Nature and conservation
Aerial view of Tāwharanui Peninsula
The area has been off limits for fishing since 1981, but it was only made a marine reserve in 2011. It sits within the much larger Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.
Its unique feature is geological – greywacke rock is exposed forming huge grey-green rocks. These ancient rocks from the Jurassic period are studded with rare marine fossils.
Tāwharanui contains extensive intertidal and subtidal reefs typical of the moderately exposed coast of the outer Hauraki Gulf. About 50 species of fish have been recorded in the reserve, which also supports a thriving population of lobster. Bottle nosed dolphins and orcas often visit the area.
The marine reserve is picturesquely situated alongside sandy beaches and gentle farmland, with some stands of native bush and large regenerating wetlands (outside the reserve).
Tāwharanui Marine Reserve is on the northern coast of the Tawharanui Peninsula in the Rodney District, approximately 90 kilometres (one and a half hours) from Auckland City.
Take State Highway 1 north to Warkworth. Follow the signs to Matakana. Just past Matakana turn right at the Omaha turn off and drive along Takatu Road, following the signs to the Tawharanui Regional Park. Note that the last 6 km to the regional park is a winding gravel road.
Anchor Bay, Tāwharanui Marine Reserve
Once you reach the regional park, continue through the predator proof fence to Anchor Bay, where parking is available.
What to bring
Bring good walking shoes, warm clothes, swimming and snorkelling gear, sunblock, sunhat and food and drinking water. Bring your surf board or boogie board if the waves are right!
Know before you go
- No fishing of any kind is permitted.
- Do not take or disturb any marine life, including shellfish and seaweeds.
- Do not remove any part of the sea floor, including rocks, shells or washed up seaweeds.
- Do not feed the fish as this disturbs their natural behaviour and can make them aggressive.
- Do not exceed five knots in a boat or on a jetski within 200 m of the mainland, a dive flag, or within 50 m of a boat or person in the water.
- Dogs are not permitted in the Tāwharanui Regional Park or the marine reserve at any time.
- Take your rubbish away.
- Do not light fires on the beach or on the grassy areas.
Map and boundaries
View larger map (PDF, 42K)
Marine reserve boundary GPS points (WSG 84)
- 5974323.8 1763375.7 36° 21' 44.36"S 174 49' 15.56"E
- 5974661.8 1763377.5 36° 21' 33.40"S 174° 49' 15.38"E
- 5975150.5 1767064.1 36° 21' 15.27"S 174° 51' 42.85"E
- 5974255.8 1767043.2 36° 21' 44.30"S 174° 51' 42.71"E
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