Timaru's penguins

Where to see the penguins

Caroline Bay has a resident rookery of kororā/ little penguins, nesting among the rocks from October to March.  At 40cm they are the smallest penguins in the world, reaching speeds of up to 6kph underwater.  They come ashore after sunset, so dress warmly and wait quietly on the footpath or adjacent beach outside the barriers.

Best time to see the penguins

A good place to view the kororā is Marine Parade, which is lit by the port security lights. They’re very noisy – so you’ll probably hear them before you see them.

Dog ban between October and March

Dogs aren’t allowed at Caroline Bay between October and March, during the penguins’ vulnerable breeding and molting seasons.

Please keep your distance and let these little locals go about their business undisturbed.  Their numbers are declining so we need to respect their habitat to keep them returning.  Stay off the rocks and keep your dogs away.  And please do not use light sources such as your camera flash or video light.

For more information head here.

Our coastal location means other cool sea creatures live in and around Timaru.

If you walk our coastal tracks be sure to keep your eyes out for a resident population of Hector's Dolphins.  They can often be seen off Caroline Bay and Patiti Point.  They have been known to swim into the bay and hang out with our junior sailors!

You're also likely to see seals, sea lions and other species of penguin on our rocky coastline.  You'll also see whales migrating past at certain times of the year..  In 2019 a pod of orca were seen off Patiti Point and they swam right into Caroline Bay!