Visitors to Wellington may come across this attraction advertised in Air New Zealand’s in-flight magazine, but be assured, the Seal Coast Safari more than lives up the ‘hype’! Departing from the Wellington Visitor Information Centre, corner of Victoria and Wakefield Streets, 10am and 1.30pm daily, this half-day safari offers a unique view of the rugged beauty of Seal Coast and its unique animal inhabitants, situated on Wellington’s South Coast.
Visitors on this safari will gain privileged access to and traverse restricted and unmarked private roads or tracks. Riding in adventure-ready four-wheel drives (manageable numbers on the tour of maximum nine per vehicle ensure a more intimate and personable experience), the tour firstly takes in a coastal ranch, where native wild goats, ostriches, and wild horses can often be observed roaming freely.
This is followed by 20 rugged kilometres along the beach to Tongue Point, home to the sensational New Zealand Fur Seal. These creatures are ‘eared seals’, possessing tiny ear flaps (unlike so-called ‘true seals‘ such as the Gray Seal and Leopard Seal); males (bulls) can reach up to 2.5 metres in length and 120-180 kilograms, compared to females (cows) which are much smaller at 1.5 metres and 35 to 50 kilograms. The Fur Seal’s diet consists of squid, octopus, fish, and even some seabirds.
Enjoy tea, coffee and light snacks with your group in the midst of the seals’ awe-inspiring company. The Department of Conservation approved professional guide will educate the party on the various aspects of seal life cycle * including their startling sex life. Follow up this face to face encounter with a stopover visit to the famous Leaning Lighthouse nearby.
Along the three hour tour you can also expect to glimpse Wellington’s fault-line, and a visit to the Brooklyn Wind Turbine. Enjoy panoramic views of the city spread out 400 metres below and distant snow-capped mountain ranges. Peer out across crashing waves of the Pacific and Tasman Oceans and, inspiringly, the rocky terrain of South Island, 50-100km away. Following these breathtaking views, the four-wheel drives will navigate rocky bays and black-coloured beaches on your way back to Wellington city.
On this unique wildlife tour, it only takes 15 minutes from downtown Wellington to transport you to another more idyllic world in which nature takes force * an experience that will stay with you well beyond the half day trip! Seal Coast Safari is the perfect outing for those wanting to sample something distinctly New Zealand; and for lovers of the outdoors and magnificent creatures, it is one sight not to be missed.