Goat Is­land

The Insider's Guide to New Zealand - - NORTH ISLAND -

The marine life at Goat Is­land is so good that vis­i­tors can get close to fish with­out get­ting wet. It may not be quite the same as div­ing in but for those who pre­fer dry land, it is pos­si­ble to see huge snap­per and parore from the rocky coast­line. There re­ally is no place quite like it. Of­fi­cially named Cape Rod­ney-Okakari Point, Goat Is­land was es­tab­lished in 1975. It was the first marine re­serve in New Zealand. The re­serve stretches along five kilo­me­tres of coast­line and ex­tends 800 me­tres into the wa­ter. Vis­i­tors can bring their own snorkelling gear and ex­plore the re­serve and the shel­tered wa­ters of­fer op­por­tu­ni­ties for all lev­els of swim­mers. With un­der­wa­ter crevasses, sea­weed forests, sponge gar­dens and sandy shores within a flip­per-kick dis­tance, there is plenty of sea life to see. Cray­fish are par­tic­u­larly preva­lent. Con­fi­dent swim­mers can swim to Goat Is­land but they must stick to the coast­line so as not to dis­turb nest­ing birds and un­sta­ble ground.

This is a no-kill-or-take zone so leave fish­ing rods, dive bags and shell col­lec­tions at home, and re­move any­thing that is brought into the area. Please don’t feed the fish, no mat­ter how much they eye the pic­nic. There is plenty of space to throw down a blan­ket and have lunch, and there are bath­rooms and chang­ing rooms avail­able. There is no store or drink­ing wa­ter so bring enough sup­plies.

Goat Is­land Dive staff are ex­perts on the area so who bet­ter to join for a guided snorkel tour? They also host half-day dive classes or PADI dive cour­ses for those who want the full im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence. If snorkelling is a one-time thing, they have ev­ery­thing you need.

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