While in Malaysia a few months ago (check it out on the ‘timeline‘), we met some cool Kiwi soldiers who recommended their favorite places in the North Island. We have been systematically checking them off over the last few months and with the sun blazing on my day off work, we went to ‘Goat Island’ to see what the hype was all about.
Goat Island is a tiny hunk of rock about 50 meters off the town of Leigh. It is supposed to be visited by tons of fish so snorkeling, boating, and kayaking on glass bottom boats between the island and the mainland are popular activities. Sid and I took our snorkel gear, but despite what Kiwis might tell you, the water is always freezing cold, even in the summer. Thankfully, there were wetsuits for rent.
We took three total swims and only on the first one did we see any fish at all. After a while, the waves started picking up and Sid was having trouble even entering the water. Many locals started leaving too, so I guess we should try again when conditions are better.
The view is very nice from above but a bit deceiving, too. While it looks crystal clear from the top, visibility was a couple of meters at best. Furthermore, at $30 per suit and fins, I actually decided to buy my own ($100 for the suit, $12 for fins) for future visits to the beach. This place ain’t designed for cheapos like me.
Like most places in New Zealand, preservation is big so there are no restaurants or food of any kind on the beach itself and most people bring a cooler with BBQ and other snacks. A group of Chinese Kiwis offered me a bite, so I guess I must have looked hungry! Not to worry though, there are restaurants just a few kilometers down the road in town.
Overall, it was a great day trip from Auckland, but as for me, I am still looking for that ‘wow moment’ in New Zealand. Nevertheless, I will give it another shot.