Penguin Tours

2016-04-06
2016-04-06 (1)

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 December. You can see moulting penguins in January and February, but starting the end of February through early April we do NOT have penguins. There are also some windows of excellent viewing opportunities from mid April to September when the birds return periodically from sea.

The best time to view penguins is in the evening on our Evening Penguin Tour; as the sun sets the Little Penguins return to shore after a day of hunting to meet their partner and or chicks.

This is a wonderful option for people who wish to take part in our monitoring program and learn more, in depth, about our conservation efforts. This gives you great insight into the life of a penguin and an opportunity to see the birds up-close.

First, you will set off with a walk around the colony to monitor nesting sites and make sure that our Little Penguins are doing well. Then, you will have the opportunity to spot the penguins undisturbed, socializing on the water and with darkness falling a very high likelihood of some returning to shore.

Binoculars and camouflage gear is provided to maximize viewing abilities.

Time of the year Probability of seeing penguins What you may see
September - December Guaranteed Adults, chicks eggs
January - mid February Guaranteed Adults molting (loosing their feathers)
Mid February - mid April None Maybe late moutlers early returners
Mid April - end of June High Returning adults
June - August 50/50 (although it is rare not to have single penguin in the bay, winter is very sporadic, call ahead to check if there are penguins) Returning adults
 
$75 adult
$55 child (under 15 years)
$30 infant (3 to 5 years old)
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In addition, tours booked late November to February may have the opportunity to see up-close rehabilitation efforts such as feedings and swim therapy. (Call ahead to see if we have penguins in rehab.)


*Self-drive option is available. Please note that you must have a 4WD vehicle and are comfortable driving on narrow, steep, windy gravel roads in the dark. Self-drives may either meet us in the bay or follow one of our vans. Please indicate on our booking where you will meet us when driving yourself.
 

Please note: 

  • The Evening penguin tour departure changes due to lengthening or shortening days so please check on the day our current departure time.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.
  • Over the winter months, booking available on enquiry only. This is because the penguins are not always there.
  • Photography welcomed but strictly no use of flash.

Things to bring:
  • Good walking shoes or boots with good grip soles that can cope with a bit of mud in wet conditions.
    The track can be demanding for some and can be slippery in wet conditions. 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.
  • Bring warm clothing (some additional camouflage clothing will be provided).

 

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Only in Akaroa for the day?

If you do not have the time to stay late or overnight in Akaroa, consider our Scenic Nature tours that would allow you to see penguins up close in nesting sites.


Check out also our 24 hour Pohatu package 

Experience a night right in the middle of the largest Australasian Little Penguin colony on mainland New Zealand! Our cosy units are available to enable you to spend more time at Pohatu Bay and free time to relax and explore Pohatu´s many secret places. The accommodation is located within easy walking distance of our beautiful safe sandy beach.
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Services

  • Pohatu Package
  • Penguin Tours
  • Sea Kayaking Tours
  • Scenic Nature Tours
 

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Contact Us 

 
icon location Wildside Booking Office,
8/2 Rue Balguerie, Akaroa
7520
New Zealand
icon phone 03 304 8542
icon mobile 021 246 9556
icon mail tours@pohatu.co.nz