The 1,404 ha Tapuae Marine Reserve is on the rugged Taranaki coast close to New Plymouth and adjoins the Ngā Motu/Sugar Loaf Islands Marine Protected Area. It hosts a diverse and flourishing range of sea life.

For boundaries, tide and other information download the MarineMate app.

View map and boundaries of Tapuae Marine Reserve.

The Tapuae Marine Reserve borders Ngā Motu/Sugar Loaf Islands Marine Protected Area and the rules of these adjoining areas differ. In Tapuae Marine Reserve, you can't fish or remove marine life or natural material. In Ngā Motu/Sugar Loaf Islands Marine Protected Area, some forms of fishing are permitted.

Find things to do and places to stay Tapuae Marine Reserve

You’ll see New Zealand fur seals/kekeno on and around the islands - pups are born in the summer.

Kekeno spend a lot of time on land in their rocky rest areas (haul outs). The males are bigger and more heavily muscled than the females. You may see the dominant bulls defending their territory by glaring, posturing and even fighting.

Remember seals are wild animals and will defend their territory aggressively. Enjoy them from a distance, at least 20 m away.

Access the boat ramp from Ocean View Parade, New Plymouth.

The seas in this reserve can be quite wild - always check with Coastguard for weather and sea conditions. Coastguard operates on VHF Ch61.

Keep an eye out for divers and swimmers. You must not exceed a speed of 5 knots (a fast walking speed) if you are:

  • within 200m of the shore
  • within 200m of any structure
  • within 200m of a boat displaying a diver’s flag
  • within 50m of any other boat
  • within 50m of a person swimming

Always wear lifejackets, carry two separate waterproof ways of communicating, check the weather before you go, and avoid alcohol. More about water safety.

The best time of year to dive is January to April - there is plenty to explore amongst the rocks and canyons of the northern reserve.

On a calm day, there are snorkelling opportunities off the beach at the Tapuae stream end.

Tapuae Marine Reserve is an unpatrolled surf beach and as such can be subject to large swells and rip currents. Know your limits and if in doubt stay out. More about water safety.

Before you dive, think DEEP:

  • Don’t drink alcohol
  • Equipment working properly
  • Exercise and fitness – make sure you’re fit and healthy enough for the dive
  • Partner up, never dive alone

Learn more about staying safe underwater on the Water Safety NZ website


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.


Taranaki/Egmont National Park Visitor Centre
Phone +64 6 756 0990
Email egmontvc@doc.govt.nz
Address 2879 Egmont Road
Egmont National Park 4386
Hours Visitor centre hours and services
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