Tauparikākā Marine Reserve
Located in the West Coast region
IntroductionThis small marine reserve (16 ha) has been created as an educational site because of its accessibility, variety of habitats, and simple beauty. This is one of the best places to see Hector dolphins without the need for a boat.
Tauparikākā Marine Reserve lies a 20 minute drive north of Haast, just off the highway at the Ship Creek visitor site.
No particular planning or preparation is needed to visit Tauparikākā Marine Reserve, though sandfly repellent is a good idea. Swimming is not generally advisable.
Riding of quad bikes and horses is allowed within the reserve, providing there is minimal disturbance to the site and riders comply with legal requirements.
Stones (no more than 256 mm in intermediate diameter), shells, driftwood, sand and gravel can be collected by hand recreationally, but only as much as you can carry in one trip and with minimal disturbance to the site.
Pounamu can also be collected but only by members of Ngāi Tahu Whanui, or with the permission of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.
The tidal lagoon and foreshore at Ship Creek lie within Tauparikākā Marine Reserve, which extends out to 200 m offshore. The lagoon’s tea-coloured water is stained by natural tannins from the beech and podocarp forest above.
A gentle board walk runs through sand dunes covered in the native sand sedge, pingao.
This is one of the best places to see the world’s smallest dolphins – Hector dolphins – without the need for a boat, as they often play in the surf near the beach.