Minerva Reefs are used as stopover anchorages by vessels travelling between New Zealand and Tonga or Fiji. North Minerva (Tongan: Teleki Tokelau) offers the more protected anchorage, with a single, easily negotiated, west-facing pass that offers access to the large, calm lagoon with extensive sandy areas.
Both reefs have a single navigable entrance, providing entries into lagoons with up to 25m depth and barrier reefs barely above water level at high tide.
The South Reef diameter of about 4.8 kilometres (3.0 mi). The Northern reef is roughly circular and about 6.8 kilometres (4.2 mi) in diameter. In contrast, the Southern reef is a figure-eight shape with its smaller lagoon in its eastern portion.