Yellow-eyed penguins

Penguins need privacy
Yellow-eyed penguins are shy and easily disturbed. For that reason it is recommended that they be viewed from hides or in the company of a tour operator. There are a number of public hides on the Otago coastline, as well as several tour operators who offer controlled close encounters with penguins.

The best viewing is between 3pm before dark (when the birds come ashore) and at sunrise (when they go to sea). Yellow-eyed penguins will be reluctant to come ashore if you are in plain sight on the beach, so stay off the beaches and in the hides after 3pm.

Hide and seek
There are free public viewing hides on the public conservation estate at the following sites:
  • Bushy Beach (Oamaru)
  • Katiki Point, Moeraki (35km S of Oamaru)
  • Shag Point (50km S of Oamaru)
  • Sandfly Bay (Otago Peninsula)
  • Nugget Point (30km E of Owaka)

Go with a guide

Bushy Beach Tours, Oamaru. Operates Mid October to February. See yellow-eyed penguins landing and get a close-up view of a nest. Enquiries to
Coastline Tours, Oamaru , run a bus service to the Bushy Beach public hide and then on to the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony. Can link up with Bushy Beach Tours above.
Nature Guides Otago in Dunedin have a sunrise penguin walk on the Otago Peninsula - see the penguins go to work!
Elm Wildlife Tours in Dunedin offer a variety of tours to see yellow-eyed penguins, albatross and sealions.
Penguin Place on the Otago Peninsula offers close-up views of yellow-eyed penguin and their nests from hides and covered trenches.
Back to Nature Tours In Dunedin offer excursions on the Otago Peninsula to see a variety of wildlife including yellow-eyed penguins.
Catlins Wildlife Trackers in South Otago take groups of up to 8 people by mini bus to remote places to walk and appreciate the flora and fauna, geology, history and conservation. Rare wildlife seen includes Hooker's sealions and yellow eyed penguins and at times yellow head, fernbird, Hector's dolphins and elephant seals.
Catlinger, based in in Owaka offer yellow-eyed penguin and wildlife viewing tours run every day (except Thu) on demand.Departures each evening, times dependant on penguin activity. Groups are never more than 6 in number & visit a private location with a prime & secluded viewing area.
Heritage Expeditions Ltd - Ship-based expeditions to Fiordland, the antarctic and sub-antarctic.

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