We took the cruise ship and had a wonderful day. Company picked us up at the pier when we docked without a hitch and we were on our way. This company is very organized and the driver was very informative and entertaining. We were told by an employee of the Yellow-eyed penguin reserve that this company is very active environmentally. The employees volunteer with the reserve on their own time. Highly recommend.
Excellent city tour and wildlife viewing. Mark was our very knowledgeable guide and we learned a lot about Dunedin and the area.
This was one of the best nature tours we have taken. Matt, our driver and tour guide, was informative and pleasant company. We lucked out as our family of four were the only people on the tour that day. We started with stops around the city as well as a vista view of Dunedin.Then we were off to see Penguin Place. As luck would have it, we witnessed a Yellow Eyed Penguin coming out of the ocean and walk by us (we were in a bird blind). We also spotted a Royal Spoonbill and other birds along the way. At the Albatross Centre, several albatross flew right over us. It was a magical day and one of the highlights to our trip to New Zealand. Thanks Matt for being an excellent tour guide!
We were picked up promptly at the cruise terminal and taken to the railway terminal with our tickets for the Taieri Gorge train. It was a nice train ride. Chris then picked us up at the terminal and we went with 4 others, on a quick tour. We travelled the scenic way to the Otago peninsula where we saw Sea Lions. We walked along the beach and Chris answered our many questions. We then went to another beach and saw the view and were able to take more pictures. Back to the ship via another route, just as beautiful. Chris had us back to the ship on time, as promised. We really enjoyed this tour. I wish we had more time with Chris and less time on the train. Having only 6 people in the car was great, and it was really like a private tour. Thanks for the great tour!
Back to Nature’s tour of Otago Peninsula is an comprehensive tour of the natural side of the Dunedin area. Our guide was Matt. Delightful and knowledgeable. He knows a great deal about local history and especially about the local ecology and wildlife. This particular tour include a cruise through Dunedin with a stop at the lovely Dunedin Train Station and Signal Hill lookout before heading off to the Peninsula with stops at Lanarch Castle, Penguin Place, and the Royal Albatross Centre. We caught glimpses of plenty of wildlife and local flora. Matt led several quick walks into the “bush” for a few lessons on the ever evolving biodiversity of his native NZ.
We can thoroughly recommend this company to anyone picking up a tour off a cruise ship. They go above and beyond your expectations. Nothing is too much trouble for them including adapting your tour to enable a disabled traveller to experience the train trip and Otago Peninsula. Thanks again Chris.
Mateo was an amazing guide! I took the tour with several other cruise ship passengers and we all agreed that he was the best guide on our entire trip! He’s incredibly knowledgeable and took us all over Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula. We had a fantastic day exploring downtown Dunedin, learning about the gardens outside Larnach Castle, going to the overlook to watch for pelicans, and pulling over for any great picture spots. What was most impressive was when we went to the penguin rehabilitation center – Matteo used to work there, so he gave us a tour himself and was able to point out Jim, the elusive penguin, who was the last to molt and pretty difficult to spot. Matteo also pointed out his family’s farm and shared their history with us – very cool to meet someone whose family was among the first settlers in Dunedin! All in all, it was a fantastic day – I highly recommend this tour group!
I didn’t review earlier since I had lost some information and Chris Roberts, our guide and Operations Manager of Back to Nature Tours just sent me an e-mail. I had given him my business card and asked some questions.I booked through Shore Excursions. Since I am a travel agent, we wanted to compare their offerings with RCCL onboard. We were on a Royal Caribbean Cruise from Sydney to New Zealand and back to Sydney. Our first stop was Dunedin and we were very fortunate to have Chris as our guide. We were met at the ship and were taken to admire the beautiful Dunedin Train Station. It was a gingerbread type of building. Amazing architecture and lovely garden in front of the building. You had time to visit gift shop if you were inclined.
The best part was that this tour had only twelve passengers and you were able to go places that a big bus could not travel. We toured the Otago Peninsula which was breathtaking. We watched Pacific Rollers wash up on several beaches. Chris, stopped for photos too. Probably the highlight of the tour was walking along Sandfly Bay where we had close encounters with rare New Zealand Sea Islands. You had to climb over a style and descend a steep sandy area, but it was worth the walk. You might be careful if you have mobility issues. Chris, explained things on the long beach walk. Be sure and bring sun screen with you. On the way back to the port we headed back on the low road by scenic inlets and watched waders and waterfowl including the Royal Spoonbill.
We are looking forward to another adventure with Back to Nature Tours. I will suggest clients use this company. They are excellent.
We booked via Zealandier Tours and were met just outside the port at Dunedin by Chris of Back to Nature Tours. Our first stop was at the beautiful Dunedin Railway Station – we had time to look around the station before boarding our train. The train trip featured beautiful scenery and amazing engineering with bridges and viaducts. Although our train was nearly an hour later than expected getting back (due to another train being used for cruise ship tour), Chris was waiting for us at the station and still managed to take us on a tour of the Otago Peninsula, even seeing a sea lion on a beach. Commentary and information very good, excellent value for money (about $100 pp less than very similar tour offered by our cruise ship).