18 Rankers Reviews
4 Bird Watching
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The Albatross Encounter is a boat based tour taking you to visit up to 14 different kinds of albatross. You will be amazed at how close you get to the largest wingspan in the entire world!
South Island ▷ Kaikoura Region ▷ Kaikoura
Showing 8 reviews of 18.
Albatross encounter skippered by Gary. What a great afternoon. Gary was informative and made the trip so much fun. We were lucky to spot dolphins and a seal but the birds were truly amazing and so entertaining. Great value for money.
I joined an Albatross Encounter Tour on 03/02/2012 6am with two other people. The conditions very quite good early in the morning and we had very good views on different Albatross species, Westland Black Petrels, White-chinned, N Giant Petrel and more. A nice addition was a flock of Dusky Dolphins. Mr. Melville was a friendly and knowledgeable guide.
Reasons for "just" 7 points: It was a pitty that I had to drag all the information about the birds out of Mr. Melville`s nose, because he didn`t explain almost anything about the fascinating ecology of seabirds or their identification. And he knows without doubt very much about the birds! That was definetly a crucial lack of the tour, because it is essential to educate people in order to improve the conservation of those threatened bird species.
Furthermore it is a quite expensive experience for 2,5 hours birdwatching.
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Recommended for anyone who wants to see albatross up close. I really enjoyed the tour, there were only 3 of us on the boat with the skipper and we saw lots of different species plus as a bonus Hector's dolphin.
Two reasons why I didn't put 10/10 :
* the price is quite expensive and the tour doesn't last 3 hours as indicated but rather 2 hours.
* using chum (bait) does garantee great birding, but it makes me wonder if it's not a bad habit for the birds, which probably have changed their feeding behaviour due to these tours.
Albatross Encounter Kaikoura responds:
Many thanks for your review! It’s great to hear you had a wonderful time and recommend the tour. I am sorry to hear your tour lasted only 2 hours as that is rather unusual. The tour should be 2.5 hours in duration. Can I please ask, where did you see the tour advertised as 3 hours?
There is certainly no evidence to support the belief that providing chum for the birds influences their behavior. The pelagic birds are consistently feeding around and following the fishing boats in search of food. Pelagic birds are typically a scavenger type of bird which is demonstrated by their behavior when near to fishing boats. We encounter a variety of species and varying numbers of albatross, some of which are identifiable by bands on their legs. If our tours had such an influence on their habits then I am positive we would be seeing the same birds day after day, which is certainly not the case.
If you would like to discuss this matter further, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Many thanks.
Cheryl & Ged Knight
Expensive but worthwhile if you want to see seabirds. Small boat and small group - so very good. Guide very knowledgable, enthusiastic. Saw all the birds we hoped to see.
This pelagic birding trip surpassed all expectations with really great views of so many species of albatross and mollymawks, petrels, shearwaters, etc. The memories of all those sightings will remain with me for a long time and the opportunities for photography were extraordinary. Many thanks for such a wonderful experience. Wendy, USA
This was an experience I was really looking forward to and one I wasn't disappointed with. Everything clicked into place - good weather, a flat calm sea, only three people on the boat and loads of birds. We saw seven species of albatross and had quite exceptional views of all of them. I've been on pelagics in Australia, South Africa and Peru but this was the best yet. I could have stayed out there all day!
Superb 6am dawn + 5 different types of albatross. We were the only 2 on boat (but the maximum would have been 10).
Went on the albatross encounter and, as promised, saw several species of albatross. Birds were lured right to back of boat with bait. Boat was a little small which made viewing difficult & there were no bathrooms.