Wandering anenome on sea rimu

Image: DOC


Fiordland’s ten marine reserves border the Fiordland National Park and are a fantastic example of protected natural environments.


The marine reserves range in size from 93 to 3,672  ha. In total, they include over 10,000 ha of inner fiord marine habitat.

They contain a huge variety of habitats and species like sponges, lampshells, and a wide range of fish. 


Place overview


  • Diving and snorkelling
  • Protect our marine reserves
    • 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.

In this section

Find things to do and places to stay Fiordland marine reserves

About this place

Nature and conservation

The Fiordland marine reserves include a huge variety of habitats and species like sponges, lampshells, and a wide range of fish. 

These reserves also contain some of the world's biggest populations of black coral trees, some of which are over 300 years old. These trees provide a home to brittlestars, a species that can only live entwined in the branches of these underwater trees.

Fiordland marine biosecurity.

Getting there

Fiordland's marine reserves are found from Milford Sound in the north to Preservation Inlet on the southwest of the South Island.

Piopiotahi/ Milford Sound is accessible from Te Anau via the Milford Road.

Know before you go

Removing marine life

Members of Ngāi Tahu Whānui may access the reserve to remove pounamu provided they have any required resource consents and/or authorisation by the kaitiaki rūnaka. Pounamu must be collected by hand, with minimal disturbance to the site and only so much as you may carry in one trip.

Members of Ngāi Tahu Whānu are also permitted to remove deceased marine mammals and collect teeth and bones found within the reserves.


Take-off and landing of aircraft is permitted within the reserve.


There are specific no-anchoring areas in some of Fiordland’s marine reserves. These areas are home to particularly fragile species that could be damaged by an anchor or its swinging chain.

Anchoring and no-anchoring areas in each of the fiords.

Recreational, educational and scientific activities

Recreational, educational and scientific activities are encouraged as long as they do not disturb or endanger the plant and animal life or natural features. A permit is required from DOC for any scientific research within the reserve.

Commercial rock lobster pot storage

Because of limited suitable space for storing rock lobster pots in Fiordland, five areas within four marine reserves are designated for commercial rock lobster fishers to store live lobster caught outside the reserve in holding pots and to store inoperable rock lobster pots (with doors open). These five areas are shown on the maps for the following marine reserves:

  • Hawea (Clio Rock)
  • Kahukura (Gold Arm)
  • Taumoana (Five Fingers Peninsula)
  • Te Tapuwae o Hua (Long Sound)

They are not open for use by recreational fishers.

Right of passage

Right of passage through the marine reserve is not affected by the reserve status of the area.

More information

Fiordland Marine Guardians website


Te Rua-o-te-moko / Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 249 7924
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Email:   fiordlandvc@doc.govt.nz
Address:   Fiordland National Park
Visitor Centre
Lakefront Drive
Te Anau 9600
Postal Address:   PO Box 29
Te Anau 9640
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