A summer series # 6 – Swim with the snapper at Goat Island
Goat Island is a accessible marine reserve right on Auckland’s doorstep, plentiful with over sized snapper and many other fish species.
The reserve is near Leigh about an hour and a half from Auckland and was New Zealand’s first marine reserve officially opened in 1977. It covers 518 hectares of coastal sea between Cape Rodney and Okakari Point.
The immediate bay is well sheltered by Goat Island, a 100 metres from the beach. It’s best to enter the water from the shore rather than the rocks especially if the sea is rough. Then it’s all in front of you, masses of colourful fish. The most predominant fish we saw were snapper and some are huge. We also saw goat fish, parore, spotties and red moki. On the way home stop at the nearby community of Leigh for a bite to eat and a craft beer. www.leighbythesea.co.nz. Matakana Village is also a great place to stop for a coffee or if you are there over the weekend their famous Saturday morning market is well worth a visit.
Unfortunately, no bus service is available to the township of Leigh so your own transport is necessary.
All equipment for snorkelling and diving can be hired from Goat Island Dive & Snorkel. They also take snorkelling and diving tours, diving instruction and dive trips to other dive sites.