An Emperor Penguin stands on a beach on Kapiti coast June 20, 2011. The bird's arrival, the second ever recorded according to New Zealand's Department of Conservation, has caught the public's attention as Emperor Penguins usually live in Antarctica, more than 3,000 Km (1,864 miles) away.

Wildlife experts are astonished at the appearance of an Emperor Penguin in New Zealand, some 3000 kilometers (1,900 miles) from his Antarctic home.

Penguins are no strangers to New Zealand beaches. The country has several species including the rare yellow-eyed Hoiho and the common blue or Little Penguin. Yet an emperor penguin has not swum up on these shores since 1967.

The juvenile male arrived at a beach on the Kapati Coast, 40km (25 miles) north of the capital Wellington on the North Island.

Peter Simpson of the Department of Conservation (DOC) said he did not initially believe reports that the wayward bird was an Emperor Penguin, the largest species of the distinctive waddling creatures, which can grow up to 1.15 meters tall.

At first I thought it must have been some sort of seal but we went and checked it out and to our immense surprise it did indeed turn out to be an Emperor Penguin, he told Australia's ABC.

Mr Simpson said the bird appeared to be in good health and was taking regular swims to cool down in the relative warmth of the New Zealand climate.

At this time of year he should be sitting on the sea ice in Antarctica in 24-hour darkness, he said.

They go out to sea to feed in the Antarctic summer and this one, he's a juvenile and it's his first time out, so it looks like he's gone a long way out and got lost.

Given that it is now midwinter in Antarctica and return travel would be difficult, it seems the young Emperor Penguin may have to extend his vacation.

Watch video footage of the Emporer Penguin on New Zealand's North Island: