20 Rankers Reviews
7 Penguin Watching
Fiordland crested penguins hang out here. We are the reasons their numbers are in serious decline. Be respectful, note the advice on the signs. And KEEP YOUR DISTANCE.
Penguins are most likely to be present between July and September.
Monro Beach is signposted near the southern end of Lake Monowai, just after crossing the Moeraki River. This is 85 km from Fox Glacier and 5.5 km from the Knights Point summit lookout.
There is a parking area and toilet.
After crossing the swingbridge over the stream, the track shortly meets a 4WD road before re-entering coastal rainforest. It is a gentle descent to a secluded beach.
This is the haunt of Fiordland crested penguins (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus). Most noteworthy for the broad yellow stripe which protrudes from the nostril to the back of the head like an exaggerated eyebrow that has had an electric current passed through it.
They sound primeval with braying, hissing and growling noises.
They only breed in the south of the South Island and Stewart Island, in isolated places away from disturbance. They are by-nature antisocial, so don’t try and be their friend. They simply don’t care and probably find your presence both an annoyance and major inconvenience.
Following breeding they head to sea to put on mass before their annual moult, usually around February. This is a pain for them, as they are land-bound during this time and an easy target for illness and predation. They lose half their body weight and are so disturbed by this unfortunate evolutionary hiccup that they have to go fishing for several months after to regain sanity.
South Island ▷ West Coast ▷ Haast
Showing 13 reviews of 19.
Way to the beach through a rainforest was really interesting. Took lots of photos there. Unfortunately we did not see any of the penguins, but saw a seal puppy.
It was pouring when we went and the penguins were not there, but the walk was pretty lovely even raining.
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Found this by sheer luck. We thought this was near Knights Point, but you have to actually drive a couple of miles down the road where the Monro Beach Walk sign is on the left. Allow plenty of time for the return walk. We are reasonably fit and this took approximately 45mins each way - not including time on the beach looking for penguins! We did see a few Fjordland Crested penguins arrive back on the beach from feeding around 6pm, which definitely made the walk worthwhile despite the masses of sandflies on the beach. Recommend that you take binoculars for the best viewing experience. Please be respectful to the penguins and keep your distance if you see them. Camera zoom will pick up the detail when you get home :)
Easy access, beautiful walk through the forest. The beach is very nice, even without penguins.
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Simple walk through beautiful rainforest to a beautiful long beach. Penguins supposedly there but we did not come at the right time - even so was worth it!
2 hour walk with many bird sounds - wonderful.
Lovely walk through rain forest, did not see penguins on the beach but thousands of sandflies (only on the beach, not on the walk).
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Manuela and Thomas
40km North of Haast. Very nice track to the beach through forest.
Abee and Suess
Nice walk (1.5hours return) to a wild, beautiful coast scene and in the end we saw six penguins!! Very easy to go and there were not so many people!!
Pleasant walk thru the forest to the beach. We saw quite a few penguins walking back to their nest sites from the ocean - although from a bit of a distance. Very enjoyable visit.
Rainforest walk to a beautiful beach - saw glowworms in the dark!!
Nick & Adele Waller
1/2 hour walk through rainforest to a small lagoon and back along the beach. Lovely walk and great place to have lunch.
Beautiful, hanging bridge and many plants.
Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍