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“great sight, but wrap up”

Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Westport, Ireland
Level Contributor
752 reviews
266 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 234 helpful votes
“great sight, but wrap up”
Reviewed February 11, 2013

it was wonderful seeing the small penguins form groups to cross to thier nesting boxes, but be warned it does get very cold sitting waiting

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank mandr268
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 review, April 17, 2013
Thank you for your comments, and it does get cold. We would encourage anyone coming to dress warm and/or bring a blanket regardless of the time of year. I am glad you enjoyed it.
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Blenheim, New Zealand
Level Contributor
41 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Money Spinner”
Reviewed January 31, 2013

Think it was just a bit too touristy and a but of a money spinner for them and I think you can see Blue Penguins in other places that wont cost a cent.

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
3 Thank Lawrence R
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 review, February 3, 2013
I appreciate your comment about being a 'money spinner'. It is true that the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony is a money-generating venture, and from the outside it may look a bit touristy. But it is also true that we are 100% council owned, and all money generated goes directly back to conservation work or into community improvement projects. And the tourism structure you see is better seen as a collection of habitat and wildlife protection measures. This is all possible because people choose the experience they can have at the Colony over that they may (or may not) have somewhere else.
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frodsham
Level Contributor
68 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“What a rip off”
Reviewed January 31, 2013

You are not allowed to take photographs they say due to conservation reasons yet the place is flood lit to death. If you pay for the more expensive seating area all you get is a blue chair (i'd have settled for the other side). You couldnt hear the lady speaking on the tanoy system. I'm all for looking after these beautiful little birds but felt this was very over priced and I was very disappointed.

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank MazzyFrodsham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dunedin, New Zealand
Level Contributor
25 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Well worth the over night stay”
Reviewed January 30, 2013

We recently visited the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony and took an evening tour to watch the little creatures come back to shore after a day out fishing in the ocean. Being from Dunedin (only 2 hr drive south of Oamaru), one seldom gets the chance to stop for an evening viewing of the penguins. Because our visit was in the high summer, the penguins do not come to shore till late at night, around 9pm, therefore, one has to spend the night in Oamaru.
We paid to sit in the "VIP" area, $35, as opposed to the cheaper $25 seats. At first, one might think the extra $10 are not worth it, as both seating options offer excellent views of the penguins. However, it is the walk back to the information centre that is worth the extra ten bucks. Along the boardwalk, one can see the little penguins as close as a few centimetres away. The noises they make when their mates/mum/dad approaches the nests are amazing. The nests are so close to the boardwalk, one has to pay good attention not to step on a penguin. That oportunity of such close encounter with the little creatures is not given when one pays the cheaper $25 ticket.
The staff is friendly and seem knowledgable, lots of things and info to look at in the centre while one waits to be seated in the viewing area. The shop is tacky, but then we are there for the penguins, not for the shopping.
We took our four and a half year old son and he loved it, however, I would not recommend it if children are tired and cranky, as the penguins need quiet and do not benefit from a screaming child. Do bring along binoculars, as there are often seals in the rocks one can look at while the penguins make an apearance. Get there early (20 min), as then you can get the chance to seat in the very front row and enjoy a better viewing. That evening, 240 penguins came to shore!

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
Thank Mimoso1
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 review, February 4, 2013
I am glad you enjoyed your experience, and thank you for taking the time to comment.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newcastle, Australia
Level Contributor
52 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Penguins were delightful, visitors were not”
Reviewed January 25, 2013

The little penguins were absolutely delightful and I wouldn't have missed seeing them for anything. However, I was very disappointed in the Premium Seating I paid for. We arrived at 9:00 pm, as our ticket advised and found ourselves 5 rows back from the front and on the opposite side to the water. The whole grandstand was sideways to the water, which meant that we couldn't see the penguins swim in or walk up the slope. We couldn't see them until they were at the top and about to run through to where their burrows were. There was only one guide on our side and she spoke so quietly that I doubt most people would have heard the rules. If they did, many chose to ignore her and stand in front of others or walk across the boardwalk when the penguins were moving through the area. In addition, many people were looking through the bottom fence for free and taking flash photos from there. I think a barrier should be in place to stop them.

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
Thank AussieAdventurer50
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 review, January 30, 2013
Thank you for your comments, and I just wanted to quickly address a couple points you raised. We agree that the behaviour of some visitors is less than acceptable, and some do not follow the rules. Such behaviour can have a detrimental effect on others' experiences. We are continually reviewing our procedures and safety measures to ensure the best viewing experience for all our visitors, and we take your comment about a barrier arm and will add that to the list of options we are considering. Second, the premium stand you were seated in was specifically placed to enhance the view of the penguins in the breeding area, just a few feet in front of where you would have been sitting, and to give the opportunity to walk through the breeding area at night while the penguins were active on land, an opportunity that is quite rare. It is also designed to protect viewers from the worst of the on-shore wind and weather, which it hopefully did despite the issues with the view to the coast. Again, thanks for your feedback.
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