Sea lagoon with all-tide swimming
Shipbuilders Duncan and Angus Matheson sailed to New Zealand from Nova Scotia in 1856 and settled in the bay. They built six vessels between 1864 and 1899, and were well known coastal and blue-water skippers, according to Jade River, A History of the Mahurangi, by R H Locker. The bay is now a popular all-tide swimming and snorkling location. It is close to a wide range of activities including the popular Matakana Market, winetasting at the areas vineyards and Goat Island Marine Reserve. A cliff-top walkway meanders around the coast giving fantastic views and finishes at Matheson Bay where a bush walk follows the river to Leigh Rd. Pakiri and Omaha beaches are within easy driving distance. Bird life includes native parrot kaka, bellbirds, tui and kereru. Little blue penguins feed around the coast during the day and come ashore at night. Australasian gannets, pied shags and oyster catchers are common. Dolphins and orca are often seen close to shore. The bay is about 90 minutes drive north of Auckland, turn right at Walkworth’s second set of traffic lights, pass through Matakana and it’s just after Whangateau.