Robertson Point to Tory Channel Entrance

This coastline is quite rough but makes a good location for crayfish and paua diving off pleasure boats. The deep, crystal blue water surrounding these rugged cliffs offer a picturesque backdrop to any recreational fishing trip

This whole area is completely exposed to all sea conditions and is not recommended for anchorage as very big swells often pass through here.

Large off-lying rocks are situated along the coast from Robertson Point (entry to Port Underwood) to Fighting Bay. Care should be taken when navigating along this coastline by giving the coast a clearance of around 500 metres.

Swell may also be experienced after periods of strong winds despite the calm nature of the wind at the time.


The eastern cape at the entrance to Te Whanganui / Port Underwood is called Robertson Point.

The origin of this name is uncertain but it possibly stems from the ship the Samuel Roberston, an American bay whaler under the command of Captain McKenzie that spent a season in Cloudy Bay in 1839.

Prior to this the point was known as Entrance Point.1

A small island off the coast near Karaka Bay is known as Coombe Rocks. This name was awarded in memory of Captain Coombe, the captain of the Hope, a sailing ship which in June 1840 was sent over from Sydney with a cargo of cattle and other equipment to found a settlement on the Wairau Plain.

The island is interesting as it was used by early American whalers as a lookout to spot the movement of whales through Te Moana-o-Raukawa/ Cook Strait.2

It is reported that somewhere on the island is a rock with a list of whalers’ names, a picture of a whaleboat and the date, 1828 carved into it.3

Karaka Bay is large inlet on the outer coast. If whalers were caught in a storm they would beach their large double-ended whale boats safely in the bay and walk up over the saddle to Whangatoetoe Bay.

Further along the coast is Walkers Rock also known as Green Island on which a small colony of mutton birds used to live, nesting in underground burrows.

Past the entrance to Oraumoa/Fighting Bay, towards Tory Channel is Rununder Point. This prominent headland is said to be named after an incident where a whale dragged a whaleboat and crew under the water before the harpoon line could be severed with an axe.4

1. James R. Eyles, Place Names of Port Underwood- a post European History, (Picton: October Enterprises, 2002) 54.

2. Nelson Historical Society, “Tua Marina and Port Underwood”, Nelson Historical Society Journal, Volume 3, Issue 1, (1974), accessed February 5, 2019, .

3. Carol Dawber, the Jacksons of Te Awaiti, (Picton, River Press, 2001) 17.

4. Eyles, ‘Names of Port Underwood’, 54, 57.

Seldom used
Suitable only in N / NW but not recommended as may be unpleasant in stronger winds
Deep (>10m)
Type of beach
Diving | Fishing
Rocks/reef/sand bank warnings
Rocky outcrops and large rocks lying off the coast should be given clearance of around 500m.
Local knowledge
Good crayfish potting in this area.
Other information
Tory Channel is also known as Kura Te Au, the dual name was recently added as a Waitangi Treaty settlement agreement