a VirtualTourist member
I'll be travelling to NZ in Nov and wild life watching is one of my favourite.
For yellow penguin watching in Dunedin and blue penguin in Oamaru, which one is better?
How many yellow penguins are expected to see if I join a local tour in Dunedin? is it worth the price?
Btw, does anyone know how to get to Dunedin and Oamaru from Mt Cook by public transport?
Thanks in advance!
Penguin watching depends a lot on the season you are visiting. Once friends of mine went to Oamaru in March, I think, and only three Little Blues were coming to shore. The breeding season and when they feed their young is the best time, which is September to December for the Yellow-Eyed Penguins and August to November for the Little Blues. So travelling in November is the best season for both kinds of penguins.
On the website of the Oamaru colony you can find out about penguin numbers:
In the peak season the Oamaru experience can be very rewarding, as the colony has 150 to 180 penguins. You will not see that many Yellow-Eyed Penguins on any tour in Dunedin or any other place in NZ. But around Otago Peninsula you can rather often spot some in the wild and for free.
It is very difficult to say what is better. Although it is fantastic to see lots of penguins waddling ashore it can be more exciting to see only two or three in the wild, without being surrounded by dozens of other tourists. You have to make this up with yourself.
Another nice place for a penguin encounter is the Penguin Hospital at Katiki Point, near the Moeraki Boulders, between Oamaru and Dunedin. There is also a colony. I have a tip about it on my Otago page, and they now have a website:
However, you do not get there by public transport, only until Moeraki.
Public transport from Mt. Cook Village to Dunedin is no problem but a bit tricky to Oamaru.
The Intercity/Newmans coaches are the only big company that services Mt. Cook Village. The trip to Dunedin takes 5:15 hours. But they have no direct connection to Oamaru. You would need to get to Christchurch or Dunedin first, and then travel along the coast.
The other option is to use a local shuttle bus from Mt. Cook Village to Twizel, and take one of the other overland bus companies there.
The local shuttle service is the Cook Connection. They run daily between Mount Cook, Lake Tekapo and Twizel, and between Mount Cook and Oamaru on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, the direct way through the Waitaki Valley.
If you want to see both blue penguins and yellow eyed penguins the best place is on the natures wonders tour on the Dunedin peninsula. They have especially designed hides where you can see the yellow eyed penguins coming up from the water - I was there in November and saw maybe 10, but lots of blue penguins - you can actually see right into their next to the hides. Here is the link to the tours - the buggys are great fun too!!
You can also stay at that farm.
In addition to the information already provided on the Oamaru Penguin Colony here is more thast may help.
The Little Blue comes in after dark mostly. Just down the road a few minutes is the beach where the Yellow-eyed Penguin comes in. You can go there first as they come in before dark and there is a good blind to watch from. Then off to the Little Blue Colony.
I suggest you go there first to buy your tickets then to the yellow-eyed beach.
Don't forget to go in and see them on their nests before the evening also on the daylight tour.
Check out the info here - http://www.penguins.co.nz