Bushy Beach from viewing platform
Image: Enrique Fernández | Creative Commons

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Experience the natural coastal habitat of yellow-eyed penguins/hoiho, and watch penguins from the viewing hide as they cross the beach.

Place overview


  • Bird and wildlife watching
  • Walking and tramping

Find things to do Bushy Beach Scenic Reserve

About track difficulties

Bird watching

View birds and wildlife from a viewing platform and hide. 

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    About this place

    Nature and conservation

    The natural coastal vegetation at Bushy Beach Scenic Reserve is the last remaining in the area. Wind-sheared scrub, dominated by hebe, ngaio, mahoe and broadleaf, clings to the cliffs and shelters penguins, and other seabirds, and a variety of insects.

    A unique flora and fauna exists here, because a number of native plants and insects are at either their southern or northern geographical limit.  

    The oldest known fossil remains of a tuatara in New Zealand were found here on this geologically fascinating headland.

    New Zealand sea lions and elephant seals are occasional visitors to this beach.

    Cape Wanbrow is a mix of volcanic and sedimentary rock features that are internationally significant. Pillow lava surge deposits and volcaniclastic sediments and breccias form steep cliffs with rocky platforms below.

    Getting there

    Turn off SH1 at the historic city centre of Oamaru. Follow Tyne Street south up to South Hill. Near the top of the hill turn right onto Bushy Beach Road and follow to the end.

    Know before you go

    To avoid disturbing the penguins, keep off the beach at all times from November to March. Adult penguins return to feed their young at any time of the day.

    You may access the beach between 9 am and 3 pm. Penguins cross the beach before 9 am and after 3 pm.

    There are no toilet facilities at Bushy Beach.


    Dunedin Office
    Phone:   +64 3 477 0677
    Address:   77 Lower Stuart Street
    Conservation House
    Email:   dunedinoffice@doc.govt.nz
    Full office details
    Dunedin Visitor Centre
    Phone:   +64 3 474 3300
    Address:   50 The Octagon
    Email:   dunedinvc@doc.govt.nz
    Full office details
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