Hector's dolphins, Banks Peninsula

You will see many of New Zealand’s most charismatic marine animals at Pōhatu Marine Reserve, which hosts both penguin and seal colonies. Its rock pools contain dense communities of the smaller sea creatures, and beneath the waves it has a wide range of water depths and seabed types.

This combination of interesting topography and abundance, both above and below the waterline, make Pōhatu well worth a visit in spite of its remoteness.

The drive to Pōhatu is rough and should only be attempted by 4WD, but it reveals a scenic view around every corner, before descending to the sheltered waters of Flea Bay. Kayakers and boaties can explore a more dramatic landscape of sheer cliffs and sea caves not visible from land.


Pōhatu Marine Reserve is centred on Flea Bay, on the southeast side of Banks Peninsula.

Find out more


Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:
1. Plan your trip
2. Tell someone
3. Be aware of the weather
4. Know your limits
5. Take sufficient supplies

Alerts for Canterbury places


Ōtautahi / Christchurch Visitor Centre
Phone:      +64 3 379 4082
Address:   Botanic Gardens Information Centre
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
Armagh Street Carpark
Christchurch 8013
Email:   christchurchvc@doc.govt.nz
Full office details