We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Highlight of my NZ trip!”

Pohatu Penguin Habitat
Ranked #3 of 25 Tours in Akaroa
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Pohatu penguins is a family owned business that offers 4WD safaris trip to the Largest Little penguin colony on mainland New Zealand. Conservation based tours include: -Evening penguin tours -Scenic nature safaris (2 or 4 hours) -Sea-kayaking with seals and other wildlife -24 or 48 hour package including accommodation in the middle of the penguin colony
Reviewed January 5, 2014

I cannot speak highly enough of my experience at the Pohatu Penguin Habitat, nor of the amazing Helps family. I booked the overnight experience, starting my day by meeting up with my guide, Kev, at the booking office in Akaroa. There, I also met Joey and Ave and looked at the amazing arts and crafts that the family has put together. From jewelry, paintings, and cards made by Joey and Ave, to gorgeous photography and postcards by Kevin, to wild-n-wooly hats from Shireen, it's clear that the whole family is as creative and talented as they are passionate about protecting and preserving penguins and the habitats that sustain them. I learned so much about penguins, New Zealand, and came away so impressed with all the work the family have done and are doing. The cabin-y space I stayed in was clean and dry, and while not super warm overnight (I couldn't get the one window to shut all the way), my mattress pad was heated so it was cosy and safe. I had a phenomenal experience, and would recommend this trip to anyone who is passionate about penguins, wildlife, conservation, and just the peacefulness that can come from being disconnected from everything else!

Thank Ruth_E_Phillippi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review
Reviews (372)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year

281 - 285 of 372 reviews

Reviewed December 29, 2013

The highlight of our cruise to New Zealand was joining the Pohatu Penguin Sea Kayaking tour for the afternoon while we were in Akaroa,.What a spectacular drive up out of the crater that is the Bay of Akaroa and down the other side to Pohatu Penguins, with a couple of photo stops along the way. We were so fortunate to have perfect weather and our group of 16 got geared up and split into 2 groups, so that there were only 4 kayaks with each host, and off we went. We kayaked amongst many seals some of whom played around our kayaks, paddled into a cave and saw roosting birds. After, we were able to see baby penguins in their nesting box and one juvenile that was almost finished molting and ready to become independent. There were also plenty of opportunities to mingle with and take pictures of the sheep as this is an active sheep and cattle farm. Finally we enjoyed a lovely afternoon tea before being driven back to our cruise ship in plenty of time.

Thank DaveandJo-Ann P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 23, 2013

While it:
1. pissed down with rain while we were there
2. we didn't see penguins in the water
3. it was too windy to kayak
it was still worth it. It's a unique experience that you should go and do. The bush walk is terrific The location is terrific. The owners are nice. Seeing the baby penguins in their box is interesting

I believe the penguins did return around 9:30pm at night - however, we didn't hang out that late in the rain and cold. I am sure that it would be worth it. Suggestion: call and ask them if the penguins are coming in and what time - then plan around that.

Despite the poor weather and missing the penguins, this is a terrific place and one I would consider coming again to!

2  Thank Tim30549
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pohatu_penguins, Manager at Pohatu Penguin Habitat, responded to this reviewResponded March 6, 2015

Thank you for your nice comment. It sounds like despite the weather you had a really good time. If you’re thinking on coming back try to plan your trip around the breeding season, big rush is in October and November.
Hoping to see you again.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 9, 2013

We had the pleasure of meeting fantastic hosts and had a wonderful afternoon on our kayaking afternoon. Sailing on the Celebrity Solstice, we spent the day in Akaroa and had booked this wonderful trip before leaving home. After being met at the wharf, we had a beautiful scenic drive up and over the mountains, with time to stop at the top and a view of our cruise ship in the bay below. Everything was fantastic, kayaking around the bay, penguins, seals on the rocks, great photo opportunity and a wonderful homemade afternoon tea was provided before our drive back to the wharf. All equipment and training was provided, great for couples,singles and families.We hope to visit again and stay overnight in the accomadation and see more of this beautiful part of the world. Thank you :-) Julie & Peter

1  Thank Julie-Peter-Nov2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 27, 2013

We did the overnight stay at the colonial-style cottage, which was incredible to discover this beautiful area with relatively few people around. There were so many activities to do: the penguin tour, kayaking, feeding and playing with the wildlife, bushwalking and a tour of the area. Even if you only do the penguin tour or another activity, this is something not to be missed if you're in the area.

1  Thank Marlene1985
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Pohatu Penguin Habitat also viewed

Akaroa, Canterbury Region
Akaroa, Canterbury Region
Akaroa, Canterbury Region

Been to Pohatu Penguin Habitat? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing