Albatross Encounter Kaikoura



17 Rankers Reviews

7 Face-to-Face

41 Bird Watching

36 Kaikoura



Good shot!
Just another day at work
Good shot!
Feeding frenzy


Get up close and personal to the largest wingspan in the world!

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!

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Feature Value Info


South IslandKaikoura RegionKaikoura


  • Bird Watching


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Showing 13 reviews of 17.

batzi's avatar


Ranking: 7/10

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.
Sebastian, Germany

Reviewed over 8 years ago and experienced in February 2012

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pepette31's avatar



Ranking: 8/10

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.

Reviewed about 9 years ago

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 Many thanks.

Cheryl & Ged  Knight's avatar

Cheryl & Ged Knight

United States

Ranking: 9/10

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.

Reviewed over 9 years ago

Albatross Encounter Kaikoura is open for business… Visit Website …now's your chance to take a closer look.

Wendy's avatar


United States

Ranking: 10/10

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

Reviewed almost 10 years ago

PaulJames's avatar


United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

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!

Reviewed about 10 years ago

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Tim Smith's avatar

Tim Smith

United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

Superb 6am dawn + 5 different types of albatross. We were the only 2 on boat (but the maximum would have been 10).

Reviewed over 10 years ago

Peter Brown's avatar

Peter Brown

United States

Ranking: 8/10

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.

Reviewed over 10 years ago

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Chris Lloyd's avatar

Chris Lloyd


Ranking: 9/10

I am involved in pelagic bird trips outside of NZ so these expeditions can be a bit of 'buspersons holiday'. Gary Melville's knowledge and unobtrusive style ensures its not - enjoyed both trips.

Reviewed over 10 years ago

Jim Scarff's avatar

Jim Scarff

United States

Ranking: 10/10

I did two trips with Albatross Encounter. They were fabulous. We had 6 species of albatross next to the boat, lots of shearwaters, both species of Giant Petrels, Westland and White-chinned Petrels, and even a Fairy Prion (They have records of their sightings by species on their informative website.

Gary was our guide and his knowledge and enthusiasm were terrific. All the others on my two cruises also had a terrific times. It was far more fun and interesting than the whale-watch boat trips (which I also did) and yields vastly better views of birds.

Photos from my trips at

Reviewed over 10 years ago and experienced in January 2010

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Wim Put's avatar

Wim Put


Ranking: 9/10

Many birds (albatrosses etc), also a whale and seals and dolphins.

Reviewed over 10 years ago and experienced in November 2009

AndyL's avatar


United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

Before I arrived in Kaikoura I planned to watch whales and swim with dolphins, but hadn't considered the Albatross Encounter. As the Whale watching was cancelled I decided to give it a go and didn't regret it. The experience of seeing such large seabirds close up was amazing as was the variety of birds that you get to see. On our trip we saw 23 different types of birds. This was one of the highlights of the holiday and I would definitely recommend it.

Reviewed almost 11 years ago

Albatross Encounter Kaikoura is open for business… Visit Website …now's your chance to take a closer look.

TonyS's avatar


United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

Excellent. Stunning views of albatross and petrels very close to the boat, giving great photo opportunities. The guides would help to ID the many birds. We were so pleased that we returned for a second trip 2 weeks later.

Reviewed almost 11 years ago and experienced in November 2009

Pedro Menendez's avatar

Pedro Menendez


Ranking: 10/10

A must to everyone to visit Kaikoura and like seabirds. Very professional with a lot of birds in a close range. A GREAT EXPERIENCE!!

Reviewed almost 11 years ago