Each issue a Destination will be showcased for the diving traveler or just the local divers. This is the first of these so feedback from you the reader would be appreciated as well as ideas of great diving locations.
Local diving: Goat Island Marine Reserve and surrounding areas.
Type of dive: Snorkel and Scuba.
Weather: Protected from West to SE.
Goat Island Shore Dive: Advise that you gear up on RHS grass verge to keep your gear out of the sand. Enter water from the safe beach access. Shallow dive site, best to weight a little heavier. Snorkel out to Shag Rock (about 90 metres from the shore line). Head north towards left side of Island, don’t go past island returning south back into beach. Dive Flag essential, Glass Bottom Boat working in area.
There is an abundance of snapper, blue maomao, parore, and spotties just off the beach. As you head further into the channel you will see blue cod, banded wrasse, goat fish, leather jackets and crayfish in the cracks around the rock.
This is an ideal dive for photography in particular for the novice as the fish are so tame. Great snorkelling for all the family too!
Cape Rodney: This dive is for the intermediate diver and is exposed to easterly and northerly swells, there is some current here. You will find colourful walls of sponges, hydroids and a few nudibranch, crayfish under the rocks and during the summer you will see kingfish and schools of kahawai. Good for spearfishing, photography and a crayfish dive. Watch for boat traffic.
Ti Point: This is best on a calm day with no wind and a comfortable dive for a beginner. Spearfishing – You may get strong currents, beware of boat traffic. You may even find scallops over the sand
Leigh Reef: Very exposed to swells and wind and best dived on slack tide when the current is minimal. You will find schools of fish with large kingfish in the summer. Reef fish on the top plus mado amongst the pelagics with crayfish hiding in the cracks of the reef. This is for the more experienced diver and is good for photography, spearfishing and cray hunting.
Boat Dives: For those of you with your own boat there is a trailer launch/ ramp located at Leigh Wharf (1 Hauraki Road, Leigh)
Organized Dive trips: The OUTER GULF CHARTERS – charters to divers to explore Great/Little Barrier Islands, Hen & Chicken Group and famous Mokohinaus (book through Goat Island Dive & Snorkel).
Accommodation: There is a number of recommended places to stay in the area from camping, back backing to the high end B & B. See www.leighbythesea.co.nz for a comprehensive list of accommodation and other activities
Dive Store: Brian & Julie George
Phone : 09 422 6925
An easy day trip from Auckland, Goat Island is the best beach dive in New Zealand offering a safe and shallow dive site with easy access. A great place to build your confidence while being surrounding and entertained by New Zealand’s friendliest fish. Snorkelling for all ages.
There are several good dives sites in this region outside the marine reserve either as shore dives such as Matheson Bay, or launching your boat from Leigh Harbour to exploring the Leigh coastline. For the advanced diver the magic of Leigh Reef teems with schools of kingfish, kawhai, red moki, porcupine fish and mado to name a few.
If you are travelling north this is a great place to break your journey and take in the diving of this region, or enjoy the local wine, café’s, and markets. You can walk the coast around Leigh, check out the regional parks there is a lot to do when not diving. As a dive location you have many places to choose from. Try the friendly area of Leigh as your next dive location you will be amazed and delighted with this region.
Thanks to Goat Island Dive for supplying the above information.