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“Pure magic”

Blue Penguins Pukekura
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Discover Korora, the Little Blue Penguin, the world's smallest penguin. Enjoy close up viewing of penguins returning from a day at sea within the Takiharuru Pilots Beach nature reserve at dusk. Watch from a purpose built observation deck as korora scurry up the beach to their cliff-face burrows. Viewing of the Little Blue Penguins is guaranteed and is an attraction not to be missed when visiting Dunedin, NZ's wildlife capital. Blue Penguins Pukekura is a joint venture between the Korako Karetai Trust and the Otago Peninsula Trust who agreed to establish an accord to manage the environmental, historical and amenity values of the area known as Takiharuru Pilots Beach at Pukekura Taiaroa Head. The korora little blue penguin tour is hosted by local guides who share their cultural history and welcome guests to their area,which is of historical and current significance to the descendants of Korako Karetai. Non-flash photos allowed. Penguin Tiki Tour with Transport avail from Dunedin city.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children, Activities for young children, Food available for purchase, Wheelchair access
Reviewed 19 January 2014

This tour at sunset is excellent value as other reviewers have said previously. We saw over 100 penguins come out of the water up to their nests. The highlight was the performance of the baby chicks waiting to be fed and we were not disappointed as the mum came and fed them. The viewing platform is well lit and the penguins come very close to you. I hadn't realised before how small they are. I thoroughly recommend this tour for all ages.

Thank Lynn T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
OtagoPeninsulaTrust, Public Relations Manager at Blue Penguins Pukekura, responded to this reviewResponded 4 February 2014

Hi Lynn

Thank you for taking the time to review Pukekura Blue Penguins. I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed your tour and viewing of the Penguins at Pilots Beach. The penguins often nest directly under the viewing platform, which means excellent viewing. This is especially true when the younger ones come out from the nest to be fed, or the adults wait for their friends to return from out at sea. Hopefully we will see you back here in the near future.

Regards,
Michael

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Reviews (81)
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Reviewed 6 January 2014

Watching the penguins come in as a "raft" to the beach was fun. They are a noisy bunch when they call to each other. We stayed on the viewing platform for almost the whole tour. We left about 5 minutes early because I was in shorts and it was starting to get chilly. We were the only ones walking back to car and some of the penguins nest under the stairs. So, we were treated to an even closer encounter. I was inches away from them.

BE CAREFUL, on the drive back down to main peninsula, we saw 2 penguins on the road! I was so worried they would get run over. During our tour, the guides explained the reason they put the fence up was so penguins would not cross the road to nest. When we had breakfast the next morning and I told the lady working what had happened, she was very surprised we had seen them on the road, so hopefully it was a fluke.

Thank cumberlandga
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 December 2013

We paid 20 dollars for a tour at sunset. It was worth all of it. Make sure if it still cools down at night you wear enough warm clothes and wind protection because you stay a while at the beach. We saw 85 penguins arrive at sunset, it was getting dark, so they come late. It was a spectacle to see, they walk past the platform, their nest are placed by the platform. Amazing, and also good information from the staf.

Thank Veronique c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 November 2013

At the end of October, we had an amazing evening that I will never forget. We joined people from all over the world as the twilight fell over the Otago Harbour waiting for the blue penguins to return home. The penguins arrived in "rafts" of 6-15, climbed up over boulders,walked past our viewing platform and headed home. Well, some headed home but many were met by and loudly welcomed by their mates. They hung out around and under the viewing platform for ages. We were blown away by the close proximity to the birds and how unbothered they seemed by the spectators. It was one big photo opportunity and 100% unforgettable. I encourage visitors and residents of Dunedin to visit Pukekura Blue Penguins.

Thank foodiedunedinnz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 September 2013

I've meant to write this review for a while. On December 28, 2012, a full-moon night, my husband and I drove to the Albatross Centre at Taiaroa Head on Dunedin's Otago Peninsula to enjoy the city's newest wildlife attractions, the blue penguin viewing platform at Pilot's Beach. Over two years, in an effort the protect the local blue penguin colony and enhance viewing opportunities, local groups, including children, weeded, dug holes, planted native plants, installed nesting boxes, installed low intensity LED lights and a viewing platform at Pilot's Beach, right below the Albatross Centre. Pilot's Beach is home to Dunedin's largest blue penguin colony.
Admission to the evening viewing is $20 per adult, $10 per child, payable at the Albatross Centre. I believe the platform is wheelchair accessible. We arrived at 7:30, as the day was growing dim.
As the last light is on the horizon, the blue penguins begin to gather in groups of dozens in the harbor. After grouping, these "rafts" of penguins swim toward the beach. Then they'll waddle up the beach to their nests. It was moving to see the drama of some penguins looking and calling out to their mates; it was like something you'd see on National Geographic or Animal Planet!
We saw 146 blue penguins swim ashore that night and left early. Staff/penguin project volunteers told us they expected a total of about 200. Of course, some penguins never return as there are many perils (sharks, sea lions, fur seals, fishing nets, etc).
The new penguin viewing platform is a vast improvement for penguins and humans alike. The blue penguins seemed oblivious to the humans watching them. Penguin project staff said the blue penguins seemed more relaxed now, as if they no longer felt threatened by humans.
The LED lights made it much easier to see them. I could photograph and capture videos of them, even though I don't have the greatest camera (I did use a tripod). Understandably, flashes are not allowed. Someone with a great lens could have gotten much better photos (more sharply focused and less grainy).
It was a fantastic experience and I plan on returning this year. I recommend those interested in viewing wildlife visit Pilot's Beach Blue Penguin Colony if overnighting in Dunedin, especially if time does not allow a visit to Oamaru's Blue Penguin Colony. I also recommend visiting during the full moon on a clear night, if possible, and during summer when the population is higher.
Dress warmly as you might be standing outside on the edge of the harbor for hours. And go soon, as the New Zealand govt. will soon drill for offshore oil near here. No one knows how this will affect the blue penguins and Dunedin's other marine life. It could be disruptive.
I visited Pilot's Beach at twilight to see the blue penguins twice before this, when there was no platform, lights, or admission. But I couldn't see any penguins because it was so dark. I could hear them and they seemed to be all around me. At that time, humans were free to go where they liked, some intruding upon nests to better view the penguins. It was upsetting to watch.
It's all different now and very much worth the price of admission. I had previously seen blue penguins in Oamaru, north of Dunedin, and on Kangaroo Island, Australia. This was the best yet.

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

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