Pohatu is the largest Australasian Little Penguin colony on mainland New Zealand. Francis and Shireen Helps have worked over the last two 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.
On these tours you may also see one of the Yellow Eyed Penguins who frequent the bay.
The best time for penguin viewing is the breeding season between end of August and January. Penguins moult through to mid February. There are also small windows of excellent viewing opprtunities 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.
Penguin evening tour
There are two evening tour options
Option one: Scenic 4WD to Pohatu
Option one includes pick-up at Akaroa, spectacular Scenic 4 WD to Pohatu with photo stop opportunities, penguin viewing and guided walks through the penguin colony.
Tour length is approximately two and a half to three hours.
$75 per person
$55 child under 15 years
Option two: Self Drive Tour
The road to Pohatu is a steep and narrow shingle road and recommended for 4 WD vehicles only.
If you have a suitable vehicle you may join the tour at Pohatu. Prebooking is essential.
$25 per person
$12 per child under 15 years
Special daytime trip for cruise ship passengers
Option includes a pick-up from the Akaroa warf at 11.00am and 1.30pm. The tour will take you on a spectacular Scenic drive to the penguin colony at Pohatu with photo stops en route, penguin nest box monitoring gives close photography opportunities.
Tour length is two hours.
$65 per person
$30 child under 15 years
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Things to bring;
Good walking shoes or boots with good grip soles that can cope with a bit of mud in wet conditions. Please note the track can be demanding for some and can be slippery in wet conditions in the heavy penguin traffic areas we visit. We do our best to have a well formed track in good condition as far as the viewing hides that most people can cope with and some footwear can be provided for those who have inadequate footwear.
Bring warm clothing (some additional camouflage clothing will be provided).
In summer it is advisable to either eat before you come on an evening tour or bring some food with you as often restaurants will be closed on our return to Akaroa.
Photography welcomed but strictly no use of flash. All flashes will be taped.