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Onetahuti & Tonga Island Marine Reserve – Things to Do

Abel Tasman National Park, Takaka

Hike or boat into Onetahuti beach and campgrounds. You are camping metres from the high tide mark. The white glittering sandy beach is a favourite place for photographers to capture the sunset over the forested hills with the perfect curved beach in the foreground.


A newly constructed wooden boardwalk invites visitors to continue northwards towards Awaroa.



Wildlife bonanza for visitors with seals, marine birds and marine creatures easily visible in the crystal clear water. 


The seal population is clearly visible on the Tonga Island rocks hinting at the rich marine world beneath.  The sea is a healthy environment supporting red rock crabs, crayfish, snapper, hermits and kina.

Tonga Island Marine reserve, New Zealand @DOC / Helen Kettles
Tonga Island Marine Reserve

Snorkelers will find the best spots to dive are between Tonga Quarry and Foul Point. Scuba diving hot spots are round the Tonga Island reef.

Kayakers will often see little blue penguins along this coast and may occasionally be rewarded with an encounter with a pod of dolphins.

Little Blue Penguins, Caroline Bay, New Zealand @timarupenguinsredone
Little Blue Penguins @timarupenguinsredone

There are numerous guided tour operators in the area.


Kayak guides and boat skippers have become experts in identifying movement around the marine reserve, and will often point out little blue penguins, shags, gannets and dolphins when they make an occasional appearance in the area.


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