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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.


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.

Bushy Beach Track overlooks the coastal scrub habitat of yellow-eyed penguin/hoiho, little penguin/kororā, sooty shearwater/tītī and shags. From a platform you can see New Zealand fur seals/kekeno on the rocks below. Carry on further to the hide to get the best viewing of penguins.

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

Place overview


  • Bird and wildlife watching
  • Walking and tramping
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      About this place

      Nature and conservation

      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

      Bushy Beach from viewing platform. Photo: Catherine Warren.
      Bushy Beach from viewing platform.

      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
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