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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 64 Hotels near Sugar Loaf Marine Reserve
King and Queen Hotel Suites $118
King and Queen Hotel Suites

King and Queen Hotel Suites

Corner of King and Queen Street, New Plymouth
     
    4.9
    of 5, from 241 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 Centre City Shopping Centre are also within 10 minutes.

    Copthorne Hotel Grand Central New Plymouth $79
    Copthorne Hotel Grand Central New Plymouth

    Copthorne Hotel Grand Central New Plymouth

    42 Powderham Street, New Plymouth
       
      4.2
      of 5, from 507 reviews
      4.0 out of 5.0

      This family-friendly New Plymouth hotel is located in the business district, just steps from Saint Mary's Church and TSB Showplace. Back Beach and Govett-Brewster Art Gallery are also within 5 minutes.

      Auto Lodge Motor Inn $88
      Auto Lodge Motor Inn

      Auto Lodge Motor Inn

      393 Devon Street East, New Plymouth
         
        4.1
        of 5, from 181 reviews
        4.0 out of 5.0

        Situated by the ocean, this motel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Centre City Shopping Centre, Back Beach, and Puke Ariki. Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and Wind Wand are also within 1 mi (2 km).

        The Devon Hotel A Heritage Hotel $100
        The Devon Hotel A Heritage Hotel

        The Devon Hotel A Heritage Hotel

        390 Devon Street East, New Plymouth
           
          4.4
          of 5, from 667 reviews
          3.5 out of 5.0

          Situated in New Plymouth, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Centre City Shopping Centre, Back Beach, and Puke Ariki. Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and Wind Wand are also within 1 mi (2 km).

          Millennium Hotel New Plymouth, Waterfront $113
          Millennium Hotel New Plymouth, Waterfront

          Millennium Hotel New Plymouth, Waterfront

          1 Egmont Street, New Plymouth
             
            4.7
            of 5, from 295 reviews
            4.5 out of 5.0

            Located in the heart of New Plymouth, this luxury hotel is steps from Puke Ariki and Wind Wand. Observatory and Pukekura Park are also within 1 mi (2 km).

            The Metrotel Motel $105
            The Metrotel Motel

            The Metrotel Motel

            22 Gill Street, New Plymouth
               
              4.8
              of 5, from 30 reviews
              3.0 out of 5.0

              Situated in New Plymouth, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Centre City Shopping Centre and Back Beach. Wind Wand and Puke Ariki are also within 10 minutes.

              Tivoli Homestay $138
              Tivoli Homestay

              Tivoli Homestay

              22 SCOTT STREET, New Plymouth
                 
                5.0
                of 5, from 2 reviews
                3.0 out of 5.0

                Situated in New Plymouth, this bed & breakfast is 0.6 mi (1 km) from Paritutu Rock and within 3 mi (5 km) of Sugar Loaf Marine Reserve and Taranaki Base Hospital. Puke Ariki and Govett-Brewster Art Gallery are also within 3 mi (5 km).

                Novotel New Plymouth Hobson $96
                Novotel New Plymouth Hobson

                Novotel New Plymouth Hobson

                Cnr Of Hobson And Leach Streets, New Plymouth
                   
                  4.5
                  of 5, from 131 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.