Westhaven Estuary (Whanganui Inlet)
Image: Shellie Evans | ©


Westhaven is the first estuary in New Zealand to be protected by a combination of marine and wildlife reserve. The landscape is a rare combination of lush native coastal forest and tidal channels.


  • Westhaven (Te Tai Tapu) Marine Reserve covers 536 hectares of tidal sandflats and channels within Whanganui Inlet, on the western coast of Golden Bay. View map and boundaries of Westhaven (Te Tai Tapu) Marine Reserve.
  • Westhaven (Whanganui Inlet) Wildlife Management Reserve stretches over 2112 hectares. It covers all tidal sandflats and channels not included in the marine reserve inside a line from Bar Point to South Head Cone.

Find things to do and places to stay Westhaven (Whanganui Inlet) area

Birdwatchers will see many waders and sea birds on the inlet and flying over farmland. In and around the forest are numerous other birds including pigeon, welcome swallow, bellbird and tui. Some, such as kingfisher and banded rail, find their food in the inlet, but live in forest or wetland, demonstrating the importance of the remaining natural fringe around the inlet.

Another excellent activity is kayaking, especially for exploring the more secretive tidal arms and channels which flank the inlet, though be wary of the muddy conditions and falling tide.

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.


Whakatū / Nelson Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 546 9339
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Email:   nelsonvc@doc.govt.nz
Address:   Millers Acre/Taha o te Awa
79 Trafalgar Street
Nelson 7010
Postal Address:   Private Bag 5
Nelson 7042
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