Visit the other lodge...
You are exploring...

See Penguins

Tawaki - the Fiordland Crested Penguin

Tawaki, or Fiordland Crested Penguins Eudyptes pachyrhynchus can only be seen in the southwest corner of New Zealand's South Island, most easily along the Lake Moeraki coastline.


See cute Tawaki Penguins up close on the Lake Moeraki Coastline during your Wilderness Lodge stay.

Tawaki Penguins on the Lake Moeraki Coastline

Their total population is an estimated three thousand pairs. Around 10% of them are found around Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki. While much of their lives is spent navigating the open oceans, they return each year to breed in coastal rainforest between July and early December.

Join guided tours to see penguins with Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki

Tawaki Penguin

A rare rainforest nesting penguin

Watching Tawaki penguins on Moeraki's wilderness beaches is a truly special wildlife experience. These are wild creatures and this is their realm.

Walk from the lodge to Monro Beach, or join a guide to several protected sites and watch these delightful birds. Since 1989, we have offered guided trips to view penguins under a special Conservation Department guiding licence.

Imagine yourself sitting quietly on a remote coast as penguins emerge from pounding surf, hop across the sand & make their way into the rainforest...

In small groups we walk through towering rainforest to the coast and sit quietly by the shore. With eggs to incubate, followed by hungry chicks to feed, Tawaki use the beaches as thoroughfares between their nests and the Tasman Sea. Marvel at their comic antics and 'rockstar' appearance and capture that photograph of a lifetime. This is wildlife in the truest sense of the word.

View Tawaki Penguins in their natural habitat on the Lake Moeraki Coastline of New Zealand.

Tawaki - The Rainforest Penguin

Uniquely among penguins, tawaki choose to nest beneath temperate rainforest

Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki is intimately involved in protecting the penguins and works closely with the Department of Conservation. Our trips are carefully run with and do everything possible not to disturb these birds. In 1994 the Wilderness Lodge ran a successful campaign to establish a Wildlife Refuge to protect penguin colonies from domestic dogs and ever since has patrolled the coast to ensure the area is kept dog-free. We also control introduced predators such as rats and stoats (weasel family) and monitor penguin breeding. The Wilderness Lodge is the only company licensed act as a guide to certain sensitive sites.

Photographers will find themselves captivated by these endearing birds

Those keen on photography may be interested in a day of Exclusive Guiding tailored around weather, lighting and tides to give you the best opportunities to capture these wonderful birds through your lens.

Please feel free to contact us with any specific questions.

Tawaki Penguin Info Sheet - Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki

Watching wild penguins with Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki, New Zealand

  • “Stunning spot to relax & explore nature”

    The guides were wonderful and so willing to answer questions. We enjoyed the beautiful trails and have a new appreciation for the flora and fauna. The lodge itself is comfy with a welcoming elegance. food was delicious and staff pleasant and accommodating. I would return in a heartbeat.

  • “Penguins, fine food and family.”

    Myself, husband, adult children and partners had a rendezvous at the lodge. We joined the guided activities and also did our own thing. Each night we had gourmet meals and laughed a lot. If that wasn't enough we also got to see the tawaki penguins. Truly a holiday I will never forget.

  • “Holiday within a holiday.”

    The Wilderness Lodge is a unique holiday experience . Lovely rooms with very friendly and helpful staff. Excellent meals. Lots of activities from kayaking, to walking forest trails to trips with an expert guide. The hosts are excellent, very knowledgeable and committed to environmental work.


map logo

Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki is located on the South Island’s West Coast between the Glaciers and Wanaka/Queenstown. It is a comfortable 5.5 hours drive from Wilderness Lodge Arthur’s Pass and 3.5 hours from Queenstown Airport. We have driving notes available for the journey north or south.

Get Directions  or   Learn More
map logo

Wilderness Lodge Arthur’s Pass is located on Highway 73 between Christchurch and the West Coast. It is less than 2 hours drive from Christchurch and the towns of Greymouth & Hokitika and a comfortable 5.5 hours to Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki. The TranzAlpine train stops in Arthur’s Pass and transfers to/from the lodge are available.

Get Directions  or   Learn More

Getting Here

Find your way
  • map logo
  • map logo