Incorporated in this new centre is a pleasant cafe (lunch mains $10 to $22, dinner $26 to $38), visitor centre and the Gateway, a modern museum with a multiscreen film experience describing the evolution of the area, and a touchwall to learn about the petrified forest, penguins and local history.

To the side of the centre is the start of the walk to the petrified forest, via a penguin boardwalk that takes you over nesting grounds for endangered yellow-eyed penguin (hoiho). They waddle ashore from the beach at dusk and you might see them through the peep flaps, but do the right thing and keep your distance (at least 50m).