Diver is inspecting the colourful sponge gardens.
Diver & sponge gardens (photograph: John Smith)

Marine reserves

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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Tasmania is surrounded by approximately 5 400km of picturesque coastline. In order to protect the biological diversity and resources of these coastal waters we have 21 marine reserves that have been declared in State waters, including one at Macquarie Island.

In Tasmania, the term marine reserves broadly covers both marine nature reserves and marine conservation areas. Marine nature reserv​es are like the national parks of the water and fishing in these zones is generally off-limits, though some areas allow for restricted take.

There is plenty to be enjoyed, with swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking, boating and underwater photography all popular aquatic pastimes. Marine conservation areas allow both commercial and recreational fishing, more information is available on the ​Marine Conservation Areas page.

​​​​Govern​​​or Isla​​nd Ma​rine Reserve

Gove​rnor Island Marine Reserve, with its spectacular underwater scenery and abundant marine life, is recognised as one of the best temperate diving locations in Australia. The waters are challenging, and it is recommended that only experienced divers attempt the location, preferably under the supervision of local guides. There are over 35 recognised dive sites in the area, with winter diving providing the best visibility.

Above water, visitors can see Tasmania's largest colony of crested terns, along with sooty oystercatchers, kelp and silver gulls, and gannets. Australian fur seals can sometimes be seen hauled out and resting on Alligator Rock.

See​ the Governor Island Marine Reserve - Visitor Guide for things to do, special features of the reserve and how to minimise your impact.

Governor Island Marine Reserve

Kent Group M​​​ar​ine Reserve

Located in Bass Strait, the Kent Group is a cluster of five granitic islands and several islets. The reserve consists of a no take zone on the western half and a restricted take zone on the eastern half; here you can safely fish for rock lobster, abalone and line-fish for scalefish.

The Kent Group is accessible only by water, via private or chartered boat, or by very experienced sea kayakers. But if you make it there, the Kent Group offers spectacular diving and underwater photography given its clear waters and excellent marine diversity. The two steamships wrecks Bulli and Karitane are in shallow water in West Cove and Squally Cove respectively and are an added highlight of the area.

See the Kent Group - Visitor Guide for things to do, special features and how to look after the reserve for the future.​

Kent Group Marine Reserve

Maria ​Island M​​arin​​e Reserve

The amazing geology and clean waters of Maria Island make it a fabulous place for coastal exploration and the variation in the geological formations is reflected in the underwater landscape and the diversity of dive sites. The marine reserve is ideal for snorkelling, scuba diving, birdwatching, beach walking and rock pool rambling.

See the Maria Island Marine Reserve - Visitor Guide for things to do, special features, a map and how to look after the reserve for the future.​​​

Maria Island Marine Reserve

​​Ninepi​​n​​ Point Marine Reserv​​e

Ninepin Point is an unusual marine environment where saltwater is overlain by tannin-rich freshwater from the nearby Huon River. The tannin layer restricts light penetration to the top few metres, restricting light-loving brown and green algae to the very shallowest water. Many species normally only encountered in much deeper, darker waters – such as sea fans and sea whips, jackass morwong and red algae – are seen here in shallow water. Ninepin Point is one of the few places in the world where this phenomenon occurs. This makes it an ideal place to scuba dive in shallow waters and experience deep-water sea life. Although the waters are clear, the tannin creates a dark environment, so bring a torch regardless of the time of day.

See the Ninepin Point Marine Reserve - Visitor Guide for special features of the reserve, a map and how to m​​inimise your impact.

Ninepin Point Marine Reserve

Port Davey ​​​Marine Reserve

Located in Southwest National Park and the Ta​smanian Wilderness World Heritage Area​, the Port Davey Marine Reserve encompasses Port Davey, Bathurst Harbour and Bathurst Channel, which connects the two. The reserve protects an unusual underwater landscape created by the deep layer of dark, tannin-rich freshwater which overlies the tidal saltwater. The tannins in the water limit the amount of sunlight penetration to just the top few metres, limiting the growth of marine plants. In their place lives a diverse collection of marine invertebrates. The reserve is a mix of restricted and no-take zones, as well as areas where diving and anchoring are not permitted. 

Please refer to the Port Davey Marine Reserve - Visitor Booklet for maps, biosecurity on l​​and and sea, history and more. These are available through the Tasmanian Map Centre and Service Tasmania shops​.

Port Davey Marine Reserve

Tin​derb​​ox M​a​ri​​​ne Res​​erve​

The close proximity to Hobart makes Tinderbox a popular choice for locals, and the protected waters are a great place to for beginners to practice their snorkeling, scuba diving and kayaking before moving on to more challenging locations. The reserve boasts a diverse selection of marine life, with urchins, abalone and rock lobster on the sandy sea floor, and longfin pike, wrasse and bastard trumpeter hidden amongst the giant kelp.

See the Tinderbox - Visitor Guide for special features of the reserve, a map and how to minimise​ your impact.​​​

Tinderbox Marine Reserve