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.
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