Yellow-eyed penguins

Viewing crested penguins
With the exception of the Fiordland crested, all the crested penguins in the New Zealand region inhabit remote sub-antarctic islands, necessitating an expensive cruise to see them. Landings are not permitted on some of the sub-antarctic islands, but the penguins on those islands can, weather permitting, be viewed by small boat.

Small numbers of juvenile crested penguins straggle to the East coast of the South Island in late summer (February/March) to moult. Moulting is a stressful time for penguins, so if you come across them, keep your distance.


Erect-crested penguins
The main colonies of erect-crested penguins are on the Antipodes and Bounty islands where tourist landings are prohibited due to the outstanding conservation values of the islands. Ship visits to these islands are possible and penguins can be seen from the ship or if weather allows from small boats.

Best time: October to February

Snares crested penguins
The Snares crested penguins only breed on the Snares Islands, some 100km to the south of Stewart Island. Tourist landings are prohibited on the Snares due to the outstanding conservation values of the islands but again it is possible to see them from aboard ship or from small boats.

Best time: October to February

Rockhopper penguins
Rockhopper penguins breed on a number of sub-antarctic islands of which Campbell and Auckland are accessible (by permit only) in the New Zealand region.

Best time: October to February

Fiordland penguins
The Fiordland crested penguin is the only one of the crested penguins that is relatively easily viewed in New Zealand, as the other crested species require a sub-antarctic voyage. Fiordland, South Westland and Stewart Island are the usual domain of the Fiordland crested. More >>>

Best time:July to November
Sub-antarctic tour operators
Heritage Expeditions Ltd - Ship-based expeditions to Fiordland, the Antarctic and sub-antarctic.

Fiordland Ecology Holidays offer multi-day cruises around Fiordland, some of which provide the opportunity to see Fiordland penguins.

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