Nature and conservation
Hautai Marine Reserve lies alongside Te Wāhipounamu South West New Zealand World Heritage Area.
Underwater canyons a few kilometres offshore provide food for marine mammals and birds, particularly kekeno/NZ fur seals, tawaki/Fiordland crested penguins, and blue penguins, which are abundant here.
The shore is dominated by a mixture of boulder and bedrock reefs, and beaches of coarse sand and gravel.
The beaches rise in a sweeping gesture to steep and forested coastline, blown to a uniform curl by the prevailing wind.
Hautai Marine Reserve begins just south of Longridge Point on the West Coast of the South Island and extends about 6 km south, and more than 1 km out to sea (8.5 square km in total). It is halfway between Jackson Bay and Milford Sound, 60 km from any road.
Know before you go
Independent walkers should be well prepared for the exposed nature of this marine reserve, with plenty of warm, weather-proof clothing, a good tent, and adequate food and water. Several creeks flow into it.
Riding of quad bikes and horses is allowed within the reserve, providing there is minimal disturbance to the site and riders comply with all legal requirements
Stones (no more than 256 mm in intermediate diameter), shells, driftwood, sand and gravel can be collected by hand recreationally, but only as much as you can carry in one trip and with minimal disturbance to the site
Pounamu can also be collected but only by members of Ngāi Tahu Whanui, or with the permission of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.