The Royal Albatross Centre is nestled at the foot of Taiaroa Head, at one with its environment. Step into the foyer dominated by Poutokomanawa, a carved pole telling the history of the Maori people of the headland. Settle back for an introduction to the Royal Albatross narrated by Natural History New Zealand. Your guide will take you through the bird’s fascinating story.
From the Dunedin Royal Albatross Centre, it’s a short walk to the Observatory for the privilege of seeing the greatest of all seabirds. Wander through the McMillan Gallery and learn more of the history and wildlife of the area. Enjoy a snack or meal at the Royal Albatross Café and look out for a memento – you’ll want to remember the day you met the Royals of Taiaroa!
Experience a tour of the diverse features of Otago Peninsula and Taiaroa Head, an area unique in the world for the variety and richness of the bird and marine life found there, together with its human heritage of settlement and use from the days of Maori fortification to the present.
Taiaroa Head and Dunedin’s Royal Albatross Centre can be experience either as part one of our peninsula package tours combining many great attractions of the Otago Peninsula
In 1967 the Otago Peninsula Trust, a charitable trust, was established for the purpose of protecting and enhancing peninsula flora and fauna. The first albatross observatory was built on the headland and a converted Otago Harbour Board cottage was used as the visitor centre.
In 1983 The Richdale Albatross Observatory was opened for albatross viewing. By 1986 a new access tunnel was built across the top of the headland from outside the colony to allow access into the underground tunnels and gun pit. Displays were set up in the underground magazine areas and the new facility opened to guided groups in 1987. In 1989 HRH Princess Anne opened the Royal Albatross Centre.
Today Pukekura Taiaroa Head is a successful Wildlife Reserve, managed by the Department of Conservation. In addition to approximately 200 albatross, it is also home to over 20 other wildlife species, including some 4,000 red-billed gulls and colonies of Spotted Shag, the rare Stewart Island Shag, Royal Spoonbills and hundreds of Southern Fur Seals.