There's a rich variety of wildlife in and around Loch Fleet and the Moray Firth, from otters to the occasional dolphin, and even whales at certain times of the year. There are many ducks and waders to be seen, and the ospreys are here in the summer months. The hills and woods provide good birdwatching, especially in the spring and summer months, with divers nesting on the local lochs. Many private gardens are open once or more annually; the details are available in the ‘Yellow Book’ – "Scottish Gardens open to the Public", which is available from most good bookshops early in the spring. To the south are, Cromarty, Portmahomack and the Pictish centre at the Tarbet Discovery Centre, Tain and its pottery, and many woodland and forest walks.
Within easy reach
The west coast, Lochinver, Ullapool, and the Poolewe Gardens. To the north, Orkney is easily accessible, with the passenger ferry from John O’Groats, saving the cost of a car, which you then hire in Kirkwall (there is a bus from the ferry to Kirkwall), or the ferry from either Gills Bay (Pentland Ferries) or from Scrabster. A trip to Dunnet Head, near the Castle of Mey on the north coast, will almost certainly give sight of puffins and fulmars, and the Castle of Mey is approximately two hours away. Also worth a visit are Dingwall and Strathpeffer, a Victorian Spa town with many original buildings.