The Rock | Bay of Islads Adventure Cruise

Scallops | Tupa

Local Marine Life

Do you know what a Tupa is?

Fresh scallops in the Bay of Islands New Zealand

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Diving for Scallops

If you're on a cruise in the Bay of Islands, you have to see the local marine life. Scallops are one of New Zealand's most popular shellfish. Scallops are called Tupa in Maori and are very delicious. You can find them around the Northland coasts, in the sandbanks and mudbanks of sheltered bays from the low tide mark out to approximately 50 meters in depth. They are often alone or occasionally grouped in beds. You can spot them lying on the seabed with its flat shell part up. 

How to find scallops at sea

You can spot scallops by identifying their physical attributes. They commonly have fan-shaped shells with deep ridges that radiate from the joint. Shell colours vary from orange, brown, pink, yellow or flesh, and sometimes a mixture of all these. The upper part of the shell is flat, and the lower part is curved. The upper part is what you will see first when you go diving for scallops. You might be surprised, but scallops can move. No, they don't have feet. They can propel themselves by suddenly closing the shell to shoot water from its hinge. This motion enables these little delicacies to move in a series of erratic and jerky jumps.

Getting scallops in the Bay of Islands

The Rock Bay of Islands Cruise and crew can accommodate you if you want to have a try with these delicious shellfish. You don't even need to dive down deep to see them. Scallops spawn during springtime and early summer. They also mature very fast, often reaching the legal harvesting size within three years. Since scallops are very popular in New Zealand, mass harvesting is regulated. Regulating the harvest allows scallops to rebuild and spawn again. There are minimum sizes set for recreational and commercial harvesting. So if you're planning on getting a few shells to cook, it is best to stick to the regulations. 

When the season permits and you get to experience Kai Moana, after you get back on the cruise after diving for scallops, you might be wondering how to cook them. You need to keep in mind that when cooking scallops, they are sensitive to heat. Scallops tend to be tender and juicy when cooked quickly in high heat but can become rubbery when overcooked. Grilling them is a popular way of cooking scallops. There are, however, a lot more ways to cook them. You can ask  The Rock Bay of Islands Cruise crew to whip something up for you. 


The availability of these shellfish is usually from July up to February of next year. So if you want to add diving for scallops in the Northland coastal area in the Bay of Islands, you can schedule your vacation and book early at The Rock Bay of Islands Adventure Cruise for an unforgettable and immersive experience that you will never forget.

Check our Booking calendar and manage your booking now. 




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