Come and see what lies above and below the surface in the ‘Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve and be amazed by all the marine life that can be seen through the glass panels. You can choose your own level of fun. Either sit back and enjoy the amazing marine life through the glass bottom or take the plunge and snorkel amongst the fish. All equipment supplied and no experience necessary.
Our marine mammal watch permit entitles us to get up close and personal with any dolphins, orcas or seals we see during the cruise. We see NZ fur seals on most days from May until October. Blue penguins are a common sight and can be seen all year round. Our fully trained tour skippers and guides will take you on a two hour adventure providing you with a fun commentary enriched with local history and Maori culture along the way.
8am (December to February Only)
4pm (December to February Only)
Within minutes of leaving the Whitianga Wharf, our first stop is Shakespeare Cliff. Unique patterns and features are found along the cliff along with many different species of sea birds. During the tour you will learn how the cliffs were formed and how it got its name. The geology and history of the cliff is fascinating! The boat will stop long enough for you to get photos of the amazing features of the cliff. Look out for our million year old pot plant and try spot the man looking out to sea. If you have the time to spare either before or after your Whitianga boat tour then go to the look out on the top of the cliff that offers stunning views of Mercury Bay.
COOKS BEACH AND BLOWHOLE:
Learn a piece of New Zealand’s history while getting up close to an amazing blow hole and view the stunning long white shores of Cooks Beach. Cooks Beach is one of New Zealand’s most popular beaches. Over summer it is full of holiday makers enjoying the stunning surroundings. Cooks Beach holds a piece of history with Captain Cook’s visit. The crew will inform you on the tour. The blowhole at the end of the beach is a fantastic site to see and as you will notice its a popular spot for swimming. In Cooks Beach there are a couple of awesome wineries that offer tastings and great lunch options.
Get your camera ready as we get up close to the world famous Cathedral Cove. Once inside the Te-Whanganui-A-Hei marine reserve we head straight to Cathedral Cove. We can get nice and close to the cove and explore the bays on each side. Learn how the Cathedral Cove was formed and witness the beauty of the cove and surrounding beaches. Cathedral Cove is very famous and has appeared in many different movies and music videos. Our crew will keep you informed during the tour and are happy to let you move around the boat and help take the perfect photo of you in front of Cathedral Cove.
Be amazed by some of the Coromandel’s most spectacular coastal scenery. This includes the underwater scenery too. The volcanic rock formations in Champagne bay are absolutely stunning. Millions of years of being exposed by the open ocean have shaped these fantastic formations. The boat will get you close to the cliff face, caves and pinnacles. There are many interesting features along this stretch of coast, which the crew will point out on the tour. Below the surface is just as interesting as there are different species of marine creatures to spot. Keep you eyes out for stingrays and marine mammals.
ORUA SEA CAVE:
One of the largest sea caves in New Zealand. A very impressive site, especially from inside the cave. Measuring over 15m high and 15m deep, this sea cave is breath taking. When conditions are right the boat will cruise into the cave. Make sure you look up and see the stunning colours on the ceiling. Also look down and see what lives inside the cave. On the cruise to the cave keep your eyes peeled for different species of sea birds that can usually be seen diving along the coast.
Look through the glass panels to view the school of snapper and other marine life in Gemstone Bay. Gemstone Bay is the home to the snorkel trail in the marine reserve. Since 1992 this area has been protected and now is full of snapper and other marine species. The fish will swim right past the glass and is fantastic to watch. This is one of our popular snorkel spots where you can hop in for a snorkel and be surrounded by fish. Keep your eyes out for crayfish hiding under the rocks and snorkelers swimming under the boat.
DOLPHINS AND ORCAS:
Keep an eye out for passing pods of dolphins and orca. Our marine mammal watch permit allows us to interact with these beautiful creatures. Although there are no resident pods of dolphins and orca, we do encounter them passing through all year round. We are one of the only companies in the area with a marine mammal watch permit, which allows us to spend time with any mammals spotted. To see a dolphin or orca swim under the glass is a spectacular site.
There is plenty of marine life to see along the coast. This includes different species of marine birds, blue penguins and New Zealand fur seals. During the tour the crew will point out to you all the different marine life that is seen. Blue penguins are a common site on the tour so look out for the little penguins chilling out on the surface. Fur seals are found bathing on the rocky outcrops in the marine reserve in the winter months (May-September). There are many different species of marine birds that can be found along the coast. Keep the camera ready because diving gannets is an amazing site to see.
Just sit back and watch through the glass!
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.
There is many different species of fish to be seen including schools of snapper, blue moamoa, red moki, parore, blue cod, trigger fish, wrasses and more. Watch as the fish swim right past the glass as if you had your own personal aquarium. Keep your eyes peeled for other marine life such as sting rays, octopus, crayfish, moray eels and other marine creatures we happen to find on the tour. Our mammal watch permit allows us to spend time with dolphins, orca, whales and seals when they are in the area. Not only is it a privilege to see these animals in the wild but to see them swim under the glass and looking us is breath taking.
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 20 September 2015 NEW
What a great way to see the coast and places of interest along the way. The skipper was great and knew much about the area and marine life. Also great for little kids to see fish up close. Thoroughly enjoyed our morning out on this trip.
Visited September 2015
“Personal Tour Guide and Bang for your buck!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 17 September 2015 NEW
My wife and i wanted to see the coast line of Whitianga with only limited time in town. We booked the glass bottom boat and were not disappointed.
Our guide and captain Joe made the day very personal with ample opportunity to ask questions, take photos and there was no clock watching. The spots the tour takes you to are amazing and much easier and quicker to get to by boat.
Joe was very knowledgeable and a funny guy to spend 3 hours with
It turned out we were the only 2 on the tour which was awesome however the tour would still be amazing with more people on board.
Visited September 2015
“Had an awesome time”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 September 2015
Hosted by Mark, this was a fantastic trip. Very accommodating, great commentary, great knowledge of the area. Spectacular scenery. Definitely worth the fare. Glass bottom view of sea life was amazing.
Visited September 2015