Taiaroa Head, Dunedin
The Albatross has long been a creature of reverence and superstition. Well before Coleridge penned his 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner', seafarers believed that when their captains died their souls took the form of an albatross to wander the oceans forever.
The Royal Albatross, one of the largest seabirds, is a gliding phenomenon. It regularly circumnavigates the globe, sometimes aloft for days on end. Ranging effortlessly on the prevailing winds, it spends little more than a tenth of its long life on land.
To sight a soaring Albatross is unforgettable - a spectacle touched with a dignity and majesty no other bird can excel. Held aloft on slim wings up to 3 metres (9'6") across, the great Albatross is capable of swooping speeds of at least 115kph+. It's pure ecstacy in the air, yet distinctly clumsy on the ground. You'll find the social and family life of the breeding colony fascinating. Chicks are fussed over by devoted parents, adolescents party, just like adolescents everywhere, courtships proceed with lots of kissing and cuddling, and "marriage" is usually for life despite long separations at sea. And the life of an Albatross is indeed long - one bird at Taiaroa, fondly known as "Grandma," raised her last chick at age 62!
The Royal Albatross Colony at Taiaroa Head, on the tip of the Peninsula, is the only mainland breeding colony of albatross in the world.
Visitors to the Royal Albatross Centre can view the interpretative wildlife displays, learn of the historical use of the area, and experience the famous Unique Taiaroa guided tours. Don't leave the website without checking out our Virtual Reality 360-degree panorama!