White daisy anenomes. © Anna Barnett Creative Commons

Horoirangi Marine Reserve

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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.

Yellow sponge at Hiroirangi Marine Reserve

Yellow sponge at Horoirangi Marine Reserve © Anna Barnett  Creative Commons

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.


Hiroirangi Boulder Bank

Boulder Bank. © Christopher John SSF Creative Commons

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.

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