By KiwiKellz at Diary of my so called interesting life
The Penguin Place is situated at the end of the picturesque Otago Pennisula. A private reserve set up to provide a habitat and breeding ground for the rare yellow eyed penguin.
The Penguin Place is at the more expensive end of the tourist activity price scale, but it's worth it though. The entry fee goes towards maintenance, the running of the reserve and also the bird hospital onsite (which you get to view on the tour). The park is set up to allow good viewing of the penguins in their habitat without disturbing them. The reserve's owners have dug out a system of trenches and tunnels winding through the park, with viewing platforms at prime nesting sites. You are taken up over farm-land in a small tour bus and then walk down hill to the trenches. In total the tour takes about an hour, with a short talk in the beginning about the penguins life-cycle before heading out on the short bus ride.
The day we went (end of March) was mid-way through the moult, where the penguins shed their old feathers and gain a new coat, which means they were all on-shore as they're not waterproof during this time. At other times of the year you see more of the penguins entering/exiting the water & may also see chicks. The Penguin Place is closed over the winter months as the penguins are off at sea fishing, to return in the spring for breeding/nesting.
The guides are all very friendly, with a great sense of humour, and a wealth of knowledge about the penguins, their habits and lifecycle. They also know a great deal about other local wildlife and are only too happy to share it with you. We also saw a couple of fur seals and a morepork while on our tour.
This is a great place to take older children (5+), but not so much for the littlies. The park itself isn't really set up for younger kids with lots of walking, some stairs and the turrrets are narrow in places, so not pram-friendly. Not to mention the having to stay quiet in the tunnels so as not to disturb the birds. But for older children it's a neat experience, my 9 year old loved it and was constantly talking about the trip.
So if you find yourself in Dunedin take a drive out to the Penguin Place, it's worth the trip.
Harington Point Rd, RD 2
Otago Peninsula Dunedin
Otago Peninsula Dunedin
64 3 478 0286