Hautai begins just south of Longridge Point and is New Zealand’s most remote mainland marine reserve
PHOTO: Andris Apse ©

Introduction

Hautai is New Zealand’s most remote mainland marine reserve - two days’ walk from the nearest road end, in an area with no formed walking tracks. Its purpose is to protect representative marine habitats and animals of the southern West Coast.

Place overview

Activities

  • Bird and wildlife watching
  • Marine reserves
    Protect our marine reserves

    They are special places that protect the species and habitats within them.

    • No fishing of any kind
    • Don't take or kill marine life
    • Don't remove or disturb any marine life or materials
    • Don't feed fish - it disturbs their natural behaviour
    • Take care when anchoring to avoid damaging the sea floor
    • Call 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) to report any illegal activity

In this section

Find things to do Hautai Marine Reserve

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Bird and wildlife watching

Hautai Marine Reserve is home to marine mammals and birds, including kekeno/NZ fur seals, tawaki/Fiordland crested penguins, and blue penguins, which are abundant here.

Guided walks

Guided walks are available along the Fiordland coast, including through the marine reserve. This stretch of coast is also sometimes walked by trampers between the Cascade and Hollyford Rivers.

Alternatively, the reserve is accessible by boat.

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    About this place

    Nature and conservation

    Hautai Marine Reserve lies alongside Te Wāhipounamu South West New Zealand World Heritage Area.

    Underwater canyons a few kilometres offshore provide food for marine mammals and birds, particularly kekeno/NZ fur seals, tawaki/Fiordland crested penguins, and blue penguins, which are abundant here.

    The shore is dominated by a mixture of boulder and bedrock reefs, and beaches of coarse sand and gravel.

    The beaches rise in a sweeping gesture to steep and forested coastline, blown to a uniform curl by the prevailing wind.

    Getting there

    Hautai Marine Reserve begins just south of Longridge Point on the West Coast of the South Island and extends about 6 km south, and more than 1 km out to sea (8.5 square km in total). It is halfway between Jackson Bay and Milford Sound, 60 km from any road.

    Know before you go

    Independent walkers should be well prepared for the exposed nature of this marine reserve, with plenty of warm, weather-proof clothing, a good tent, and adequate food and water. Several creeks flow into it.

    Riding of quad bikes and horses is allowed within the reserve, providing there is minimal disturbance to the site and riders comply with all legal requirements

    Stones (no more than 256 mm in intermediate diameter), shells, driftwood, sand and gravel can be collected by hand recreationally, but only as much as you can carry in one trip and with minimal disturbance to the site

    Pounamu can also be collected but only by members of Ngāi Tahu Whanui, or with the permission of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. 

    Contacts

    Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre
    Phone:   +64 3 752 0360
    Email:   westlandnpvc@doc.govt.nz
    Address:   69 Cron Street
    Franz Josef Glacier 7856
    Full office details
    Hokitika Office
    Phone:   +64 3 756 9100
    Email:   hokitika@doc.govt.nz
    Address:   10 Sewell Street
    Hokitika 7810
    Full office details
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