Pohatu is the largest Australasian Little Penguin colony on mainland New Zealand and where this family owned business has worked over the last three decades protecting White-flippered Penguins, Canterbury’s own variant of Australasian Little Penguin, from introduced predators.
This is a wonderful option for people who wish to take part in the monitoring program and discover more, in depth, about the conservation efforts. This gives you great insight into the life of a penguin and the chance to see the birds up-close and a unique opportunity to watch them socialising on the water.
After a breathtaking scenic drive over Akaroa extinct volcano 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 the Little Penguins are doing well. Then, you will have the unique opportunity to spot some undisturbed from hidden hides, socializing on the water with provided binoculars and telescope.
With night falling there is 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.
The tour includes:
- 4WD transportation from Akaroa 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
Why is this Chuffed Worthy?
We love this business. This is an exemplar of how, when done well tourism is such a powerful force. Pohutu Penguins is a family run business with a long standing history of protecting the Little Penguin in Pohatu Bay. When Shireen and Francis Helps first started their penguin conservation work the penguins faced massive challenges via predation by rats, cats, ferrets and stoats. The colonies around Bank’s Peninsula were disappearing at an alarming rate.
Through predator trapping, monitoring, rehabilitation and creating awareness the Pohutu Colony stabilized and has now grown into the largest colony of Little Penguins on mainland New Zealand. Today, the conservation work continues, and the tourism business has created jobs, raises marine conservation awareness and in short is simply a fantastic story!