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Timings : 10:15 AM - 6:15 PM

Penguin Place, Dunedin Overview

Penguin Place is a conservation reserve in South Island, New Zealand. Financed completely by guided tours and on-site lodges, this attraction is one of the best places to visit to see wildlife, especially the endangered yellow-eyed penguins. Located only 30 minutes from Dunedin, Penguin Place is one of the few private reserves in New Zealand that not only has a conservation project but also a rehabilitation centre.

Penguin Place started its conservation project over 34 years ago and includes a rehabilitation centre. What’s best about this place is the view when small penguins stumble on their feet while riding in on the surf in order to avoid the waves or the view of the covered trenches. Therefore, if you’re interested in conservation and wildlife, then Penguin Place should definitely be on your list. 

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Opening Hours

Guided tours at Penguin Place go on from 10:15 AM to 6:15 PM every day during the summer (October to March). As for the winter months (April to September), the tour timing is 3:45 PM. The lodge at Penguin Place is only open from September to April.

Tickets

The tour fees are as follows: 
  • Adult: NZD 5
  • Child: NZD 16 (5-17 years old)
  • Family pass: NZD 120 (2 adults and up to 3 children)
  • Entry for a child under the age of 5 is free

    For the lodge, the prices are:
  • Per adult: NZD 35 
  • Per child: NZD 15
  • Per linen: NZD 5

Things to Do

  • 90-minute guided tours which include a short introduction on the issues that the yellow-eyed penguins are facing along with a brief description of the conservation work. This is followed by the tour to the rehabilitation centre where you can take a look at a number of native animals and birds. 
  • Stay at the Penguin Place Lodge. This includes TV rooms, single as well as twin bedrooms, a lounge, a shared kitchen and separate bathrooms for males and females. 

Wildlife

Peninsula Place is home to a number of native species such as New Zealand fur seals, blue penguins and other native bird species but mainly focuses on creating a breeding place for penguins: the yellow-eyed penguins to be specific.

This species is known as the Hoiho by the Maori community which refers to “noise-shouter”. They are the third-largest penguins in the world and weigh around 5-6 kgs. Even though their ideal life expectancy is around 20-25 years, they tend to only live for 12-15 years. Most of them live in Auckland Islands, South Island, Campbell and Stewart Island.

However, due to external threats such as climate change and other threatening species, Penguin Place is a private reserve that strives to preserve the yellow-eyed penguin from extinction. 

Conservation

Penguin Place is one of the first conservation attempts towards penguins in New Zealand. The entire establishment includes a research team that was started in the 1990s, a Conversation area for breeding pairs as well as a rehabilitation centre. The rehabilitation centre takes sick or injured penguins, treats them and then sends them back to the wild. This project has seen a 90% success rate over the years and now has around 107 penguins out of which 98 are yellow-eyed penguins.

Tips

  • Photography is allowed at the site unless your tour guide gives other instructions. 
  • Do not use flash under any circumstances as this may scare the penguins or may be harmful to their light-sensitive eyes. 
  • Visitors should be comfortable with walking since the tour includes a 1-kilometre walk which includes 100 stairs. 
  • Visitors are recommended to use 400 ISO/ASA films. 
  • The view of the wildlife at Penguin Place depends on the day. Hence, visitors can feel free to contact the team for information on what can be seen at the reserve on a particular day.
  • Visitors are requested to stick around with the tour guide and be as quiet as possible so as to avoid any disturbance to the penguins. 

How To Reach Penguin Place

  • Penguin Place is located in the Otago Peninsula.
  • The closest airport to Penguin Place is Dunedin International Airport (DUD) which is a 56-minute drive (54.5 kilometres).
  • Cabs and taxis are available at the airport.
  • Penguin Place is around 28 kilometres from the Dunedin City centre and bus number 18 takes passengers from Princes Street to Penguin Place, taking around an hour to reach.

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