From our cruise ship we were taken on the most comprehensive tour of Dunedin area, from the beautiful Railway Station, down to the shore, on to a visit of the gorgeous gardens of Larnach Castle. Chris Roberts of Back to Nature Tours showed us the picturesque grounds of the College, some of the city highlights, then on to see some of the true nature of the area. We visited the Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve, we drove up to the Albatross nesting area, where we saw hundreds of nesting sea birds, we even saw the little crabs that thousands of birds come to eat ever year. All in all we had a wonderful never to be forgotten visit.
I recently returned from a 2 week Holland America cruise of New Zealand. I contacted Chris Roberts about a private tour for our group of 14 for Dunedin. He not only planned and scheduled our Dunedin stop but set up two other tours for us at other ports ‘o call! He even gave us a discount for scheduling multiple tours with Back To Nature Tours. All three tours were great, the drivers/guides were knowledgeable and friendly, and we were able to see considerably more points of interests than we would have had we booked a tour through Holland America, without the hassles and large crowds! Plus our PP costs were significantly less than Holland America! All in all, Back To Nature Tours was a Great decision!
Daniel picked us up promptly at Port Chalmers and began our tour with a stop in Dunedin at the beautiful railway station ( and opposite the Cadbury factory!). We then headed on to Baldwin Street, the steepest street in the world, and on to Allens Beach where we spotted a New Zealand fur seal lying on the sand. We also saw a yellow eyed penguin strolling up the beach after a day’s fishing. Daniel pointed out many sea birds around the Otago peninsula and gave us a private tour of the Penguin Place, where he used to work. We were lucky enough to see several penguins in the wild, as well as several albatross circling the headland. Daniel was very knowledgeable about wildlife and also very accommodating as we needed to visit a sports shop to buy a gift before we went back to the ship, and he took us to one on the way back to the ship. It was a most enjoyable tour and we felt privileged to see so many animals and birds in their natural habitat. We learned a lot that day.
My wife and I booked in advance with Zealandier Tours for the Dunedin’s Best Shore Excursion (Tour #DB2NFD) on 23rd December 2014. The tour was run by Back to Nature Tours (a sister company of Zealandier Tours).
We were quite lucky, as we were the only couple on this group tour and ended up having our own private tour guider for the day.
We were picked up by our driver from Port Chalmers fairly promptly.
Our first stop was Baldwin Street, which is claimed to be the ‘steepest street in the world’. We both walked up this street to the top for a great view of Dunedin. It was worth the climb, but I’m not sure whether it is ‘the steepest street in the world’, as I have been to San Francisco and they have some really steep streets which may be steeper than this street.
Our second stop was Dunedin Railway Station which has been restored and is an example of how they don’t make railway stations like this anymore. There are some nice stain glass windows upstairs. Quite a nice looking building from the outside.
Our third stop was Larnarch Castle, which is a privately run castle and gardens. We didn’t go inside the castle, as the cost was extra. However, the gardens in the castle grounds were very beautiful with lots of flowers in bloom when we were there. There is an Alice in Wonderland themed garden.
Next stop was lunch followed by a scenic drive through the Otago Peninsula with picturesque mountain views with lots of sheep and cattle.
We then went to Penguin Place to view a Yellow-Eyed Penguin Reserve. This reserve is trying to repopulate the penguin population with some success. This was quite interesting, as we found out about this endangered species and viewed these rare penguins through a series of tunnels and hides. We also saw some sea lions in the water and on rocks along the coast.
Our next stop was Tairoa Head to view the Northern Royal Albatross. Unfortunately, all we saw was seagulls and this stop wasn’t very exciting. I’m personally not much of a fan of bird watching.
The final stop was a lookout above Port Chalmers where we saw a scenic view of the port and our ship, the Holland America Oosterdam.
Overall, this tour was worthwhile as we saw a lot of Dunedin and it was much better value than the tours offered by our cruise ship.
We were dropped-off back at our cruise ship with plenty of time in order to board on time.
This company is recommended.
We were on a cruise to Australia and New Zealand, and I did not want to take one of the big bus tours – and saw this tour group on trip advisor – what a great experience!! There were only 4 of us on the tour for the day. He had so much information to give us and really took us to some out of the way places that I know we would not have seen on a big bus tour. He was great at spotting lots of wildlife, too, which my husband thoroughly enjoyed!! Very professional tour guide!!
The trip out to the peninsula was fantastic! Mark, my driver, was very knowledgeable about all the birds and history of Dunedin. The scenery is beautiful and we got to see seals on the beach, black swans, and lots of ducks and their chicks. If you only have a short time to visit, this is the tour to book. The bus picks you up from the tourist office in the Octagon, and after a quick trip around the highlights of the city, it is off to the glorious scenery on the outskirts. I loved every minute! I had never been to New Zealand before and I was so glad that my first trip was so magical.
We went on a cruise around New Zealand and decided to book a tour with Back to Nature Tours so we could get to know Dunedin. Mark was our tour guide, he was awesome! He was super friendly and knew Dunedin as if it was his backyard. He told us a lot about the place and was on time during the whole day, since he picked us up from our cruise until he took us back to it. 100% recomendable, thank you for everything Mark!
My wife and I toured New Zealand (DunedIn, Akaroa, and Tauranga) on a cruise last week and we only had 6 to 7 hours on each of these locations to explore. I found the Back to nature tours via TripAdvisor owing to popular reviews and they sure did live up to my expectations. Mark was our driver guide in DunedIn, was very knowledgable, patient, and was extremely assuring about covering all the famous spots around town to get back to our cruise on time. They had ties with Tour South and Zealander tours in Akaroa and Tauranga respectively and they were equally well organised as well. Stops for lunch were made on respectably decent cafes and restaurants. They had mercendes benz van organised for the day tours and was highly convenient, less crowd, very well organised! I would highly recommend booking Back to Nature tours for shore excursions.
Our first time in New Zealand! Les,our tour guide/bus driver was wonderful! We learnt so much! It was so interesting! He was so knowledgable of the area and we couldn’t have chosen a better person to spend the day with and show us around.
Les took us all around Dunedin. We toured the train station which was great, Lanarch Castle which was absolutely amazing, and, the penguin reserve which was awesome! And the albatrosses and seals! These were just the highlights of the day. We saw many other fantastic sights as well.We were collected from the cruise ship and returned back to the ship on time with no issues. All in all, it was an amazing day with a terrific tour and the best tour guide possible. Thankyou immensely, for wrapping up our holiday to New Zealand with a day we will never forget! 10/10!!!
Mark was our guide, and extremely knowledgeable. As a high school biology teacher during the school year, he had a great background and the ability to point out things that we would easily have missed. His knowledge of the area was also very good.