Sailing off the coast of Long Island – Kokomohua
Image: Danica Stent | DOC


Tucked away in the Marlborough Sounds, Long Island - Kokomohua Marine Reserve is a great getaway for the whole family. Relax on a sandy beach, explore rocky reefs and admire the distinctive landscapes of the Marlborough Sounds.

Place overview


  • Bird and wildlife watching
  • Boating
  • Diving and snorkelling
  • Kayaking and canoeing
  • Swimming
  • 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 Long Island - Kokomohua Marine Reserve


Diving and snorkelling

Bring your mask and snorkel to explore the rocks close to shore. The best scuba diving is at 15 m depth and on the reefs along the north-facing shore of Long Island, and around Kokomohua Islands. 

Picnicking and swimming

Bring a picnic with you. There are many good spots around the island to relax and to swim. 

Bird watching

You may see a shag patiently drying its wings in the sun, or an oystercatcher wrestling with an unfortunate mussel. Black-backed gull and Caspian terns are also in abundance here. There are no formed tracks on the island and foot access around the shore is difficult. Watch the birds from a distance so they won't be disturbed.  

Kayaking and canoeing

If you have a kayak with you, take a trip around the islands. You may see dolphins (common, bottlenose, dusky and the rare Hector's). Seals visit too, particularly during winter.

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    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. 

    Large blue cod are abundant in the reserve and show little fear of divers, frequently biting fingers and anything else that catches their eye.

    Getting there

    The reserve is only accessible by a private or a charter boat. It is 35 km from Picton and can take anywhere between 30 minutes to several hours travel, depending on sea conditions and the type of boat.

    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. 

    Places to stay

    You can stay in a number of DOC campsites in the area while exploring the marine reserve. Campsites in the Queen Charlotte Sound.

    Know before you go

    Tangata whenua may access the reserve to remove nephrite and serpentine (subject to any required resource consents).

    There is no affect to any person's rights of ownership in respect of the wreck “Elsie”.

    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. 


    Waitohi / Picton Office
    Phone:   +64 3 520 3002
    Address:   Port Marlborough Building
    14 Auckland Street
    Picton 7220
    Full office details
    Whakatū / Nelson Visitor Centre
    Phone:   +64 3 546 9339
    Address:   Millers Acre/Taha o te Awa
    79 Trafalgar Street
    Nelson 7010
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