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“It really depends what you are after...”

Pohatu Penguin Habitat
Ranked #4 of 23 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
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“It really depends what you are after...”
Reviewed 12 May 2010

Now if you are looking for a more commercial experience, getting close to the penguins, seeing a reasonable amount of penguins, something easy and not too difficult, not time consuming, this is not for you! The drive to the habitat of Shirene and the penguins is stunning yet quite scary, about half an hour. I was expecting more I guess out of this experience. I was hoping to see more penguins than just a few young ones still in their hatch/boxes and some in the dark coming out of the sea from afar with binoculars as well ... You need patience thats for sure. My husband and I are in our thirties so we had no trouble climbing up the hills to check the nests with young ones in them... thats all we did, then go in a hut with binoculars waiting for darkness and for the penguins to come out of the sea... in the hills we were lucky enough to see yellow eyed penguins but that was very lucky. The climbing up and down the hills wasnt an easy one and then you wait in a hut with binoculars for half an hour/an hour... It really depends what you are after. The work that Shirene does is incredible and admirable... but it often felt like we were just walking along with her on her daily routine, not really there to see that many penguins... Still I am a big animal lover so I loved seeing the young penguins in the hatches but u only get a glimpse for a few seconds... Effort/money to reward ratio really not that good unfortunately... sorry

2 Thank NatalieHayden
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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330 reviews from our community

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Redmond, Washington
Level Contributor
29 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
“Absolutely unforgettable experience. Highly recommended!”
Reviewed 17 April 2008

There are a couple of tour options for visiting the Pohatu reserve, some involve kayaking and others just a hike through the penguin colonies. We were unable to do the kayak trip due to inclement weather, but the hike was absolutely amazing.

The tour consists of about a 30 minute drive from the Akaroa tourist information center (in the heart of the town) to the Pohatu reserve. On a nice day, the drive alone is worth the cost of the ticket. The views from the crest of the volcano rim were breathtaking. The hike and viewing on the preserve lasted about 2 hours. We were fitted with camoflage and provided with binoculars. By the time we left, the sun had already set and we saw alot of other wildlife on the dark drive back to Akaroa including numerous hares and rabbits and a couple of bush tailed possums.

The reserve is managed by Shireen and Francis Helps... Shireen was our guide and she is very friendly and knowledgable. According to Shireen, the best times for penguin viewing are from September through November and those are also slow months for tourists in Akaroa, so they're not very crowded. We were there in April and the viewing was quite good. We saw hundreds of penguins swimming in the water and around 50 on the rocks. We also saw two of the bigger yellow-eyed penguins.

Highly recommended for anyone in the Christchurch area!

1 Thank Tanchan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
new york
Level Contributor
117 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 138 helpful votes
“Our favorite New Zealand Experience”
Reviewed 13 January 2008

We had heard about the Pohatu penguin tour from a friend, and made a day trip from Christchurch to Akaroa specifically for this. WOW was it worth it. Akaroa is a beautiful little seaside town, and Shirene Helps drives you to her home in Flea Bay. The view alone is breathtaking and if you are lucky enough to witness penguins coming ashore to feed their chicks you will agree. It was amazing to see so many white flippered penguins, both adults and chicks, and we were even lucky to see 2 of the larger yellow-eyed penguins. Highly recommend this trip!

6 Thank rogi8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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