Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony
Oamaru, North Otago
Blue Penguin Viewing & Walks
Our Blue Penguins nest close to town under the cliffs along the Historic Harbour foreshore. The Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony is just beyond the Victorian Heritage Precinct and you are within walking distance of the town centre, close to shops, restaurants and accommodation.
During the day penguins are not walking around on land, they are either out at sea fishing or hiding away in their nesting burrows. Our day tours take you behind the scenes into the penguins breeding area where you may see the penguins up close in their burrows. Our daytime viewing facility the 'blue wing' makes this eaiser as you look down into the top of 10 nesting boxes through viewing tunnels. Our penguin numbers vary from day to day so just ask one of our friendly staff how many they can guarantee you will see.
Evening viewing is when you will get to see the penguins arrive home from their days fishing, walk up the stony ramp in front of you and cross into the breeding colony.
We have tours running from 10am to late so stop by and visit Oamaru's most unique residents.
During the evening you have two tour options to choose from:
You are seated in an outdoor viewing grandstand where you listen to a commentary about our blue penguins. The birds return home from their days fishing, make their way onto the beach, up a stony ramp, and cross into the Colony. You are seated in a grandstand that seats 350 people, bookings are advised in the summer months.
In our Premium Evening Viewing stand you are a lot closer to the penguins sitting only 2-3 metres from where they arrive and cross into the colony. You have individual seating which makes the experience more comfortable. You will also get to listen to an informative commentary that is given by one of our staff members. When you make your way out to the grandstand you will enter into the breeding colony on a boardwalk and walk amongst their nesting burrows. Premium viewing is restricted to only 60 seats so bookings are advised.
During the summer months Evening Viewing is as late as 9:00 pm while during the winter our birds are arriving home as early as 5:30 pm. Arrival numbers vary from up over 200 in Summer down to under 30 in Winter.
Running time : 1-2 hours
Day Tours - Guided or Self-Guided
During the day visitors have the opportunity to enter the breeding colony. Take a casual stroll around part of the colony, seeing the natural habitat of the penguins. Information boards are placed around giving an insight into the life cycle of the penguins and the monitoring programs we have here.
If there are penguins resident in our daytime viewing facility, the 'Blue Wing', visitors will see penguins in their nest boxes. However penguins come and go naturally so we cannot guarantee birds will be seen during the day.
Our Penguin Walks are self-guided, however we do have a guide on hand to answer your questions. Day Tours run throughout the day starting at 10am, ending approximately 60 minutes before dusk.
Running Time: 10-20 Minutes
Price: $10 to $40
General Entry & Guided Tours
Only 5 Minutes from the information centre located on Itchen Street. Turn right onto Tyne street and take your 3rd left onto Waterfront Road. We are located at the very end of Waterfront Road.
Oamaru is a gorgeous harbour town centrally located on the South Island’s east coast 3 hours south of Christchurch or 90 minutes north of Dunedin. Visitors can explore museums, shops and galleries within some of New Zealand’s best 19th century architecture. With one of the country’s oldest public gardens, two penguin colonies, four golf courses and many walking and cycling trails there are plenty of opportunities to experience nature at its best. Oamaru has a very proud heritage which is told through the Victorian Precinct and tours at a variety of locations in town.