Pohatu Penguins

Pohatu Penguins

Pohatu Penguins


14 Rankers Reviews

6 Face-to-Face

18 Bird Watching

13 Sea Kayaking

6 Penguin Watching

6 Banks Peninsula

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2 white flippered penguin chicks ready to go back at sea


Come on a tour to some of the most stunning back road of Banks peninsula and discover the area's rich history, native fauna and flora an Pohatu's unique penguin conservation program. We have over 1200 breeding pairs of Little penguins.

Pohatu Penguins is a family-run business with a long standing history of protecting the Korora (Little Penguin). The colony survival is accredited to Shireen and Francis Helps whom have cared for the penguins for 30+ years.

When the Helps first began their conservation work the penguins faced massive challenges that threatened their very existence. These challenges included predation via introduced predators such as dogs, cats, ferrets and stoats, gill net fishing and other human disturbances. Colonies around Banks Peninsula declined at an alarming rate and most disappeared altogether. Through predator trapping, monitoring, rehabilitation and immense dedication the Helps have stabilized the Pohatu Colony - and it continues to grow!

In addition to their penguin conservation work the Helps family have also, for many years, protected native forests and other endemic species. Their dedication is an inspiring example of what one family can do and they have won many awards for their work in penguin and habitat conservation and also helped found the award-winning Wildside Conservation Project. To this day, the Helps family continue to be leaders in conservation!

Their efforts continue to be fully self-funded via Pohatu Penguins’ tours so when purchasing a tour you help our Little Korora!

Join one of our tour and learn of the conservation work we do to save this endangered species. See penguins up close, feed our friendly pet sheep, spot many other native wildlife and take photos of our beautiful coastal scenery, getting to have a real unique kiwi experience.

From 2 hour Nature tours to our 24 hour Pohatu package including accommodation or for the more adventurous our sea-kayaking safari seeing a seal colony and other marine wildlife, we are with you from the beginning to the end.

All tours leave from our office in the historic French village of Akaroa.
You will be transported by 4WD mini-vans over the hills of Akaroa extinct volcano to many view points along the way for photo opportunities. You will stand at 700 meters altitude on the crater rim where you will have a 360 degres view from the entire Akaroa harbor to the endless beauty of the Pacific Ocean all around.

Monitoring of penguins nesting sites (in season) will allow you to get up close and personnel giving you a very good opportunity for photos.

For more information visit our website: www.pohatu.co.nz and if you have any questions feel free to get in touch by e-mail or phone (details on our “Contact us” page).


Feature Value Info


Pohatu Penguins

Commercial organisation


South IslandCanterburyBanks Peninsula


  • Bird Watching
  • Sea Kayaking
  • Penguin Watching

Operating Season And Hours

We are operating all year long.


Showing 8 reviews of 14.

A. Mullins 's avatar

A. Mullins

Ranking: 9/10

The evening walk: Pohatu thoroughly prioritises the penguins. A whole-hearted conservation effort that is making a difference. Their monetary input comes solely from tourists. It’s a gorgeous set-up. See the penguin houses, some of which have penguins in them. The roofs are lifted so that they can be monitored for food status and hydration. As a tourist, this means you get to see them tucked up and snuggling in together. Binoculars are provided to view them coasting in groups together, waiting for night to fall so they can come up on the beach. We could not see them come on to the beach , as our presence would have disrupted them too much, ad they were catching our scent on the wind. A brilliant tour, with guides that thoroughly respect the penguins, as well as a great cause. Support the penguins by supporting this group!

Reviewed almost 2 years ago

From DK's avatar

From DK

Ranking: 9/10

Enjoyed the trip very much

Reviewed over 3 years ago

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Susanne's avatar



Ranking: 10/10

Amazing visionaries and nature lovers have created the penguin reserve. So much true love and care for nature. Eco tourism at its best.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in January 2017

Pohatu Penguins responds:

Hi Susanne,

Thank you very much for your nice review.
You have very nicely explained who we are and why we operate; for the love of Nature and sharing our history. Proving that anyone can do something with the right motivation.
I hope you have enjoyed the rest of your time in Akaroa.

Rosieposie8's avatar


United Kingdom

Ranking: 10/10

We spent two nights in cottage in idyllic location and got to see lots of pengiuns up close and coming up the rocks in the evening. Kids really enjoyed it all too. The staff were friendly and knowledgeable. Whilst kayaking we saw dolphins and seals too, again they came really close to us so it was fantastic. Overall very good value trip and felt pretty isolated and wild but only a short trip from Christchurch.

Reviewed over 7 years ago

Philip Schumann's avatar

Philip Schumann


Ranking: 10/10

Had a 48 hour package, well worth the money, clean and nice beach, good penguin tour, saw some in the 'get well' station and wild ones at dusk. Little Blue and Yellow Eyed. Great guided sea kayaking, saw penguins and seals! The bush walk is very very beautiful with a waterfall and swimming hole.

Reviewed over 7 years ago and experienced in March 2014

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Markus Eckert's avatar

Markus Eckert


Ranking: 10/10

Good value for money. Great scenic drive, very beautiful bush walk, clean and spacious, great penguin tour (saw Little Blue, Yellow Eyed in care and in the wild), great guide sea kayaking tour, beautiful surroundings.

Reviewed over 7 years ago and experienced in March 2014

Richard Lechevallier's avatar

Richard Lechevallier


Ranking: 10/10

A lot of explanations about penguins and also about flowers and animals and landscape.

Reviewed over 10 years ago and experienced in November 2011

pepette31's avatar



Ranking: 10/10

Really exceeded our expectations - the conservation work done by Shireen's family on their land is remarkable and should be an example to other NZ land owners. The drive to Flea's Bay is incredibly scenic and we enjoyed great views of the little penguins AND one yellow-eyed penguin (without forgetting the seals).

Reviewed almost 11 years ago