Evening boat patrol at Kapiti Marine Reserve
Image: Leon Berard | Creative Commons



Kapiti Marine Reserve is popular for its abundant sea life including blue moki, kingfish, seals and dolphins. It's also home for some top dive spots include the Hole-in-the-Wall underwater archway.

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

Find things to do and places to stay Kapiti Marine Reserve

Kapiti Island and its surrounding waters are noted for strong tidal rips and changeable weather – sea conditions can quickly become treacherous. Obtain an up-to-date marine forecast before boating in the reserve.

The marine reserve is popular with divers. On the exposed seaward side of the island, the reef extends to 25 m and divers can pass through the underwater Hole-in-the-Wall.

On the mainland side, divers and snorkelers can explore the sponge gardens and seaweed beds.

Kapiti's waters include reef fish like blue moki, kingfish and various rays and sometimes rare and subtropical fish such as the spotted black groper. Protected great white sharks and basking sharks have occasionally been sighted by divers around the island.

Whales and dolphins are regular visitors and many seabirds can be seen too, such as gulls, gannets, penguins and perhaps a fairy prion or Arctic skua and flocks of terns feeding on sprats.

You can kayak to explore the marine reserve but you cannot land on Kapiti Island. 

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.


Wellington/Kapiti information
Phone:   +64 3 546 9339
Email:   nelsonvc@doc.govt.nz
About:   Whakatū/Nelson Visitor Centre provides visitor information for this area
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