Moeraki Lighthouse

Get close to rare yellow-eyed penguins without disturbing their natural habitat and see the famous Moeraki boulders from this historic lighthouse.

In continuous operation for more than 140 years, the Moeraki Lighthouse overlooks the Pacific Ocean from its vantage point at the southern tip of the Moeraki Peninsula. The lighthouse is also known as the Katiki Point Lighthouse. Stroll along the scenic walking track past the famous Moeraki Boulders and colonies of fur seals to a cosy penguin-viewing hide that allows you to see rare yellow-eyed penguins without attracting their attention. The Moeraki Lighthouse attracts fewer visitors than many of the other beaches of Otago that seals and penguins visit, making it an ideal destination to observe them if you want to avoid crowds.

Start your walk at the end of Lighthouse Road, in view of the historic lighthouse. Still in operation, the Moeraki Lighthouse has been unmanned since 1975. Today the lighthouse keeper's house is used as a penguin rehabilitation centre for injured and sick birds. The reserve that houses the lighthouse is located 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) from the village or Moeraki and is the site of a Māori fort. Look through the reserve to find remnants of food pits from the Māori village that once occupied the space.

Follow the walking track to reach the edge of the beach and come face-to-face with the colony of fur seals that often relax on its shores. Access to the sand is not permitted here to protect the diverse wildlife that call it home. Continue along the track to reach the wooden hide that will provide you with shelter as you watch yellow-eyed penguins march up the beach. Visit at dusk or sunrise for the best viewing.

Complete the entire track in just 20 minutes. If you want to spend time watching the animals, plan for an hour or more.

Afterwards, visit the famous Moeraki Boulders and the Moeraki township for a meal or drinks with a view of the ocean. The Moeraki Lighthouse is about a 40-minute drive south of Oamaru. Ample parking is available in the reserve. There is no fee to visit the lighthouse surroundings.