Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony
Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony
4
5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Monday
5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Tuesday
5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Wednesday
5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Thursday
5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Friday
5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Saturday
5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Sunday
5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
About
The Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony provides visitors with an opportunity to see little penguins in their natural environment. In the evening, visitors are captivated by watching the nightly arrival of penguins from their days fishing at sea. The Colony is a tourism operation with a strong research and conservation focus. At the core of the operation is a long-term conservation programme that ensures the penguins are protected and that the population achieves long-term stability. An important and unique part of that conservation programme is the Colony's Research Scientist who is now one of New Zealand’s leading little penguin experts. PLEASE NOTE: We have a strict arrangement for bookings. To ensure we can manage the viewing safely, if you wish to come to the colony you must pre-book at least 24 hours in advance. As we do not know the potential number of visitors per night in the coming months, we will not open if we do not have customers, so you must pre-book. Thank you.
Oamaru, New Zealand
Features animals

Awards
Travellers' Choice
2023

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(136 reviews)
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.0
980 reviews
Excellent
506
Very good
274
Average
94
Poor
54
Terrible
52

marisa13
San Diego, CA143 contributions
Apr 2023
One of our favorite experiences in our month in New Zealand. Great setup, with a series of informative displays regarding the penguins in the welcome center. Then, when the doors open for the viewing, guests walk to either the premium bleachers, or the regular admission stands. It was definitely worth getting the premium seats, with great views of all 130+ penguins as they arrived in groups (called rafts) over about 90 minutes. They're so fun to watch -- and listen to -- as they come up onto the rocks, walk up the cliff, and across the lawn in front of us into their burrows. As we left for the night, we walked across a boardwalk that borders several of the penguins' burrows, where we could see a few of them up close, and could certainly hear them grumbling and settling in for the night. Our guide, Elizabeth, was absolutely delightful -- friendly, informative, patient, and funny. But those adorable, entertaining little penguins would be the stars of any show.
Written 2 May 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

traveladdict3500
Hasselt, Belgium782 contributions
Feb 2023
We decided last minute we wanted to go and see the blue penguin colony in Oamaru. Because we were just in time we didn't get the best places on the stands. Therefor we couldn't see the penguins getting out of the water. On the other hand we had a good view of the penguins between the rocks and climbing up to their sleeping places. There is a guide with a microphone who explains everything. You can pay extra to get seats with a better viewpoint. Those seats were full when we arrived but we saw everything in a good way so I doubt if those seats are worth their money. Interesting fact : there are also penguins who get ashore outside of the reserve so you encounter them on the street.
Written 16 April 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kevin T
2 contributions
Apr 2023 • Couples
Experience ruined by people taking pictures.

There are signs everywhere, and they tell you multiple times that photography is prohibited. Yet, once the penguins came out, a half dozen people near us pulled out their cell phones and started taking pictures. One man had a telephoto lens the length of my forearm and I could hear his shutter clicking the whole time. Management did nothing to enforce the rules.

I was happy to support their cause, but it was very expensive and not worth it.
Written 9 April 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Nanma-Julles
Brisbane Region, Australia96 contributions
Mar 2023 • Couples
Loved this, the upgrade seats are worth it as the concrete would be extremely cold to sit on.
We saw about 7 penguins come up from the beach.
I think October to November would be a better time for viewing as it’s the penguins mating season.
However March is when the last of the chicks are yet to fledge, it was so cute seeing one little fellow run over to his possible Mumma to rub and say welcome home. Cute as 🥰
Written 7 April 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Janice C
Austin, TX60 contributions
Mar 2023 • Couples
Watching the little penguins climb up the rocky shore was amazing. We purchased the premier seating. The only difference from the regular seating was the premier had individual plastic seats, the regular seating was a concrete bench. The view was the same.
Written 1 April 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

James H
Oceanside, CA588 contributions
Mar 2023 • Couples
A really fun opportunity to see penguins swim ashore, climb rocks and make their way home to their nests. We saw about 80 over two hours. Premium seats that were closest to where they climbed into the nesting area was sold out, general seating turned out fine. Staff helped with education and explanation. No photos or videos were allowed which was great, people actuall6 focussed on the penguins, not their phones.Wind after sundown got chilly, bring a jacket.
Written 12 March 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mandapandapops
Greater London, UK17 contributions
Mar 2023 • Couples
What a privilege to watch the penguins come home from they days at sea. We watched over 100 penguins waddle up the rocks and race home to feed their chicks. Such a close up view. There were even penguins crossing the car park! Well organised event and informative and friendly hosts.
Written 5 March 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Cathy L
London, UK200 contributions
Mar 2023 • Couples
Book the premium section as the penguins are right in front of you, best view is probably front centre, and arrive 1/2 an hour early. We saw approx 100 coming back and it was magical, they’re so tiny and comical. Also on the rocks are plenty of fur seals to see. We stayed 1 hour 20 mins and on the way out they were next to the walkway inches away. We also spotted some in the car park. A must your to do, and the money goes to help keep them safe.
Written 2 March 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ken H
Ipswich, UK1 059 contributions
Feb 2023 • Couples
No doubt peoples experience will vary as this is a natural event, but we found it absolutely brilliant. We had premium seats which did afford the best views as we could see the penguins swim in, climb the rocks and enter the colony through a fence where special entry ports (near our stand) weigh and track them. During the evening, various youngsters were seen out of their nests. We saw 50+ penguins come ashore over a two hour period. Driving out of the carpark when we left we had to stop to let two stray penguins cross the road - you couldn't make it up. Photography is not allowed but to be fair the memory will stay with you for a lifetime.
Written 22 February 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Yorkie Girl
36 contributions
Jan 2023 • Couples
We only went to Oamuru so that I could see the Little Blue and I loved it although my husband was less than impressed, partly as he couldn’t take photos and partly as he has seen penguins in the Falkland Islands. We were in the standard seats with quite a good view as they come up the cliff to their nesting boxes but the. 3 did a detour through the seating area and passed within a foot of us. Great joy.
Written 14 January 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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OAMARU BLUE PENGUIN COLONY - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go