Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony
Point of difference
Come and discover the world of the little blue penguin. Your visit contributes to our long-term conservation and research programmes where for care for and learn about the penguins' lives.
Directions from nearest town
3 hour drive south of Christchurch International Airport and 1½ hours north of Dunedin, Oamaru is a natural place to stop for a break.
Situated just 5 Minutes from the centre of town, the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony is one of the easiest places in New Zealand to see the little blue penguin.
The Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony is located just minutes from the centre of Oamaru.
Since its establishment in 1993, and because of its conservation efforts, the Colony has observed very high breeding success in the penguin population, increasing from 33 to 220 breeding pairs and up to 300 penguins returning each night.
Little (blue) penguins are the smallest of the world's 17 penguin species, and one of only 2 to nest underground.
The penguins are either hidden inside their nests during the day, or out at sea fishing. The return ashore from fishing just as it starts to get dark, usually around 30 minutes after sunset. In the evening, visitors watch from purpose-built grandstands while only metres in front of them the penguins come ashore, climb the rocks, and enter the breeding area.
Visitors to the Colony, in the evening, can experience a fascinating eco-tourism environment, gain insight into the lives of the blue penguin, and be part of the Colony's world-leading conservation efforts.
Prior to Covid the Colony offered day-tours, these will be re-established after the international border reopens.