of the royal albatross gliding around the head. About four of them can be seen with their magnificent wingspan that can reach up to three metres. From afar, they look like seagulls on steroids.

Parking up at the Royal Albatross Centre, we are even tempted to take photos out of the campervan window! They are putting on such a show, gliding in circles above us. We must refrain, we are going to go on a tour which includes a viewing area of the northern royal albatrosses’ nests.

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