Penguins on Stewart Island

Caring for Murihiku

Wildlife Care Code

Murihiku Southland is home to a variety of unique species, including penguins, sea lions, and seals, and it's crucial to respect their habitats and behaviours. Help us protect our rare wildlife for future generations by following these guidelines.

Wildlife Care Code

Wildlife Distance

Sea Lions and other seals: Southland is home to the rare and endangered New Zealand sea lions. Please keep a safe distance of at least 20m from these animals and refrain from disturbing them. If you need to pass them on the beach, keep as much distance as possible and do not linger. These creatures can move quickly, so back off if they react and do not block their path to the water. Additionally, sea lions can bite, so avoid getting too close.

Penguins: Yellow-eyed penguins are endangered and rare, and Southland is one of the few places in the world where they can be found. It's essential to keep at least 50m away from these shy creatures and ensure they can't see you. Do not block their entry and exit from the water, and never approach a nest. Also, avoid using flash photography or bringing dogs near them.

Drones: The use of drones is prohibited in many sensitive areas of Southland and can require a permit elsewhere. If you plan to fly a drone, check the Department of Conservation (DOC) website for information and permit requirements. Note that it's an offence to fly drones within 150m of marine mammals (or 300m vertically above).

Walking Tracks: When walking in Southland, stay on marked tracks, as many cross private land. Ensure you stay within barriers and avoid damaging plants or breeding wildlife. Additionally, it's important to leave sheep alone and not disturb their grazing areas.

Freedom Camping: There are designated freedom camping sites, campgrounds and holiday parks in Murihiku. Please use them as $200 fines will apply for illegal camping.

Public amenities: Help keep Murihiku beautiful and clean by respecting the public amenities. 

Public Toilets: When using public toilets, please ensure that you leave them clean and tidy for the next user. Dispose of any sanitary products in the provided bins, and do not flush them down the toilet. Keep in mind that some public toilets may not have running water, so consider bringing your own hand sanitiser.

Rubbish Bins: To help keep Murihiku clean and litter-free, please dispose of any waste in the designated bins. If you cannot find a bin nearby, please take your rubbish with you until you can properly dispose of it.

Fires: Fires are not advisable in Murihiku and are often banned under seasonal restrictions. Before lighting a fire, check the seasonal restrictions in the area to ensure it is allowed. Even if fires are permitted, make sure you do not leave them unattended and that you extinguish them properly.

By following these guidelines and respecting the public amenities, you can help keep Murihiku clean and beautiful for everyone to enjoy.

If you come across sick or injured wildlife, report it immediately by calling 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).

Poaching is illegal in Southland, and you can report marine poaching by calling 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224).

Thank you for helping us protect Southland's precious wildlife. By following these guidelines, you can help preserve these unique species for generations to come.


Murihiku Southland

Mindful Travel