Rare Fiordland Crested Penguins or ‘Tawaki’ have arrived in Milford Sound for the nesting season, delighting visitors and nature guides aboard Encounter Cruises operated by Southern Discoveries.
The rare sea birds were spotted this week by Encounter Cruise Nature Guide Sara Walker who is thrilled to see the birds back for the breeding season.
“The Tawaki are an icon of Fiordland and one of the rarest penguins in the world. They’re making their homes in the aptly named Penguin Cove and will most likely remain here until November when their chicks will be ready to head out to sea.
“It’s very exciting to spot them and to know how rare and special they are. It’s always a highlight of our trips for visitors when we seem them up close and personal in their natural environment. ”
Visitors on the Encounter Cruise have a very good chance of seeing the distinctive penguins over the next few months as the vessel passes Penguin Cove on its way to the entrance to Milford Sound.
“The Encounter Cruise is a fantastic experience where people can get really close to nature. We’re very aware of our natural environment and work hard to make sure we gently view wildlife activity without disturbing it,” says Ms Walker.
“My job aboard the Encounter Cruise is to introduce people to the majestic surroundings and explain some of the wonders of the local flora and fauna, so an experience like this really is the icing on the cake.”
Southern Discoveries is passionate about preserving Milford Sound’s beauty for future generations and works hard to ensure visitors leave with an understanding and respect for the wild environment. The company is also a key partner in a major Sinbad Sanctuary conservation project in Milford Sound for which it recently won an environment award.