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Westhaven Reserves

» iSee
»» Wildlife encounters


Business Type: A dual protected area

Overview

Calling all nature lovers. Seagrass beds, salt marshes, tidal wetlands, dunes, cliffs, islands, rock platforms and underwater reefs are all found within the marine reserve and are important habitat to a variety of species.

Address: Dry Road, Rakopi, Tasman, New Zealand Nelson Region

Description

The estuary at Westhaven is a dual protected area with a marine reserve in the southern third and a wildlife reserve over the remaining two-thirds of the estuary.

Westhaven (Te Tai Tapu) Marine Reserve covers 536 hectares of tidal sandflats and channels within Whanganui Inlet, on the western coast of Golden Bay.

Westhaven (Whanganui Inlet) Wildlife Management Reserve stretches over 2112 hectares. It covers all tidal sandflats and channels not included in the marine reserve inside a line from Bar Point to South Head Cone.

The landscape is a rare combination of lush native coastal forest and tidal channels.

The estuary is an enclosed, drowned river valley about 13 km long and between 2-3 km wide. As the tide enters the inlet, it divides into northeast and southwest channels before spilling out onto expansive intertidal sandflats, which dominate the estuary.

Seagrass beds, salt marshes, tidal wetlands, dunes, cliffs, islands, rock platforms and underwater reefs are all found within the marine reserve and are important habitat to a variety of species.

About 30 species of marine fish use the inlet at some stage of their life cycle, and it is an important breeding and nursery area for snapper, flatfish, and kahawai. Many fish enter the estuary to take advantage of the rich food supply found in the seagrass beds and sandflats.

The area has always been important to Maori, both as a food basket and as a place to live. Sacred sites and evidence of previous occupation remain today. The manawhenua iwi are Ngati Rarua, Ngati Tama and Te Atiawa.

In colonial times, the coastal forest around the inlet was clear felled and selectively logged, the flax milled and the land mined for coal and gold. Despite these intrusions, there is little permanent ecological damage and most catchments are covered with regenerating forest.

More info: http://www.doc.govt.nz

Locations

Head west from Pakawau (Pakawau Bush Rd) over the Pakawau Saddle and down to Whanganui Inlet. Dry Road leads around the inlet, crossing several tidal streams before climbing to a car park at a saddle with a great view of the inlet mouth. Knuckle Hill Track is signposted from the car park.

Photo Gallery

By  <ahref=http://www.flickr.com/kymrohman/5256217202/>kymrohman</a> on <a href=http://www.flickr.com>Flickr</a>

By kymrohman on Flickr

  • By  <ahref=http://www.flickr.com/kymrohman/5256204808/>kymrohman</a> on <a href=http://www.flickr.com>Flickr</a>

Click here for Slideshow. You can also click on any of the photos to start slideshow.

Map Location