Two of the Northern Royal albatross chicks that were born on the Taiaroa Head colony last spring (when I was there as a guide) have died. The reports are here and here. The chicks that were hatched when I was there, are by now very large balls of fluff, probably weighing something between 4 - 8 kilos. They sit on their nests waiting for mum or dad albatross to fetch them back (every three or four days) some food - bits of squid and octopus - from the feeding grounds out at sea. They are big enough now to wander about a little and will be getting ready to stretch their wings for their inaugural flight from home next month sometime.
I see now that customers who are disappointed, are getting a free ticket for a return visit. However, for a tourist heading away, this is of no use whatsoever. Personally (and I can say this now because I no longer work there) I think they should give any unhappy punters their money back. But then, I'm what is known as soft. Or Scottish. Or both.
My advice: if you are thinking of visiting the colony - go about five o'clock at night, and in summer when there is guaranteed flying. You may not even need to pay. For the price of a coffee, you may be content to see them circle the headland from the comfort of a seat in the cafe. But if you do pay for a tour, the experience of close views of these magnificent seabirds flying, are unbeatable. The sight of an albatross in flight at close quarters, is a stunning, memorable sight. I believe some writer said that those who have seen such a sight are instantly promoted to a higher order of being. (I cannot locate the quote, but if anyone else can, I will send them a Crunchie bar.)