Off the Beaten Track to... Long Island-Kokomohua Marine Reserve
The Marlborough Sounds at the north of the South Island are a sinuous network of drowned river valleys, forming one of New Zealand's most distinctive land and seascapes. The Marlborough Sounds are made up by the Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru and Pelorus Sounds.
This area is popular with visitors, particularly for those travelling between the North and South Islands. However, well worth a detour – especially for conservationists – is the South Island's first marine reserve. This is found in the Marlborough Sounds - the Long Island-Kokomohua Marine Reserve, which was established in 1993. A boat trip to the reserve is an inspired way to enjoy the extraordinary scenery of the Marlborough Sounds. If you are lucky, from the water you will see seals, penguins and seabirds.
Organised cruises and boat hire can be arranged in Picton for a variety of activities in the Marlborough Sounds.
Things To Do on Long lsland-Kokomohua Marine Reserve
- View the wildlife from the water. You may see dolphins (common, bottlenose, dusky and the rare Hector's dolphin) and seals particularly during the winter.
- Enjoy birdwatching – Gannets, terns, gulls, little blue penguin, shearwater or King shags are all commonly spotted.
- Go snorkelling on the reef systems along the north-facing shore of North Island, around Kokomohua Islands and the charted rock further north. The best diving is at depths of up to 15 metres. This is the best way to experience the reserve and view its inhabitants.
- Dive down to enjoy a variety of underwater habitats and inhabitants such as reefs, cliffs, canyons and sand flats teeming with seaweed, sea squirts, anemone, sponges, sea urchins and shellfish.
- Picnicking and swimming at the flat landing area.
- Watching the oyster catchers, black-backed gulls, shags and Caspian terns.
Useful Marlborough Sounds Links
To help plan your holiday in the Marlborough Sounds region choose from the main categories below:
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