Our small staff of boat crew, shuttle drivers and office personnel are extremely passionate about the local area and it's unique wildlife. Our guides have been fortunate enough to have been guiding and interacting with the local wildlife for many years. They have decades of experience between them. It is their pleasure to showcase the area they love, to visitors. They know the best places to view wildlife . You can't beat local knowledge.
We offer cruises and tours around Taiaroa Head nature reserve to show visitors and locals the animals who inhabit this area. Namely the Northern Royal Albatross, but many more unique and interesting animals.
We also provide a scenic ferry crossing on the Otago Harbour, from Port to Port.
The boat, MV Sootychaser is a brand new (2018) custom build. With passenger comfort in mind, it has been specially designed to be able get up as close and personal with oceanic wildlife as is possible. It is the first boat of its kind to offer passenger services on Otago Harbour.
We look forward to welcoming visitors on board MV Sootychaser to show you the best of what Dunedin has to offer.
Owner/Skipper, Rachel McGregor
Having been given a bird book by my grandfather at age 9, I could not have thought of a more boring present, at the time!
At 23 years of age and after having been offered a full time job as a wildlife guide at Taiaroa Head, I found myself now working with one of the largest sea birds in the world. How my views on birds swiftly changed! I was observing these graceful giants daily and learning how interesting these long lived and hugely oversized sea birds really were. I found myself hunting around in storage, trying to find that old bird book, from my grandfather!
Despite my initial lack of enthusiasm for birds, my passion for other wildlife came early on.
As a child growing up in British Columbia, Canada, I had many opportunities to see animals in the wild. It was also then that I was introduced to my first experiences on boats.
Later, moving to Dunedin, New Zealand with my family, my interests for wildlife and boats came together. First, as a wildlife Guide at Taiaroa Head and around the Otago Peninsula, then later working as a deckhand and a skipper for tourist wildlife cruises, for 9 years.
Since 2006 I’ve been skippering and working on a variety of commercial boats. They include passenger, research, oil spill recovery, search and rescue, dredger and work boats.
Throughout my various roles on the Otago Harbour, I have always been fascinated by the wildlife that surrounds me, and excited by seeing all the other commercial vessels going about their daily business.
It is a pleasure to entertain visitors with the area’s unique wildlife and to share my knowledge of the maritime industry and the local area.
To do this from the deck of my custom built boat M.V. Sootychaser in the ‘Wildlife Capital of The World’ is a dream complete.
I look forward to inviting you onboard MV Sootychaser and to share with you this wonderful area and its unique wildlife.