Pohatu is the largest Australasian Little Penguin colony on mainland New Zealand. Francis and Shireen Helps have worked over the last three decades protecting White-flippered Penguins (Eudyptula minor albosignata), Canterbury's own variant of Australasian Little Penguin, from introduced predators. Because of the sensitive wildlife habitat only guided groups are taken into the breeding colony to view the White-flippered Penguins.
The best time for penguin viewing is the breeding season between end of August to the end of January. Penguins moult through to mid February. There are also small windows of excellent viewing opportunities from early April to September when the birds return periodically from sea.
By spending time with us you are helping the preservation of these beautiful birds for future generations.
Option one: Scenic 4WD to PohatuThis is a wonderful option for people who wish to view our penguins returning to the bay to see them in the wild, viewing them naturally and undisturbed. Camouflage gear and binoculars are provided.
Take part in our monitoring program of nesting boxes during the tour as part of our conservation work. This gives you great insight into the life of a penguin and an opportunity to see the birds up-close.
This option includes pick-up at Akaroa with spectacular Scenic 4WD van ride to Pohatu with photo stop opportunities. Pet sheep will come running for treats.
This tour concentrates mostly on the Little penguin but other native and endemic birds may also be seen. e.g the Yellow Eyed Penguins who breed at the bay.
Tour length is approximately two and a half to three hours. Returns after dark.
$75 per person
$55 child under 15 years
Note: The Evening penguin tour departure changes due to lengthening or shortening days so please check on the day our current departure time. Join the tour at the bay.
The road to Pohatu is a steep and narrow shingle road and recommended for 4WD vehicles only.
If you have a suitable vehicle you may join the tour at Pohatu. Pre-booking is essential.
$25 per person
$12 per child under 15 years
This is a great tour for anyone wanting a shorter option to explore the area.
With a 4 wheel drive 9 seater van ride and photo-stops en route you will view Akaroa harbour in its entirety, standing on crater rim at our 700 metre view point, hearing about the history of this beautiful landscape by local guides who have lived here for up to five generations.
Visit Pohatu Bay on the outer coast, panoramic views all the way down, working sheep farm and penguin colony.
This is a chance to get great photos of our friendly pet sheep which you can feed from hand for a real kiwi experience.
Then come with us as we monitor penguin nesting boxes and learn of the conservation work we do in the largest colony of little penguins on mainland New Zealand.
Great opportunity to see penguins and their chicks up close on their nests (Note, penguins are only seen in season).
Guides often point out other native birds and wildlife as we go.
Ideal for people on a day trip in Akaroa, giving you the time to also explore our historic town.
Tour length is two hours departing at 11.00am (only available on cruise ship day) and 1.30pm (available everyday).
$65 per person
$35 child under 15 years
Please note that this 2 hour tour will only be available on request for the winter months (May to August) and those depending on the penguins presence.