Boating Activities at Te Matuku Marine Reserve

26th August 2014
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te matuku marine reserve

DOC vessel in Te Matuku Bay. Photo: Aron Katona.

With unrestricted navigation and conditions that are great for kayaking, Te Matuku is a marine reserve on Waiheke Island that boaters fall in love with. Whether you prefer life above or below the water, there are plenty of creatures for you to spot. While conditions are generally good for boating, the Department of Conservation (DOC) does have some recommended practice guidelines. Adhering to them will help you stay safe, while keeping your boat intact.

An Enjoyable Marine Reserve Kayaking Experience

Even if you don’t have a kayak of your own, you can get stuck into the water with one at Te Matuku. There is a kayak rental service on the island. After setting off from the bay, you can make the most of the calm waters and go bird spotting at the same time. The majority of Te Matuku really is better above the water than below. This is because much of the bay is home to shallow and muddy waters, which don’t make spotting marine life easy. However, if you head to Otakawhe Bay, you will have a little more luck with seeing creatures under the sea.

When kayaking, do watch out for the oyster beds. While they’re pretty to look at, oysters and the rocks they live on are sharp. A lot of the marine life and seashells you will see her are pretty. Sadly, you can’t take any of them home with you. Keeping your hands off helps to maintain this Marine Reserve’s natural beauty, as even the smallest of shells can make a positive contribution to the local ecosystem. Try compensating for this by placing a waterproof camera in your kayak.

Boating at Te Matuku

Fortunately, the DOC has placed no restrictions on navigating the waters at this Marine Reserve. Passage rock is used by many boats to pass through and to the area. If your boat is fit for estuary exploration, you are free to meander through the estuaries. However, tides tend to fluctuate rapidly, which means you may find yourself sitting on a mud flat if you don’t time your activities carefully.

The DOC likes boaters to exercise caution when using anchors in this area. Your anchor has the potential to drag through tubeworm colonies, which can disrupt other nearby species. Similarly, letting your boat rest on the tidal flats when the tide is low can damage the sea life beneath.

When taking your boat to the reserve, you can access it from the Waiheke Island. Several ferries visit the island, which means you need to plan your trip carefully. Generally, the waters are safe and easy to navigate. Kayakers with experience consider them to be one of the safest and simplest for launching, regardless of your experience.

Once you take your boat to the reserves, you might not want to leave. That’s okay, because there are plenty of places on Waiheke Island for you to stay. The Waiheke Island information centre is a great resource for nearby accommodation options. For some, this may mean staying on a basic campsite or making the most of backpacker accommodation. However, that doesn’t mean that those who enjoy luxury are excluded from the fun. There are multiple beach properties available, all of which offer self-catering luxury. The majority, however, rest just outside the Marine Reserve rather than on it.

Whether you want to perfect your kayaking skills on calm waters or take your boat out for a short break, Te Matuku is right for you. Thanks to the shallow waters, it is ideal for individuals of all ages.

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