Put your passport aside, head to the Coromandel and let us show you world class scenery, service and experiences, right here at your door step.

Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine reserve

Since becoming a protected area, the marine life around Cathedral Cove is thriving. We exclusively offer the chance to view this magical underwater world whilst our tour. The glass panels on all our vessels provide a window to view the marine life from the comfort of the vessel.

Te Whanganui-A-Hei became a marine reserve in 1992 and is New Zealand’s sixth marine reserve, the first for the Coromandel. With no recreational or commercial fishing allowed inside the reserve, marine plants and animals are free to return to their natural balance. Marine reserves have been hugely successful in restoring marine ecosystems, including fish stocks, in other parts of New Zealand. The reserve covers nine square kilometres and is administered by the Department of Conservation in partnership with the Te Whanganui-a-Hei Marine Reserve Committee.
Gemstone Bay Snorkel Trail - What is it?
A snorkeling trail has been set up at the marine reserve to encourage swimmers to explore the marine life. The snorkeling opportunities in Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve are outstanding, especially at Gemstone Bay and the western side of Mahurangi Island.

Four marker buoys with information panels depicting which species inhabit each area are anchored from 50 to 165 metres offshore. For example at buoy three, snorkellers can expect to see marblefish, butterfish & red moki hiding in a seaweed city.
Snorkelling Options
The Glass Bottom team knows all the best snorkel spots both inside and outside the marine reserve. We provide quality snorkel equipment which is available on the boat, free of charge.

The skipper will decide on the day which snorkel spot to choose. Factors such as weather, snorkelling skill levels, water clarity and where the marine life has been spotted last are all contributing factors towards choosing the best spot, ensuring every snorkel experience is awesome!

If snorkelling isnt your thing, that’s completely fine as you can experience the same thing as the snorkelers while sitting back and watching the marine life through the glass panels. There is something for everyone on the cruise.

What will I see?
Since there is no fishing in the reserve the fish life is plentiful. In Gemstone Bay you will be snorkelling amongst a big school of snapper. While in Gemstone bay and other snorkel spots keep your eyes out for blue cod, trevalley, red moki, wrasses, goat fish, blue maomao, demisels, crayfish, kina, stingrays and more. Snorkel around the boulders covered in different species of kelp and soft corals. Explore the small caves, overhangs and kelp forests which are full of marine life.
The marine reserve is administered by the Department of Conservation in partnership with the Te Whanganui-a-Hei Marine Reserve Committee.

The Friends of Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve Trust was established in 2010, primarily to raise funds for the marine reserve. The Trust receives funds through grants and donations. One of the main reasons for setting up the Trust was so that funds could be raised to develop the educational potential of the reserve.

If you would like to help out, donations can be made to The Friends of Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve Trust.

 

Please click on the link to make donations or for further information.

Marie-Christine G
Marie-Christine G
2020-11-30
Fun way to see the coast! Had an awesome ride-a bit of wind and swell! Haha! Super captain! So awesome to get in close to the coves, caves and shore-see all the fish in the reserve. Well worth it! You might have to hang on! Haha!! Reslly professional, safe and well organised!
MadMaxNewZealand
MadMaxNewZealand
2020-11-29
Good Day Out Most enjoyable and informative trip around the area, seeing Cathedral Cove and various caves and blowholes. Seeing the snapper in their habitat was great, and seeing the destruction of habitat by kina was concerning... The Marine Reserve is a good thing. Went out with a nice group of people. Steve and Julian were our guides - Typical kiwi guys, but felt some of Steve’s comments were a bit on the edge of appropriateness before we left the harbour...
Vivienne M
Vivienne M
2020-11-27
A very enjoyable experience On Mon 23 Nov we ( 2 couples) rang to see if we could book a trip. The weather forecast was not wonderful and the company was going to cancel its trips for the day. As it was still very calm they kindly decided that the morning trip would run and we had a very enjoyable morning seeing the sights and all the fish. We were well looked after by Cam and he shared his extensive knowledge of the area with us. The fact that the boat had a glass bottom with great viewing was a distinct plus. These boats are also covered to ensure that we would not get either wet in times of rain or sunburned. We would definitely recommend this company.
manounebosc
manounebosc
2020-11-20
Recommended Amazing tour to see cathedral cove, some caves and beaches. The staff is professional and friendly. Thanks a lot
Anirishkiwi
Anirishkiwi
2020-11-19
Great activity Cam our skipper was superb. Great mix of casual, knowledge and fun. Nice calm day. Enjoyed our dip at the end of the cruise and got some great shots of a part of our beautiful country. Thoroughly worthwhile. Thanks Cam you do a great job.
Paula
Paula
2020-11-18
amazing tour - recommended ! we went out for an few hours in the afternoon. we had an amazing time; the crew were friendly helpful and informative; we learnt so much about the area and got to see parts of the coast, that we hadn't seen before. highly recommend this tour
Marcus
Marcus
2020-11-14
Amazing, Well priced, Good for children 3 and above. An amazing good quality well priced experience. Very professional staff and operation from booking to end. Highly recommend. Cam and Kate our guides were brilliant and very knowledgeable. Such a beautiful part of the world where being on the water gave us a different perspective especially looking through the glass bottom of the boat and seeing the marine life. My children 3 and 6 absolutely Loved it too. Thanks Guys
Robyn Low
Robyn Low
2020-11-06
Great trip to see above & below water A great 2 hour trip exploring another piece of paradise. Have visited this area a few times but never been fortunate enough to explore from the water, certainly a great way to see and appreciate such a beautiful coastline. Steve was our skipper & guide, very informative and knowledgable and was great at sharing this in a fun way. So pleased we chose the glass bottom trip, the highlight as a non diver was seeing the sea life through the glass bottom (wasn't snorkelling weather) and seeing what a difference a Marine Reserve makes . Many Thanks team Highly Recommend this trip and wish you well fro the upcoming season. Don & Robyn
Paul D
Paul D
2020-11-03
Awesome It was a beautiful warm day with no wind and flat sea's. Ash was our skipper and for a young guy was informative, funny and all round a great asset to the company. I see why i can't catch any snapper where i live cause they are all in Mercury bay in the Marine reserve.😃 Would highly recommend this trip.
Glynnis
Glynnis
2020-11-01
An 2 hour cruise along the coast sprinkled with islands bird and sea life. 5 stars for Ash! The rugged coast and the marine reserve . Awesome seeing the fish through the glass, the caves and blow hole was magical

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