Photo Credit: Mike Bordignon - Wikipedia
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There are many recreational opportunities and places of interest to visit in the area. Hahei and Cathedral Cove beaches provide safe swimming as long as you remember to observe the usual rules.
There are several scenic tracks on land adjacent to the reserve, including the Cathedral Cove Walk which gives access to Gemstone Bay, Stingray Bay and the beautiful sandy beaches at Cathedral Cove separated by a natural rock arch.
Foot access to the Cathedral Cove car park is at the western end of Hahei Beach and vehicle access is up Grange Road (turn left past shops and go all the way to end of Grange Road). Foot access to Te Pare Point Historic Reserve is at the eastern end of Hahei Beach or by vehicle along Pa Road (turn first right on entering Hahei).
Cathedral Cove Walk
Take a trip to Cathedral Cove to view some of New Zealandâ€™s most spectacular coastal scenery. The track leads down to Gemstone and Stingray Bays as well as Cathedral Cove.
Snorkel trail installed early 2004
The snorkelling opportunities in Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve are outstanding, especially at Gemstone Bay and the western side of Mahurangi Island. In early 2004 a snorkel trail was installed at Gemstone Bay. Four marker buoys with information panels depicting which species inhabit each area are anchored from 50 to 165 m offshore. For example at buoy three, snorkellers can expect to see marblefish, butterfish and red moki hiding in a seaweed city. The position of each buoy coincides with different habitats within the bay.
Sea kayaking allows you to explore the area in more depth. Bring you own kayak or rent one from a local commercial operator.
Much of the reserve is suitable for diving, the sponge gardens and reef systems are of particular interest. Crayfish and black angel fish hide in the cracks and crevices of reefs such as those around Mahurangi Island. In the large boulder fields near Motueka Island curious schools of sweep may follow divers.
Delicate corals, usually found at depth, are close to the surface in Poikeke Island cave. Closer to shore, brittle starfish might be found on rocky platforms and red moki graze amid forests of seaweed. Predators, like the leather-jacket at the top of the food chain pick their food from a range of smaller animals.
Taking fish or other marine life from a marine reserve is prohibited. Take care to avoid damaging underwater features and no souvenir hunting!
Boating is permitted in the reserve but you must take care if anchoring. Waste, ballast and sewerage must not be discharge within the reserve. Observe the speed limit of five knots within 30 metres of other vessels or people in the water and within 200 metres of the shore or any vessel flying a diver flag.
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