Best Places to See Penguins in New Zealand

Best Places to See Penguins in New Zealand

Written by mighway

Marine life is abundant in New Zealand, and the chance to see penguins is definitely a highlight while visiting. And if you don’t know about Kiwi penguins, you’re in for a rare treat. New Zealand is home to three native and unusual species — the little blue penguin (korora), the yellow-eyed penguin (hoiho) and the Fiordland crested penguin (tawaki). Hire a campervan and uncover some of the best places to see penguins in New Zealand.

The Penguin

The little blue penguin is the most common Kiwi penguin as well as the world’s smallest. Also called fairy penguins, they are a striking slate-blue color. Rare yellow-eyed penguins have distinctive, bright yellow bands around their eyes. And lastly, one of the world’s most rare penguins, the Fiordland crested, are black and white birds with two yellow crests on their heads.

These adorable penguins can be observed in their natural habitats throughout New Zealand. When penguin viewing, make sure to give them lots of space and don’t disturb their nesting sites. If you’re hoping to spot some of these charming aquatic birds, here are our recommendations for the best places to see penguins in New Zealand.


Dubbed “Penguintown”, Oamaru is a fascinating town to explore and also home to penguin colonies. At sunset, you can watch both little blue and yellow-eyed penguins waddle ashore to sleep for the night. After they tuck themselves in, enjoy dinner at one of Oamura’s famed restaurants. Be sure to top the day off with a glass of local whisky.


Dunedin, located on the Otago Peninsula, has several breeding conservation areas for little blue and yellow-eyed penguins. They are wildlife tours available that provide opportunities to hike along the peninsula and watch groups of penguins going about all the activities of their daily lives.

Banks Peninsula

The Banks Peninsula lies just south of Christchurch. It’s home to the largest mainland colony of little blue penguins, including white-flippered little blue penguins. The white-flippered penguins are found only in the Canterbury region. Take an evening penguin tour and help with the conservation monitoring efforts.

Monro Beach

After a pleasant walk through a native rain forest, you’ll arrive at Monro Beach. The rather shy and elusive Fiordland crested penguins nest along the coastline. It’s best to observe them from a distance to ensure their habitat is not disturbed.

Penguin viewing can add a unique dimension to your New Zealand vacation. If you’re hoping for a one-of-a-kind trip, why not hire a campervan and take to the road in Kiwi style? At Mighway, we offer private, affordable campervan hire. Contact us today to begin your awesome adventure!