This half-day safari offers a unique view of the rugged beauty of the South Coast where the seal colony is situated. Travel is by 4x4 vehicle, with much of the driving over unpaved roads and along the beach. In addition, you’ll traverse a large coastal ranch or station, where wild goats and horses may be seen, as well as deer, ostriches and beef cattle, and where you’ll hear tales of the early farmers’ exploits. You will also explore Wellington’s seismic fault line en route to the coast, and take in spectacular views of the city and, weather permitting, the South Island, some 30 miles away. But the impressive coastline and the seals are, of course, the main attraction on this safari. Tongue Point is home to the New Zealand fur seal and the famous Leaning Lighthouse. Here, you will have the opportunity to get close to the seals as they bask on the rocks and go for frequent swims in the sea in search of food. Tea or coffee is served as you commune with the seals, before you journey around the rocky bays and black-sand beaches back to Wellington.
Average Customer Rating:
(5 Reviews) 5
Rating Snapshot(5 reviews)
5 out of 5(100%)reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for Seal Coast Safari
Review 1 for Seal Coast Safari
Lots of fun - taken in January 2014
Date:February 4, 2014
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:January
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
This excursion proved to be a lot of fun. At first, the owner/guide started out by giving us a tour of Wellington and I was thinking, oh boy did I pick the wrong excursion or what. We are just not into long tours of city streets. But this turned out to be just a way to get to the top of the mountains surrounding Wellington, where we stopped for photos, and then going over to the beach side. We loved the ride along the beach in the black sand. We saw lots of seals (not the small ones, but big ones). We had a stop at the seal area for snacks and then drove back along the entire beach. It was one of those blue sky, cloudless days and it was quite a trip. Very enjoyable. At the end, the driver dropped some of the other passengers in downtown Wellington for additional site seeing. (The description of this excursion is very accurate.)
It is a long, beautiful ride from the ship. There are two types of vehicles, modified SUV and a larger vehicle. If you are short or have problems climbing into high steps you request in advance that you be in the SUV. We didn't do this and I was afraid that my father and I wouldn't be able to go because there was no way we would be able to climb into the larger vehicle but, luckily, we were able to get one of the SUVs. Guide was great. Drive is amazing. Once you get to the beach & go off road the ride is very, very rough and a little scary. There weren't many seals but it was neat to see the few we did and to see the South Island peaks in the distance. Don't go on this tour if you want to see Wellington. We barely made it back to the ship in time.
This trip is kind of hit and miss as to how many seals you willl see (I think we saw about 10 or 12), but the scenery getting there and the drive along the coast track (you can hardly call it a road) were enough to make trip worhwhile. The drivers/guides are excellent but the roads were so rough that there were a few times I wished for guardrails. That excitement plus the beautiful scenery almost made me forget about the seals.
This safari is definitely worth doing if you like wildlife. We saw so many seals! The safari started off by driving through the city of Wellington and the driver of the 4x4 was also our guide. He told us about Wellington itself and answered our questions because there were 8 passengers total in our vehicle. He took us up into the hills where there are windmills and we had clear views of the harbor and the city. The wind is really strong up here but all of the other 4x4s all came together for a photo stop. We were able to see an ostrich in the farmland that we were passing through. Then we headed down the coastline and learned about the faults that run to Wellington. You drive on the beach so be prepared for rough road, but it is all worth it when you see the seals. Don't get too close and you will be rewarded with fabulous pictures.
We loved the 4x4 ride over and through the mountains. It was thrilling, with one beautiful vista after another, on some amazing roads. I would do it again just for the ride. We were told upon arrival that we were not going to see many seals, as it was near the end of the season for this particular gathering. We did see some, and it was entertaining. However, I would not be certain of seeing these fun animals much for a little while. That should be verified before signing up for the trip, as it is quite expensive if that is your main motivator.