Blue Penguin Colony

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Monday10:00 am – 9:30 pm.

Tuesday10:00 am – 9:30 pm.

Wednesday10:00 am – 9:30 pm.

Thursday10:00 am – 9:30 pm.

Friday10:00 am – 9:30 pm.

Saturday10:00 am – 9:30 pm.

Sunday10:00 am – 9:30 pm.

17 Waterfront Road, South Hill, Oamaru

03 433 1195

Ōamaru is home to one of the most up close and personal wildlife encounters we’ve found here in Aotearoa. Plan to visit the Ōamaru Blue Penguin Colony one evening during your stay, and you’ll soon see what we mean.

Weighing only about a kilogram, little blue penguins are a lot heartier than you might’ve guessed. They leave their nests each morning to fish on the open ocean, sometimes swimming 75 kilometres and diving 1500 times in a day. These critters can live up to 25 years and are most easily identified by their satin white tummies and indigo blue backs. 170 breeding pairs call the Ōamaru Blue Penguin Colony home.

When you arrive at the colony, meander through the museum, where you’ll learn all about the penguins, their habitats, and what’s being done to ensure they’re here to stay. After that, head outside to the viewing stands, pick a seat and wait patiently for the penguins themselves to arrive home.

As you anticipate the ‘rafts’ landing on the beach, your guide will share even more about these fascinating creatures and point out other wildlife, like New Zealand fur seals who often make an appearance, too. As the penguins return, you’ll get an up-close look as they make their way up the rocky beach and back to their cosy nesting boxes.

If you simply can’t get enough of these marine birds, plan a trip out to Bushy Beach Scenic Reserve. Located just outside of town, Hoiho yellow-eyed penguins hang out here - keep your eyes peeled.

Words by Olivia Sisson & Photography by Nancy Zhou

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17 Waterfront Road, South Hill, Oamaru

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