1 current alert for Long Island - Kokomohua Marine Reserve Read details...

11 March 2015: High wasp numbers in Marlborough

Be aware of the potential of wasp nests along the tracks and around amenity areas and campsites. Always carry antihistamine and especially an epipen if you are allergic to wasp stings. Carry a reliable means of communication such as a mobile or locator beacon in case you have a severe allergic reaction.


Accessible only by boat, Long Island - Kokomohua Marine Reserve offers visitors the chance to explore an environment typical of the Marlborough Sounds.


  • The Marlborough Sounds form one of New Zealand's most distinctive land and seascapes
  • Visitors will see exposed rocky reefs festooned with seaweed along Long Island’s northern coastline and the reef joining it to Kokomohua Island
  • There are also sheltered reefs dominated by urchins, paua and other grazers in the southwest, and extensive areas of sandy seafloor


Place overview


  • Bird and wildlife watching
  • Boating
  • Diving and snorkelling
  • Kayaking and canoeing
  • Swimming
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In this section

Find things to do Long Island - Kokomohua Marine Reserve

      Diving and snorkelling

      Those with a mask and snorkel could explore the rocks close to shore. Scuba diving is most rewarding on the reef systems along the north-facing shore of Long Island, and around Kokomohua Islands and the charted rock further north. The best diving is at depths of up to 15 m.

      Picnicking and swimming

      The flat landing area is ideal for picnicking and swimming, although no facilities are provided. Oyster catchers, black-backed gulls, and Caspian terns breed here – observe them from a distance so they won't be disturbed.

      There are no formed tracks on the island and foot access around the shore is difficult. However you may see a shag patiently drying its wings in the sun, or an oystercatcher wrestling with an unfortunate mussel.

      Kayaking and canoeing

      Kayakers around the islands often see dolphins (common, bottlenose, dusky and the rare Hector's). Seals visit too, particularly during winter.

      About this place

      Nature and conservation

      Long and Kokomohua 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 Kokomohua Island for almost 500 m. 

      Northeast of Kokomoua 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.

      The area covered by the marine reserve has been monitored almost continuously since March 1992, one year before it was established. Large blue cod are abundant in the reserve and show little fear of divers, frequently biting fingers and anything else that catches their eye.

      Long Island.
      Long Island

      Hector's dolphin are often seen in Queen Charlotte Sound. Photo: Erin Green.
      Hector's dolphin are often seen in Queen Charlotte Sound

      Paua in Long Island - Kokomohua Marine Reserve. Photo: Rob Davidson. DOC USE ONLY.
      Paua in Long Island - Kokomohua Marine Reserve

      Monitoring report

      This report presents data collected from Long Island-Kokomohua Marine Reserve and adjacent control sites over a period of 22 years (1992 to 2014).

      Long Island monitoring report (PDF, 2,660K)

      Know before you go

      The reserve is accessible by boat only. It is 35 km from Picton, or 30 minutes to several hours travel, depending on sea conditions and your type of boat.

      Divers and boaties should be wary of unmarked reefs, and tidal changes. Currents are particularly strong around the charted rock in the reserve's north and strong winds can quickly make the sea choppy.

      There are no jetties on Long Island, but craft can land at an obvious bouldery point on the south-western shore. It is also possible to land in a bay on the island's eastern side, where concrete generator sheds remain from a World War II submarine detection system.

      There are no easy landing sites on Kokomohua Island.

      Boat services operate on Queen Charlotte Sound from Picton. Further information on them is available from Picton Visitor Centre.

      Marine reserve rules

      Within the Long Island - Kokomohua Marine Reserve, all plant and animal life is totally protected. No fishing or shellfish gathering from either boat or shore is allowed.

      Nothing should be removed from the sea floor or shores. It is not permitted to discharge any effluent or other fluids, and please do not litter.


      Waitohi / Picton Office
      Phone:      +64 3 520 3002
      Email:   picton@doc.govt.nz
      Full office details
      Nelson Visitor Centre
      Phone:      +64 3 546 9339
      Address:   Millers Acre/Taha o te Awa
      79 Trafalgar Street
      Nelson 7010
      Email:   nelsonvc@doc.govt.nz
      Full office details
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