The Otago Peninsula is known for its wildlife and is one of the best places to see the endemic yellow-eyed penguin or "hoiho".
There are several companies offering observation tours but our approach is always to work with the provider who we feel can benefit the most from the financial support the tours offer for their conservation project.
The Penguin Place conservation reserve was born out of a private initiative aiming to protect the yellow-eyed penguin population. These are the most endangered penguin species and they face a grave risk of extinction.
The reserve is entirely funded from your entry fees. The tour starts with a short presentation outlining the difficulties the yellow-eyed penguins face, their life cycle and how Penguin Place functions.
You will then be taken to the reserve on a short bus trip in small groups of no more than 15 people. Your guide will take you on foot through a unique system of covered trenches with observation spots that allow you to see and photograph these timid penguins and their living spaces up close without causing them any distress.
You need to stay quiet but it’s still an ideal activity for kids. When we did it we had our son in his baby carrier.
Before heading back to Dunedin we encourage you to drive on to the far end of the Peninsula to see if the weather conditions are suitable for viewing the albatross. The winding inland road is an option if you want to make the most of the viewpoints and see New Zealand's only castle, Larnach Castle.
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