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Sugar Loaf Marine Reserve

Visit the remnants of an extinct volcano and discover a rich diversity of marine life in the reefs and islands off the rugged coast of New Plymouth.

Explore Sugar Loaf Marine Reserve near Port Taranaki, which comprises 1,850 acres (750 hectares) of seabed, water and foreshore and offers recreational opportunities for the whole family. Above the water, a group of sea stacks and seven small islands are the eroded remains of a large volcano that dates back nearly 2 million years. Below the surface, find magnificent canyons, caves, rock faces and boulder fields, as well as a large variety of marine life.

Take a boat tour from one of the charter companies that visit the islands and learn about the history of the area. Local Maori people were living on the islands when European settlers arrived. The reserve owes its name to Captain Cook, who thought that the group of islands resembled the sugar loafs he put in his tea. The sugar he referred to is actually bird guano. A whaling station was established on one of the islands, Moturoa, in the 1820s.

Discover the spectacular underwater scenery of the reserve by renting snorkeling gear or going on a diving expedition. Swim among nearly 100 different species of fish that live in the reefs and look out for a resident breeding colony of New Zealand fur seals. Summer and autumn months are the best to dive, when underwater visibility can reach 65 feet (20 meters).

Rent a kayak or canoe from the town and go out on the water to appreciate the wildlife up close. Alternatively, enjoy a favorite pastime of locals and tourists alike and go fishing in the area. Catch kingfish, blue cod, snapper and many other species. Be aware, however, that this marine reserve borders the northern edge of the Tapuae Marine Reserve, where fishing and the removal of marine life are prohibited.

The Sugar Loaf Marine Reserve is close to New Plymouth and readily accessible by car. The island group is close to Paritutu Rock, which offers magnificent views of the ocean and coastline. Visit the tourist information center in the city center for guide hire and kayak rental details.


Guide to Exploring around Sugar Loaf Marine Reserve


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Lodging Near Sugar Loaf Marine Reserve

See all 98 Hotels near Sugar Loaf Marine Reserve
Copthorne Hotel Grand Central New Plymouth $69
Copthorne Hotel Grand Central New Plymouth

Copthorne Hotel Grand Central New Plymouth

42 Powderham Street, New Plymouth
     
    4.2
    of 5, from 524 reviews
    4.0 out of 5.0

    Located in the heart of New Plymouth, this hotel is steps from Saint Mary's Church and TSB Showplace. Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and Centre City Shopping Centre are also within 10 minutes.

    Flamingo Motel $75
    Flamingo Motel

    Flamingo Motel

    355 Devon Street West, New Plymouth
       
      4.6
      of 5, from 115 reviews
      3.5 out of 5.0

      Situated in New Plymouth, this motel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, TSB Showplace, and Yarrow Stadium. Taranaki Base Hospital and Saint Mary's Church are also within 1 mi (2 km).

      Novotel New Plymouth Hobson $89
      Novotel New Plymouth Hobson

      Novotel New Plymouth Hobson

      Cnr Of Hobson And Leach Streets, New Plymouth
         
        4.5
        of 5, from 143 reviews
        4.0 out of 5.0

        Located in the heart of New Plymouth, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Centre City Shopping Centre, TSB Stadium, and Pukekura Park. Wind Wand is 1.1 mi (1.8 km) away.

        Brougham Heights Motel $91
        Brougham Heights Motel

        Brougham Heights Motel

        54 Brougham Street, New Plymouth
           
          4.5
          of 5, from 107 reviews
          4.5 out of 5.0

          Situated in New Plymouth, this motel is within a 5-minute walk of Saint Mary's Church and TSB Showplace. Centre City Shopping Centre and Govett-Brewster Art Gallery are also within 10 minutes.

          16 Havelock $60
          16 Havelock

          16 Havelock

          16 Havelock Place, New Plymouth
             
            4.8
            of 5, from 65 reviews
            4.0 out of 5.0

            Situated in New Plymouth, this bed & breakfast is within 2 mi (3 km) of Taranaki Base Hospital, Paritutu Rock, and Sugar Loaf Marine Reserve. Back Beach and Govett-Brewster Art Gallery are also within 2 mi (3 km).

            King and Queen Hotel Suites $92
            King and Queen Hotel Suites

            King and Queen Hotel Suites

            Corner of King and Queen Street, New Plymouth
               
              4.9
              of 5, from 246 reviews
              4.5 out of 5.0

              Located in the heart of New Plymouth, this luxury hotel is steps from Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and TSB Showplace. Puke Ariki and Saint Mary's Church are also within 10 minutes.

              Landmark Manor Motel $87
              Landmark Manor Motel

              Landmark Manor Motel

              72 Leach Street, New Plymouth
                 
                4.4
                of 5, from 163 reviews
                4.0 out of 5.0

                Situated near the airport, this motel is within a 15-minute walk of Centre City Shopping Centre, Saint Mary's Church, and East End Reserve. TSB Showplace and Puke Ariki are also within 15 minutes.

                The Dawson Motel $99
                The Dawson Motel

                The Dawson Motel

                16 Dawson Street, New Plymouth
                   
                  4.8
                  of 5, from 62 reviews
                  4.5 out of 5.0

                  Located in the heart of New Plymouth, this motel is within a 10-minute walk of Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, Puke Ariki, and TSB Showplace. Wind Wand and Centre City Shopping Centre are also within 10 minutes.