Penguin Place


PENGUIN PLACE, Otago Peninsula, Dunedin, New Zealand

Welcome to Penguin Place, home of the Yellow-eyed Penguin Conservation Reserve,
New Zealand's multi-Award Winner.

Penguin Place Yellow-eyed PenguinPenguin Place is a
private conservation reserve dedicated to helping the endangered
Yellow Eyed Penguin survive.

This conservation project is entirely funded by guided tours of the reserve. This funding provides habitat restoration, predator control, a research programme and on-site rehabilitation care for penguins that are sick, starving or wounded.

The Penguin Place conservation project is a private effort, founded in 1985 by Howard McGrouther when there were just eight breeding pairs of Yellow Eyed Penguins on the property. The colony peaked in 1996 with 36 breeding pairs; since then numbers have declined and nesting pairs fluctuate from year to year.

Yellow-eyed PenguinTOUR INFORMATION
The penguin tour begins with a short talk outlining the issues Yellow Eyed Penguins are facing, their lifecycle and how the Penguin Place conservation project is carried out. A short bus trip over the farm takes small groups to the reserve. While in the reserve, your guide will lead you on foot through a unique system of covered trenches and into viewing hides. These hides allow access to the living areas and breeding grounds of this shy penguin, providing the opportunity to witness and photograph undisturbed activity at close range.
Participants need to be comfortable on their feet as it is a walking tour. Over the hour, a maximum of 900 metres will be covered.

Summer (October – March)
Tours begin at 10:15am and run throughout the day until late afternoon.
Winter (April – September)
Tours from 3:15pm onwards; times vary slightly due to shorter daylight hours and variable fishing conditions.
Winter (April - September)
Tours depart every 30 minutes from 3:15pm until 4:45
Reservations are essential

Telephone: +64 3 478 0286
Fax: +64 3 478 0257
Postal address: Harington Point Road, RD 2, Otago Peninsula.

Yellow-eyed Penguin

  • You are invited to take as many photographs as you like unless your tour guide asks you not too.
  • Please do not use flash under any circumstances as they may harm the light sensitive eyes of the penguins and can scare them away.
  • We recommend the use of 400 ISO/ ASA film available in our souvenir shop.
  • Please stay with your guide at all times and talk as little and as quietly as you can so that you don't frighten the birds.
  • But most importantly, enjoy the penguins!


Yellow-eyed Penguins (Megadyptes antipodes) were called Hoiho ("noise-shouter") by the Maori. They are 65 - 70cm tall, the third tallest penguin and weigh between 5 and 6 kg. They can reach the age of 20 - 25 years (oldest known penguin was 32 years) but average life expectancy is closer to 12 - 15 years. Yellow-eyed Penguins gain their names from their yellow iris and the characteristic yellow head band. They only live in New Zealand and they are one of the rarest penguins in the world with a total population of about 4000-5000 individuals. About one-quarter of these live on the east coast of the South Island and Stewart Island. Most of them live on Campbell and Auckland Islands, about 600 km to the south. The Yellow-eyed Penguin is different from other penguins in many aspects of its biology and it is the only penguin species that does not become tame. They originally nested in the coastal forest, but their distribution is now restricted to forest remnants and coastal shrubs after extensive logging during the last 150 years.

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