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Pohatu is the largest Australasian Little Penguin colony on mainland New Zealand and the family owners have worked over the last three decades protecting White-flippered Penguins, Canterbury’s own variant of Australasian Little Penguin, from introduced predators.
After a breath-taking scenic drive from over Akaroa and photo opportunities you will discover tranquil Pohatu Bay where you will set off for a walk around the colony to monitor nesting sites and make sure that our Little Penguins are doing well. Then, you will have the opportunity to spot some undisturbed from our hides, socializing on the water with provided binoculars and telescope.
At dusk there is a a high likelihood to see some penguins returning to shore and relaxing on the rocks before heading to their nests. As they have to walk so far to feed chicks you will leave before dark and leave them in peace.
In addition, tours booked late November to February may have the opportunity to see up-close rehabilitation efforts such as feedings and swim therapy.
Tour includes:
  • 4WD transportation by 4WD minibus to and from Pohatu bay on some of Banks peninsula back country road,
  • Welcome by rare sheep breeds that can be hand fed,
  • A conservation walk and talk within the penguin habitat,
  • Monitoring of penguin nesting homes to check on the colony,
  • With camouflage gear and through binoculars and scope, watch penguin(s) in the middle of the bay, preening, resting and socialising,
  • A likelihood of some birds coming ashore just under the hides as it get darker

Evening Penguin Tour

2-3 hours

$199 NZD

Guided tour to visit the largest mainland colony of Australasion Little Penguins in New Zealand. Tour across private land for an exclusive viewing of these creatures

Experience provided by

Pohatu Penguins

Important Information
  • Tours must be prebooked
  • Bring good walking shoes or boots with good grip soles that can cope with a bit of mud in wet conditions.
    The track can be demanding for some and can be slippery in wet conditions. We do our best to have a well formed track in good condition as far as the viewing hides that most people can cope with.
  • Bring warm clothing (some additional camouflage clothing will be provided).
  • Binoculars. Although some are provided, you might want to bring your own

Penguin viewing liklihood changes with the season – use the below grid to plan your visit.

Time of the year Viewing probability Viewing expectation
September – Mid October Guaranteed
High Likelihood
Nesting sites (Adults)
Socializing on the water
Mid October – Mid December Guaranteed 


Nesting sites (Adults, chicks and eggs)
Socializing on the water
Mid December – Mid February High Likelihood
Nesting sites Adults moulting (losing their feathers)
Mid-February – Mid April Likelihood
Some socializing on the water
Maybe late moulters early returners
Mid-April – end of May High Likelihood
High Likelihood
Nesting sites (Adults)
Socializing on the water
June – August 50/50 (although it is rare not to have a single penguin in the bay, winter is very sporadic, call ahead to check if there are penguins) Returning adults socializing on the water and in nestin
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