The Mercury Islands
These are a bunch of seven volcanic islands, which are all nature reserves with the exception of Great Mercury Island. The islands are loved by skindivers but please note you need a permit for landing there. Ecologists come to this section of the Hauraki Maritime Park to study the effects of the kiore or Polynesian rat on the tuatara, bird life and lizards. The islands (& Mercury Bay) owe their name to Captain Cook. As he sailed aboard the Endeavour in 1769, the ship's scientists studied Mercury's progress in the skies. As they studied the planet's transit across the sun they succeeded in ascertaining the precise longitude of New Zealand.