In this section:

Activities at Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve

Children diving, Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve. Photo copyright: Daryon Rapana (DOC USE ONLY).
Children diving, Poor Knights Islands
Marine Reserve

Diver with Mosaic Moray eel, Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve. Photo: John Major (DOC use only).
Diver with Mosaic Moray eel, Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve

The islands are renowned for their diving and snorkelling, and local tourist operators are often equipped to give non-divers an underwater experience. 

Boaties can enjoy the coastline, archways, and clear waters. Visitors may anchor (carefully) anywhere in the reserve. 

Rules for people visiting the reserve 

Because the Poor Knights Islands are a marine reserve, visitors must not remove any natural resource, for example any living or dead marine life, shells, rocks, wood or seaweed. 

Visitors are not allowed to dump rubbish or any other matter, or feed the fish. It is an offence to crack open kina (sea urchins) to feed the fish.

It is an offence for boats or jet skis to exceed five knots within 200 metres of land. 

Vessels over 45 metres long are banned from travelling through an area around the Poor Knights Islands. This area extends 9km (5 nautical miles) from land between Bream Head and Cape Brett north of Whangarei.

Related link

Find out about the region, and book accommodation, guided trips and experiences.


Find out more



DOC maps: Discover the outdoors - DOC's key places, campsites, tracks and huts, and visitor centres on a map

Learn more

Check, Clean, Dry between waterways and stop the spread of didymo.

Walking track categories


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 Northland places

Tips for driving on unsealed roads


Whangarei Office
Phone:      +64 9 470 3300
Full office details