The beautiful Horoirangi Marine Reserve lies north of Nelson city, along the eastern side of Tasman Bay. The reserve is a great place for walking, exploring the intertidal zone, snorkelling, diving, kayaking and boating.
The bluffs overlooking Horoirangi Marine Reserve are more than a dramatic landscape – they are also the source of rocks for the rugged boulder reefs below. The reefs extend offshore up to 400m and to a depth of around 20m.
The reefs support a typical array of animals. Shellfish, anemones, sponges and sea squirts cling to the rocks; snails, starfish and crustaceans move secretively amongst the boulders and various fish patrol above.
Ambush starfish are unusually common in Horoirangi, and their colours provide a sharp contrast to the subdued hues of the rocks and most of the other reef species.
A climb up Cable Bay Walkway through the neighbouring farmland will reward you with expansive views over Horoirangi and out across Tasman Bay.
A walk along the Nelson Boulder Bank is also worth the effort, though be prepared for windy conditions and rough, ankle-testing rocks.
For bird watchers, variable oystercatchers and blue penguins nest along the rocky shoreline. Over winter, spotted shags roost on the rocky crags at Ataata Point.