New Zealand is home to three species of penguins, a unique group of charming, flightless seabirds that are at home on land and in the sea.

Best places to see penguins

New Zealand has several places around the country to go on tours and penguin-spotting experiences. Keep our penguins and their colonies safe by giving them space when you encounter them. Avoid disturbing their natural behaviour, especially when they’re nesting. Doing so helps contribute to their conservation.

Of New Zealand's species, the korora, or little blue penguin, is the world’s smallest penguin. You’ll find these penguins when they come ashore at night in the Marlborough Sounds, Akaroa Harbour, Oamaru, Dunedin and Stewart Island.

The rare hoiho, or yellow-eyed penguin, is distinguished by its vivid yellow eye band. You’ll find them on the Otago Peninsula, just south of Dunedin and round the Catlins region. Dunedin offers the best wildlife tours, giving you an incredible close-up view of penguins, sea lions and fur seals in their natural habitat.

The rare Fiordland Crested Penguin (Tawaki), is a beautiful bird that lives in the rainforests of Haast, Lake Moeraki, Stewart Island and Fiordland in the South Island.

Find penguin activities

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