Blue penguins colony

One of the must-see attractions of your New Zealand vacation are the Oamaru blue penguins. The Oamaru penguins colony is located within walking distance from the historic town centre near the harbor.

Colony size

The number of blue penguins you can see in Oamaru depends on the season:

  • the best time to view penguins would be from September until February: you will be able to see between 50 to 200 penguins in the evenings
  • if you go in winter, the amount of Oamaru penguins may be reduced to below 50.

Blue penguins Oamaru: At the Oamaru penguin colony, there are always 10 nests available for viewing:

Blue penguins Oamaru

Ideal times to view the Oamaru blue penguins

The best time to see the blue penguins is in the evening when they return from the sea.

However, if there are penguins at home during the day, you can take a guided tour and see them resting in their nest boxes.

Guided tours to see Oamaru blue penguins

Oamaru Blue Penguins

To see the little blue penguins of Oamaru, you can either opt for a day or night tour.

For the day tours, if you have a small group, you will be offered a “Behind the Scenes Tour” where you will be given a briefing on:

  • the establishment,
  • the programs and
  • the lifecycle of these New Zealand birds.

For the evening tour, visitors will be able to view the penguins from an outdoor viewing arena as the little penguins return from sea.

Guided tours will take about 1 to 1.5 hours and the timing of the evening tour depends on the season when the penguins are returning home:

  • during the summer the viewing can be as late as 9pm
  • during the New Zealand winter (June- July – August), the guided evening tour could be as early as 5.30pm

Pictures of penguins

It is a truly remarkable and captivating experience to see the little blue penguins waddling up the rocks from the sea and making their way to their Cliffside homes in the evenings.

However, please note that no photography is permitted for the protection of the eyes of the birds, yet the memory of just seeing these cute little creatures will surely stay with you forever.

There is an information and educational visit centre near the colony where you can visit:

  • to buy stunning penguin pictures, penguin gifts and other souvenirs
  • to drink a coffee or
  • just to use the washroom facilities.

The Oamaru blue penguins colony is open 7 days a week from 10am, and the closing time will depend on the season.

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