Bicheno Penguin Tours was established in 1992 by Paul Male and Nic Wardlaw. After moving to Bicheno in the 1980s, they were inspired by the town's values of nature, community, and fun. Their mission was to create a unique experience that would allow visitors to witness the natural beauty of the area while fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of the local native wildlife.
In the early 1990s, the local penguin colony in Bicheno was under significant threat from repeated dog attacks, due to a lack of awareness about the damage roaming pets can have on native wildlife. Witnessing the devastation firsthand, Paul Male and Nic Wardlaw were motivated to establish a business model centred on the protection of nature. Drawing on Nic's experience as a teacher and Paul's background in landscaping, they recognised the potential for education and land management to revive the dwindling penguin population, which had dropped to just 40.
Over the years, Bicheno Penguin Tours has played a critical role in safeguarding the penguin colony by monitoring their activity around the clock and responding to any threats to their wellbeing. As part of this protection model, we have collaborated with local farmers to acquire land that was previously used as paddock space and restore it to penguin habitat. This effort has not only allowed the penguin population to recover but also enabled multiple generations of penguins to thrive in the area.