My Search for The Rarest Penguins in the World

Penguins are hella cute. You know it, I know it, and the entire world knows it. During my trip to the South Island of New Zealand a few weeks ago, one of my main goals was to catch these little critters in their natural habitat.

Penguin Beach

There are some options to pay for a tour to see the tiny fairy penguins in a protected colony, but I wasn’t after just any penguin though. I was looking for the one on the back of the New Zealand $5 note, the rarest in the world, the super-hero-looking Yellow-Eyed Penguin.

Yellow Eyed Penguin 1

There are a few known spots around the east coast where they are sometimes spotted. We rolled the dice on a spot just south of the town of Oamaru, near the Moaraki Boulders.

Penguin Scratching Himself

There are very few signs and if it wasn’t for the iSite Center in town, we might have never found it. Here is a map of what you are looking for or you can search for the Katiki Point Lighthouse on Google Maps. From here there are signs.

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In all, we spotted 5 penguins, and a ton a seals. Three of the penguins were near each other and the last one was on his own but within about two meters of us. You definitely should keep your distance as they are wild animals and you shouldn’t bother their natural habitat. All in all though, probably one of the most memorable things we did in an already amazing trip.

Yellow Eyed Penguin 5

What's going on here?
What’s going on here?
The second penguin that showed himself!
The second penguin that showed himself!

Seals and Penguins

Two Penguins

 

Being in New Zealand has made me a bit of a bird nut. Check out my search for Pukekos.

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Julio Moreno

Julio is a California native who has lived abroad since 2009 as an expat in South Korea and New Zealand. He is especially passionate about experiencing other cultures and visiting as many UNESCO World Heritage Sites as possible.
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