“One of the most iconic landforms on the Otago Coast.”
This Department of Conservation Wildlife Reserve at Nugget Point has dramatic views of “The Nuggets.” These wave-eroded rocks, which are likened to the shape of gold nuggets, can be seen from the viewing platform at the Nugget Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1869-70, is 9.5 metres high and situated 76 metres above sea level.
The walk from the car park is 20 minutes (one way). Along the way you may see the fur seal colony on the rocks at sea level to the left of the track and also below the lighthouse, or the many seabirds that make The Nuggets their home. During the months of December – February elephant seals also make The Nuggets their stopover point.
Roaring Bay, which is on the road to Nugget Point, is only a short walk (15 minutes one way) from the car park to a bird-viewing hide. Yellow eyed penguins can be seen here as they move from the sea to their nesting places in coastal vegetation. These shy birds are best viewed late in the afternoon when they come ashore after fishing at sea. Yellow eyed penguins (hoiho) are one of the rarest penguins in the world and they are unique to New Zealand and the sub-Antarctic islands.
Nugget Point was awesome! We went in early November. There wasn’t a lot of people around. We were able to spot sea lions lounging on the rocks below too!
The absolute BEST time to visit to visit Nugget Pt is near 5-6pm, when the local Yellow-eyed penguins return to their nests in the little bay below Nugget Pt. This bay—Roaring Bay— gets its name from the ever-present wind, so come prepared. Roaring Bay supports a healthy population of YEPs that hop ashore and then waddle up to their nests every afternoon. There’s a Hide building on the hill above the bay which provides a nice sheltered view of where the penguins come ashore—bring binoculars.
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