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“Great views of these hilarious little penguins from the premium seating”

Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony
Ranked #1 of 8 Tours in Oamaru
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed November 28, 2012

I highly recommend visiting the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony for the night show, and if you do, absolutely spring the extra $10 for the premium seating. The penguins run right by the premium seating (as in, you see them from a meter or two away) while the standard $25 seating is a ways away, though you get better views of them leaving the ocean and there were even a few who walked into the standard seating when I was there.

The little penguins seem to have pretty bad eyesight, and look like a bunch of tiny Mr. Magoos when they walk. It's pretty funny seeing a group of 10-20 of them come up on the shore slowly, stop on the rocks to survey the area for a couple of minutes, walk farther up the rocks, stop to survey the area a couple more minutes, and then run full speed into the nesting area, falling on their stomachs and creating traffic pileups every few steps along the way. This all happens just a few feet in front of the premium seating area, and these are about the cutest animals on Earth.

Another advantage to the premium seating is that as you leave, you get to walk on an elevated boardwalk that passes through the nesting area, and lots of the little penguins are out screwing around there. The funniest one I saw was standing outside the highest nest and yelling at every single penguin who came by, as well as every human walking on the boardwalk. My best guess for the translation was "Get off my lawn!"

One has to be really careful when exiting the area via car, as there are some more little blue penguins who come up to and across the road outside of the paid colony. When headed to the car I saw two blue penguins boning right under a light outside the colony, which had me laughing so hard I was crying and had to hand the car keys off to a friend. I didn't get any pics since I was worried the flash would interrupt their good time, and no way I want to get in the way of two members of an endangered species mating. I forgot to mention there are no pictures allowed in the actual colony (including the standard and premium seating), which is good, since the blue penguins seem to get freaked out and head back to sea over pretty slight things (before the show started people were up and about a bit and talking, so the first group of 10 or so that we saw retreated back).

Do bring a fleece and a warm hat, as it gets pretty cold after sunset.

Thank spurs f
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OBPC, Manager at Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony, responded to this reviewResponded December 6, 2012

Thank you for your comments, and I am glad you enjoyed the experience in the premium stand. The staff and I all thought your description of the penguins was perfect . . . especially the translation. Very funny.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"premium seats"
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in 20 reviews
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"front row"
in 15 reviews
"coming ashore"
in 14 reviews
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"penguins coming"
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"day tour"
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"penguin colony"
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Reviewed November 14, 2012

It is great but make sure you wear warm clothes ,take a blanket and a flask.Its freezing when the sun goes down.Awesome experience seeing the penguins come in

Thank Jokemuss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OBPC, Manager at Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony, responded to this reviewResponded December 6, 2012

That is probably the best advice anyone could give: wear warm clothes. Regardless of the time of year it gets cold when the sun goes down. Thank you for taking the time to comment on your experience, and to point that out.

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Reviewed November 14, 2012

We took the kids and loved seeing all the penguins coming home.The talk was great too.Would say that warm clothing,blankets and a flask of hot choc is essential.You may arrive when it is warm but it cools down quick as sunset comes

Thank Jokemuss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 13, 2012

We absolutely loved it! It was amazing to see the beautiful little penguins coming up from the beach. It was worth every penny. And spring for the premium seating!

Thank gerie74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OBPC, Manager at Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony, responded to this reviewResponded December 6, 2012

Thank you for your comment. It is always nice to hear people valued and appreciated the experience.

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Reviewed November 10, 2012

Very disappointed to see that you are not allowed to take pictures. The better camera's have an add on flash, but it was not an option as they told me. I think only because they want to sell their own pictures. I believe the stories about the amount of penguins you can see there, but just stay in the harbour and you see at least 100 of them too. Because of the price and they didnt give the option to use my own camera (or anyone else that doenst have a flash, just forbid the compact camera's and maybe the starters SLR's, just like at the airport, give a sticker that yours is approved, even for 5 dollar extra).
They are very nice to see outside of the colony handled by humans, but just as nature is. Ofcourse the road on the harbour is created by men, but the penguins drop out of the water and walk almost over your feet. Stay still!!! That is the most important otherwise they dont dare to cross the road and will stay in the water. And they need to cross to bring the fish to the others. This was a great experience and did it twice.

I think much better than pay a lot, it was i think 25dollars to sit for 1 hour and not be able to take a picture and now i have a lot of them, ofcourse not all great but most important have the experience!

Thank Chris v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OBPC, Manager at Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony, responded to this reviewResponded December 6, 2012

The OBPC is constantly reviewing its policies in light of technological advancements. I appreciate your comments on allowing those with specific camera types to take photos, while those without are not allowed. Charging for the priviledge would be a very novel approach, and I must admit it is not one we had ever considered. We previously allowed photos without flash But we found the behaviour of the visitors taking the photos became virtually unmanageable as they jockeyed for position for the best photo. This was equally disturbing to the penguins, and a clear reminder to us - and others - that this is not an issue about photos or technology. It is about mitigated disturbance.

Research demonstrates that wildlife interactions that are unamanaged (like those in the harbour) can prove harmful to the long-term sustainability of the penguin population. It is for this reason the OBPC was establsihed: to ensure a safe, natural, habitat undistrubed by people where the penguins have unfettered, natural, movement and can flourish despite the curiosity and interaction of people despite their best intentions, or the type of equipment they use. Since the establishment of the OBPC and because of the implemnetation of our managerial practices - such as no phtography - the penguin population in Oamaru grows every year. I am pleased you had a pleasant experience in the harbour. I merely hope you appreciate it was made possible because of the managerial controls in place at the OBPC, not in spite of them.

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