Dusky dolphin. © Jason Pratt Creative Commons

Long Island/Kokomahua Marine Reserve

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Tucked away in the Marlborough Sounds, Long and Kokomahua islands are nestled inside the entrance to Queen Charlotte Sound.

They are attached to each other by a largely submerged reef, which surrounds and extends northeast from Kokomahua Island for almost 500 metres.

Northeast of Kokomahua Island several rocky pinnacles rise to just below the surface from relatively deep water. Here you can see schools of fish such as butterfly perch and tarakihi, and the occasional rock lobster.

Large blue cod are abundant in the reserve and show little fear of divers, frequently biting fingers and anything else that catches their eye.

Blue Cod in the Long Island Marine Reserve

Blue Cod. © Helen Kettles DOC

Bring your mask and snorkel to explore the rocks close to shore. The best scuba diving is at 15 metres depth, on the reefs along the north-facing shore of Long Island and around Kokomahua Islands.

If you just want to relax and hang out on shore, there are several sandy beaches.

You may see a shag patiently drying its wings in the sun, or an oystercatcher wrestling with an unfortunate mussel.

Black-backed gull and Caspian terns are also in abundance here.

If you have a kayak with you, take a trip around the islands. You may see dolphins (common, bottlenose, dusky and the rare Hector’s). Seals visit too, particularly during winter. 


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