Full Day Tours

 

These small group tours last seven to eight hours and can be tailored to cruise ship arrival and departure times. Our full day tours include a Walking Tour, a Strolling Tour, a Bird Watching and Wildlife Tour and a Wildlife, Dunedin City and Scenic Highlight Tour. Alternatively, we can arrange your own special Tailor Made Tour.

Organ Pipes, Orokonui Ecosanctuary, Sea Caves and Wetlands Tour

This tour is aimed at those able to walk on uneven, hilly ground, and with a moderate level of fitness, who want to experience New Zealand’s unique wildlife up close and personal. We will collect you from your Dunedin hotel, motel, or Dunedin or Port Chalmers cruise ship then take a scenic drive to Mount Cargill. A steady uphill 30 minute walk through native trees will bring you up close to the Organ Pipes, a striking volcanic rock formation. Formed of jointed columnar basalt, this geological feature was created some 11 million years ago by pavementing, the same process that forged Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway. Your walk, taken at your pace is interspersed with stops to take in the superb views of Otago Harbour and the Silver Peaks, and will provide you with the opportunity to learn about the native trees and even taste and smell a few.

A scenic drive to the far side of Mount Cargill offers sweeping views of the coast and Silverpeaks ranges on the way to a well deserved break, where you can purchase morning tea at The Sanctuary Café or examine the displays at the Orokonui Ecosanctuary Visitors Centre.

We then explore Orokonui Ecosanctuary, a “mainland island” where rare birds and reptiles are protected by a predator proof fence and the forest flourishes in the absence of rats, stoats, possums and other pests. An extended guided tour of the sanctuary provides ample opportunity to get up close to the resident wildlife, which usually includes: the endangered takahe, the inquisitive South Island Kaka, New Zealand’s smallest bird, the Rifleman, our huge New Zealand pigeon, the Kereru, the cute Tomtit, the cheeky Fantails, the friendly South Island Robin, daring Wax Eyes, the vocal Tuis, tuneful Bell Birds, entire families of Brown Creepers, shy Fern Birds and others. On warm days tuatara and Otago skinks bask in the sun. A lucky few might also spot the endangered South Island Saddleback and the rare Jewelled Gecko, though those determined to try and see these two elusive creatures are recommended to go on our Bird Watching and Wildlife Tour. You can also marvel at 500 year old rimu trees, other ancient podocarps, and prehistoric fern trees in this magical forest landscape. Experience the evolution of the forest from young bush, to regenerating forest through to mature mixed broad leaf and podocarp forest. Orokonui Ecosanctuary is also interlaced with streams supporting a wide variety of New Zealand’s native fish and aquatic life.

Ample time is allowed for lunch; either bring a packed lunch or purchase something from the tempting delights on offer at The Sanctuary's Horopito Café.

In the afternoon we will explore a volcanic cave set on a stunning beach surrounded by rolling hills and distant mountains. A short walk around one of our picturesque wetlands enables close up viewing of wading birds such as White Faced Heron, Oyster Catchers, Pied Stilts and Spoonbills feeding in a tidal inlet where Kingfishers regularly hunt. We finish our day with complimentary afternoon tea on a quiet beach followed by a gentle stroll to a sea cave (subject to tide) before the scenic drive back to Dunedin or Port Chalmers.

Book your 4 Nature Organ Pipes, Orokonui Ecosanctuary, Sea Caves and Wetlands walking tour here.
To get the most out of your day, please see our list of what to bring with you and what we provide.

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A rare Otago skink basking in the winter sunshine

A rare Otago skink at Orokonui Ecosanctuary.

 

 

Fern birds have made Orokonui Ecosanctuary their home

Fern birds are one of the many rare birds at home in Orokonui Ecosanctuary.

The Organ pipes are a volcanic rock formation seen on 4 Nature walking tour

The Organ Pipes a volcanic rock formation.

Kaka are seen on 4 Nature tours visiting the Orokonui ecosanctuary

The kaka, New Zealand's forrest parrot often seen at Orokonui Ecosanctuary.

Keruru are New Zealand's large pigeon often seen on 4 Nature tours

The kereru, New Zealand's handsome pigeon

The tuneful bell bird.


Orokonui Ecosanctuary, Scenic Coastline and Wetlands

Strolling Tour

This small group 4 Nature tour is aimed at those able to walk on well formed tracks and beaches who want to experience New Zealand’s unique wildlife at a gentler pace. This tour covers many of the same sites visited on our Walking Tour except that the walk to the Organ Pipes is replaced by a scenic drive along some of our stunning coastline with breath taking views of sweeping sandy bays and picturesque seaside villages. At Orokonui Ecosanctuary there is also the option to take a shorter tour along level, well formed gravel paths which gives the opportunity to encounter many of the rare and beautiful birds and ancient trees that feature in our Walking Tour. As with all our tours we will collect you from and return you to your Dunedin hotel, motel, or Dunedin or Port Chalmers cruise ship.


Book your 4 nature wildlife and scenic strolling tour here
. To get the most out of your day, please see our list of what to bring with you and what we provide.

see other photos

 

 

Karitane and stunning scenery seen on 4 Nature tours

Waikouaiti (sparkling waters) and Karitane Beaches.

Native clamatis seen on 4 Nature tours

Clematis paniculata in flowers at Orokonui

Bird Watching and Wildlife Tour

This tour is aimed at those determined to try and view specific rare birds or reptiles. Participants must be able to walk on uneven ground and have a moderate level of fitness.

We will collect you from your Dunedin hotel, motel, or Dunedin or Port Chalmers cruise ship then take a scenic drive round Mount Cargill with sweeping views of Otago Harbour, the coast and Silverpeaks ranges on the way to the Orokonui Ecosanctuary Visitors Centre.

We then explore Orokonui Ecosanctuary, a “mainland island” where rare birds and reptiles are protected by a predator proof fence and the forest flourishes in the absence of rats, stoats, possums and other pests. A three hour tour through the length of the valley of the sanctuary provides ample opportunity to get up close to the resident wildlife, which usually includes: the endangered takahe, the inquisitive South Island Kaka, New Zealand’s smallest bird, the Rifleman, our huge New Zealand pigeon, the Kereru, the cute Tomtit, the cheeky Fantails, the friendly South Island Robin, daring Wax Eyes, the vocal Tuis, tuneful Bell Birds, entire families of Brown Creepers, Fern Birds and others. On warm days tuatara and Otago skinks bask in the sun.The additional time spent at Orokonui will maximise your chances of seeing the rare Jewelled Gecko and our extended walk takes us into the home territory of the elusive endangered South Island Saddleback. You can also marvel at New Zealand’s tallest tree plus a 500 year old rimu tree, other ancient podocarps, and prehistoric fern trees in this magical forest landscape. Experience the evolution of the forest from young bush, to regenerating forest through to mature mixed broad leaf and podocarp forest. Orokonui Ecosanctuary is also interlaced with streams supporting a wide variety of New Zealand’s native fish and aquatic life.

Ample time is allowed for lunch, either bring a packed lunch or purchase something from the tempting delights on offer at the Sanctuary Café.

In the afternoon a short walk enables close up viewing of wading birds such as White Faced Heron, Oyster Catchers, Pied Stilts and Spoonbills feeding in a wetland inlet where Kingfishers regularly hunt. A visit to a nearby beach provides an opportunity to view a variety of sea birds and enjoy 360 degree panoramic views across hills, mountains, sea and beaches. We finish our day with afternoon tea on a quiet beach where in winter the little blue penguin will be returning home after a hard day’s fishing. Then relax on the scenic drive back to your drop off location in Port Chalmers or Dunedin.


Book your 4 Nature Birds and wildlife tour here.
To get the most out of your day, please see our list of what to bring with you and what we provide.

 

 

Tuatara

Ancient Tuatara basking in the sun.

Rifleman

New Zealand's smallest bird the rifleman.

Skink

Skink.

Coral fungus seen on a 4 Nature tour

Coral fungi

Wildlife and Scenic Highlights

Tour.

 

 

This 4 Nature tour combines viewing the world’s rarest penguin with the unique Moeraki Boulders, stunning scenery, an ancient rocky gorge, the ancient forest and magical array of birds at Orokonui Ecosanctury. This 4 Nature tour is aimed at Cruise ship passengers or those who want to fit a bit of everything into their day.
We will collect you from your Dunedin hotel, motel, or Dunedin or Port Chalmers cruise ship then take a scenic tour through picturesque farmland and the ancient Trotters Gorge. Then on to one of our stunning beaches where the fascinating Moeraki Boulders lay as though a group of giants has been playing bowls on the beach. These 60 million year old concretions are unique to this small stretch of coastline. After which we will we will stop for morning tea.* Nearby, a stroll along gently sloping grass paths takes you to a breeding colony of the endangered yellow eyed penguins**. As one of only two small tour operators permitted to guide groups at this site you can avoid the crowds, take your time and thoroughly enjoy meeting the world's third largest penguin. New Zealand Fur seals often haul out on the beaches below and can be watched frolicking in the surf. A wide variety of sea birds and the little blue penguins also visit this dramatic location. Find out more about New Zealand's rarest penguin the yellow eye and other wildlife enctountered on you tour below.

You then have the option of enjoying (at your expense) a fabulous lunch from options such as sea food chowder, a Kai Moana (see food platter) or local freshly caught fish at Fleur’s Place (see reviews on Tripadvisor), one of New Zealand’s best sea food restaurants, located on the harbour front at Moeraki or fish and chips on the beach.

A scenic drive along awesome coastal scenery allows for sweeping views of curving pristine beaches and dramatic coves. We then explore Orokonui Ecosanctuary, a “mainland island” where rare birds and reptiles are protected by a predator proof fence and the forest flourishes in the absence of rats, stoats, possums and other pests. A guided tour of the sanctuary provides ample opportunity to get up close to the resident wildlife, marvel at 500 year old rimu trees, other ancient podocarps, and prehistoric fern trees in this magical forest landscape. Experience the evolution of the forest from young bush, to regenerating forest through to mature mixed broad leaf and podocarp forest. Encounter the widest range of forest birdlife available on the South Island.

For those that wish there is also the option to add on Dunedin city highlights to this tour: A hill top drive to Dunedin provides stunning views over Otago Harbour. We then sample some of the highlights of Dunedin City: Baldwin Street, the world’s steepest street, New Zealand’s oldest Botanical Gardens, Dunedin Railway Station with its mosaic floor and Royal Doulton tiled walls and the First Church. You will then be returned to your Dunedin accommodation or via a scenic drive down the Otago harbour to your cruise ship at Port Chalmers.

This tour includes morning tea*, and all entry fees. *A selection of teas, freshly brewed fair trade coffee, juice or water and home made cookies are available at any time, though we will make a scheduled stop. Lunch is at the client’s expense. N.B. Fleur's Place is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and alternative lunch arrangements apply.

**Yellow eyed penguins are commonly seen on shore during daylight hours from October to April. From April to October they normally only come ashore at dusk, tour departure times can be adjusted to enable twilight viewing if desired.

 

The order of the sites visited on this tour may be varied to take best advantage of the tides.

Book your 4 Nature Wildlife, Scenic and Dunedin City Highlights tour here. To get the most out of your day, please see our list of what to bring with you and what we provide.

If you would like to consider sponsoring a yellow eyed penguin please go to Foster a YEP.

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Elephant seal

An enormous elephant seal, a rare visitor to our shores

seen at Katiki Point.

New Zealand fur seal

Moeraki Boulders

The endangered yellow eyed penguin

NZ green lipped mussels, one of the many lunch options available at Fleurs

Four yellow eyed penguin chicks wait for food.

Katiki Point light house.

Moeraki boulder swallows small child.

New Zealand's Rarest Penguin

Thirteen of the worlds 18 species of penguin have been recorded in New Zealand with nine breeding here. Only the yellow eyed penguin, little blue penguin and Fiordland crested penguin regularly breed on the mainland. Fourteen of the world’s extinct penguin species also came from NZ, one stood 1.45m tall!

The yellow eyed penguin or hoiho is the world's rarest penguin with a population of around 5000. On the mainland, the majority of these penguins live on the New Zealand coast between Banks Peninsular and Curio bay in Southland. The yellow eye is the third largest of all penguins standing about 680mm tall, with only the emperor penguin and the king penguin being taller. Their Latin name is Megadyptes which means big diver and refers to the fact that this penguin can dive up to 144 meters deep. The yellow eyed penguins have a remarkable ability to return to exactly the same spot of coastline to breed every year. Stoats, dogs, cats and cars are their biggest threat and a huge conservation effort has gone in to protecting these penguins and providing good habitats for them to breed in. You can encounter this delightful shy penguin on either a Yellow eyed penguin and Moeraki Boulders Tour or a Wildlife, Dunedin City and Scenic Highlights Tour or a Taylor Made Tour.

The little blue penguin or korara is more common and is found all along New Zealand's coastline. At just 300mm tall the little blue is the world's smallest penguin but despite its size it can swim over 100km in a day, however they tend to stay in one area even when not breeding. The little blue penguin are sometimes seen on a 4 Nature Moeraki Boulders and Yellow Eyed Penguin tour or a Wildlife, Scenic and City Highlight tour or if this is the penguin you want to see they can be included as part of a Tailor Made Tour. Fiordland penguins are only normally seen in Fiordland (South West Coast) and are only occasionally encountered on a 4 Nature tour.