Blue-Penguin Colony

Blue-Penguin Colony information

adult/child/family $25/10/65
Opening hours
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Lonely Planet review

In an old limestone quarry near the waterfront, you can see the little tykes from Oamaru’s blue-penguin colony surfing in and wading ashore. The penguins arrive just before dark (around 5.30pm in midwinter and 9.30pm midsummer), and it takes them about an hour to all come ashore. You’ll see the most penguins (up to 150) in November and December. From March to August there may be only 30 to 50 birds. Nightly viewing times are posted at the i-SITE . Use of camera flashes is prohibited, and dress warmly.

To understand the centre’s conservation work, take the 30-minute, daytime, behind-the-scenes tour (self-guided adult/child/family $12/5/30 or guided $18/8/50). Forward bookings can be made on, and packages combining night viewing and the behind-the-scenes tour are also available. Drop some coins in the centre's donation box. Their conservation efforts have helped increase the bird population dramatically.

Do not under any circumstances wander around the rocks beside the sea here at night looking for penguins. It’s damaging to their environment as well as stuffing up studies on the effect of humans on the little birds.