At Level 2 of COVID-19 our Safety Plan includes – contact tracing; regularly sanitising door handles, seat belts, and other touch points; maintaining physical distancing whenever possible; increasing fresh-air flow in the vehicle; and having gloves and masks available. Our booking system allows only one ‘bubble’ group per tour. Note that we use a small vehicle, and when travelling to & from Orokonui you will be less than 2m from your driver/guide. You must not come on this tour if you are unwell – postponement available.

Whisper to the Birds – Orokonui Ecosanctuary Shuttle & Tour

Experience the best of New Zealand’s rare birdlife in a carbon-zero electric vehicle powered by renewable energy. Join a Whisper to the Birds small group tour of the award-winning Orokonui Ecosanctuary and Visitor Centre above Blueskin Bay, near Dunedin.

Glimpse rare New Zealand birdlife close-up in its natural setting in the 300-hectare self-sustaining Orokonui ecosystem that is an internationally recognised conservation project aimed at protecting our native wildlife.

The route to and from Dunedin takes you via the Otago Harbour bays to historic Port Chalmers, and then up over back roads among the volcanic peaks, with stunning panoramic views of Otago Peninsula and Dunedin along the way.

En route your driver will provide a customised, informal commentary about New Zealand's tectonic journey, recent human arrival, unique flora and fauna, and our innovative ways of living in and managing this corner of the planet.

We are passionate about protecting Otago’s natural heritage for generations to come so we use a small, quiet mini-van powered completely by electricity from hydro, wind, and geothermal energy.

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What does the tour include?
  • Pick-up and drop-off at your Dunedin city address or Octagon i-site in a five-seater electric vehicle powered by renewable energy.
  • A tour of the Otago Harbour bays to historic Port Chalmers, driving up over back roads to the volcanic peaks of Mihiwaka and Mopanui with panoramic views of Otago Peninsula and Dunedin.
  • Entry to Orokonui Ecosanctuary and the award-winning Visitor Centre.
  • A 1-hour plus guided tour of the bird sanctuary and forest.
What will we see at Orokonui Ecosanctuary?

Your experienced and passionate Orokonui guide will ensure the best bird-watching opportunities with likely species including takahe, kakariki, tui, bellbird, kaka. Other features of this eco-system include the conifer/broadleaf forest, skinks, eels, fungi, lichen, butterflies and moths. You will also learn how the conservation project is helping to re-establish rare native species that have long been in decline.

How long is a Whisper to the Birds tour?

3½ hours – from Dunedin to Orokonui and return via interesting roads providing stunning views of the city and the Otago Peninsula and harbour.

What do I need to take?

Your camera is a must. There’ll be lots to photograph. Also, you should wear comfortable walking shoes, warm clothes that can be taken off if it gets hot, and a jacket you can put on if it gets cold.

How often do tours run?

A tour leaves Dunedin at 10am on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, returning around 1.00pm, giving you time to enjoy more of Dunedin’s wonderful sights and tours the same day.

Do I need to book?

Yes, by the day before your tour. You can book through the Dunedin i-site or the BOOK NOW link.

What does it cost?

Adults $99
Seniors and students $80
Children (5 – 16) $70
Pre-school children $20

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Join us on a Whisper to the Birds – Coast to Cloud Orokonui Ecosanctuary Shuttle & Tour and experience the Kiwi difference!