"Absolutely Fabulous Wildlife Tour"
"This was a truly fabulous, exciting and very instructive trip. I had been a bit hesitant as I am prone to travel sickness even in a car or bus but although I'd come armed with ginger beer I need not have worried. It was an incredibly stable and smooth trip even when we ventured right out into the Pacific Ocean following albatross and other wildlife - I didn't get even a hint of seasickness.
Rachel was an incredible skipper taking us in really close to see fur seals, shags and albatross to name just a few and was able to keep the boat steady while we looked through the binoculars provided as part of the trip. She knew exactly where to take us and was absolutely awesome at spotting the different birds and then zero-ing in on them so quickly - it seemed to me that her boat the "Sootychaser" is incredibly manoeuvrable which added to the excitement as we were able to follow some of the albatross as they skimmed the waves looking for the thermal to lift them up to the top of headland.
Rachel's commentary was wonderfully informative - she knew exactly which flight paths the albatross would take based on the wind direction and was able to point out one less experienced albatross who was finding it difficult to get the lift to enable it to make it to the top of the cliff - honestly it was amazing and I breathed a big sigh of relief when she was able to confirm that it had made it to the top.
There were a good number flying around and she pointed out the different activities of some of the ones we could see - some that appeared to be pairs, others sky calling and others maybe still looking for their mate and others returning for the first time since they'd fledged from there years before. It was so good to have the commentary on the wildlife but also the scenery we were passing and some of the early history of the harbour - Quarantine Island and shipwrecks; on our cruise we were lucky enough to call in to pick up some passengers from Quarantine Island and taxi them to Back Beach which meant we got to get up close to the port and the big ships.
We had an amazing encounter with a huge sea lion too which Rachel had expertly spotted feasting on a skate and when she slowed the boat for us to watch it more closely it came right up to the side of the boat almost eyeballing us!
It really was a thrilling trip. Rachel's enthusiasm was contagious and I felt that she was enjoying the trip every bit as much as we were and whenever we got the chance to see something close she was in no hurry to race us on to the next spectacular sight - it was personal and deeply rewarding.
The fact that the cruise starts from Portobello too is an added attraction as it's only a 20 minute drive from the city and then you're straight out onto the harbour and into the cruise thus avoiding another 20 minutes of windy road before getting out onto the water. And for visitors to Dunedin that still leaves plenty of time to do other things.
It was a memorable experience. The "Sootychaser" is a really comfortable and incredibly stable boat. As someone who lives locally this cruise is now my Number One recommendation to friends and family who ask for advice on what to do when they visit Dunedin. I can't wait for my next trip!"
"Perfect Wildlife Tour"
"Excellent and very chill way to explore wildlife in Dunedin Harbour. We saw loads of albatrosses and other sea birds as well as quite a few seals. Nice explanation around it all. This was well worth the money. For what it offers it is not expensive!"
"We went on the 2 hour cruise on a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon. Lovely having a small group as we had plenty of space. We had plenty of wildlife pointed out to us by the skipper, including albatross, shags, fur seals and penguins. There was even time to have another run past the seals on the rocks. The on board binoculars are a fabulous idea, especially to get a closer look at the nesting albatross, particularly the parent feeding the baby. A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon spent on the harbour."
"Great wildlife and scenic tour!"
"We loved this small boat tour with our knowledgeable captain, Richard. We saw New Zealand fur seals, albatross, little blue penguins, and much more. We learned a lot about all the wildlife from Richard. He went out of his way to find interesting sights for us. The highlight was a fur seal capturing a large octopus by flinging it around! Wow! Lots of beautiful views and a nice size smaller boat. No crowds!"
"First class experience"
"We booked Port to Port in Dunedin on the internet, we were there for the day with the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice on 19/12. We were picked up and taken to the boat and greeted by Rachel who I believe owns the business she was truly a great and knowledgeable guide and showed us all she could in the 2 hours we were with her, she was fun and cheerful and even at the end when she had us picked by her assistant Fritz with coffee in hand he then showed us a few of the sights before returning us to the ship. Highly recommended"
"Explore the wild in comfort"
"The Sootychaser is a beautifully designed boat which makes heading out on the harbour comfortable in any conditions. My son and I took the Halloween trip on a blustery rainy evening and had a wonderful time. The cabin is warm and cosy, so we were able to enjoy the thrill of the wild weather outside then head. inside to get warmed up again in moments. The cabin is also quiet so it is easy to hear Rachel's very knowledgeable commentary about the harbour. I doubt there's anything she doesn't know about the animals or human inhabitants. She was very generous with her time and happy to answer all questions other passengers asked. I would recommend Port to Port Wildlife Tours to anybody and everybody."
"Wildlife tour - 2 hours"
"WOW! As a local I am in awe of what we say today! We had the most amazing experience aboard Port to Port Cruises with the lovely and very knowledgable Rachel at the helm!
On the tour we were lucky enough to see two Hectors Dolphins, swimming alongside the boat, albatrosses in full flight, so close as they skimmed the water with their huge wing spans. We saw seals and countless birds all of which Rachel knew and gave us so many facts and information about the wildlife and our surroundings.
We were in a group with children ranging from 2-13 and there was something amazing to see for everyone. The toddler was entertained for two hours inside and outside of the cabin, bird spotting and the most prized part of the day seeing those hectors dolphins! The cabin was toasty and warm when we needed to get warm but outside we were still sheltered and it was just as comfortable.
Rachel, what an incredible experience, thank you so much for our tour today, you were the heart and soul of the trip and I could see how knowledgable and passionate you are in your field. Highly recommend this to locals and of course visitors to Dunedin you will not be disappointed! and I must add VERY child friendly!"
"Harbour Ferry Service with bike!"
"I grabbed the ferry from a great ride out to Portobello across to Back Beach. It was easy to load my bike onto the bike rack and a unique way to complete a Sunday ride. Rachel was very friendly and welcoming - the ferry crossing this time had quite a few kids on it and she grabbed their attention before we had even left the wharf talking about the ship wrecks!
Within the 10 minute crossing she used an excellent PA system to talk about some of the local history and sites that we went past. At Back Beach, she took the time to make sure that everyone knew how to follow the brief walk to town and what time to be back.
If you are wanting to take a bike then I suggest booking in advance, actually considering how popular it was it would be best to book in advance with or without a bike :)"
"Fantastic experience with bonus sea lion encounter"
"We took a boat cruise across the harbour and back and can't recommend it highly enough. The boat was exceptionally clean and comfortable, the crew were friendly, and the trip itself was remarkably smooth. Port Chalmers and Portobello are both beautiful places to visit each with a unique atmosphere and this is a great way to experience both in one day without having to take a long drive. Even though we didn't take the wildlife tour, on the way back we got to see a large sea lion swimming alongside the boat which was a great way to end a lovely day."