Where to go and what to see
Leigh is a great base to explore the Matakana district and surrounding areas. There is Goat Island marine reserve for snorkelling buffs and Ti Point Reptile park creating special holiday moments. The nearby beaches are amazing, Auckland at its best from well known Omaha beach to the quieter Matheson Bay and Te Arai surfing beach. The weekend markets at Matakana and Warkworth are an excellent reason to stock up for a picnic.
WHAT TO DO, HIGHLIGHTS
- TI Point Reptile Park
- Glass Bottom boat excursion to Goat Island marine reserve
- Visit nearby beaches and weekend farmers markets
- Walk on coastal paths
- Horse riding on Pakiri Beach
- The Goat Island Marine Discovery Centre introduces visitors to the marine world and the research activities of the Institute of Marine Science at the University of Auckland’s Leigh campus. The high definition videos, interactive displays, touch tank and sound tunnel provide fun and a wealth of information about the marine environment.
● Observe New Zealand lizards from New Zealand and the world from tutara, alligators, iguanas, tortoises, turtles and even tarantulas can be viewed. The park’s coastal setting has picnic tables inviting visitors to relax in an outdoor setting. There is a giant tortoise who travels from Auckland Zoo for the holidays. The stunning sea views are a bonus
Leigh Coastal Walk
- The elevated coastline track is either a paved path, gravel or boardwalk. There is a short grassed section.There are hills and a number of steps to climb on the route. Some steps are fairly steep.From the main track there are optional walks down to two beaches, as well as great views to Omaha Bay and Daniels Reef (a popular surfing spot). The walk is 2.2 km, grade easy / medium (steep steps). Park car in main Goat Island car park and follow well signposted signs past Auckland University Marine Laboratory. The track starts at the signpost on the right hand side of the driveway.
Matheson Bay beach, Te Arai and other nearby beaches
- Check Amazing Auckland, Leigh, Goat Island and beyond, beaches and parks for holiday inspiration.
Glass Bottom Boat | Snorkel, Kayak & Boat Tours – Goat Island NZ is the perfect way to observe marine life without getting your feet wet. The company hires single or double kayaks and tutorials are available for novices. Snorkel hire is available for experienced swimmers.
LEIGH – PAKIRI BEACH
- An amazing 14 km of white finely ground quartz sand is vast and remote. The attraction is the feeling of not being overwhelmed by crowded beaches. Near the beach access there is a small parking area with toilets. The Pakiri Holiday Park is right next to the beach and has a small shop. In the peak season (mid-December to mid-February weekends) there are surf lifeguards on duty. What to take to Pakiri Beach? Pack a picnic, your sun umbrella and plenty of water. For further information check Amazing Auckland, Leigh, Goat Island and beyond, beaches and parks
WANT TO GO HORSE RIDING?
- Pakiri Beach Horse Rides | New Zealand | Horse Riding | Horse Trekking joins the locals who have a working farm and go horse riding. The sea breeze as you trot along the beach with the only sound hoof beats and the surf. From novices to experienced riders can enjoy horse riding on a pristine beach.
LEIGH – MATHESON BAY
- A ½ hour stroll or several minutes by vehicle is Matheson Bay. The perfect family beach with kids having a reef to explore and safe swimming due to an island protecting the beautiful beach. In summer there is a pontoon in the bay for kids to water bomb, dive from or swim to.
- You can walk around the rocks at low tide heading towards Daniel’s Reef and view the rockpools and the fossils. The Kohuroa Stream divides the bay and a footbridge gives access to either end. The extensive grassy reserves are shaded with picnic tables and large enough for impromptu beach games. A well regarded diving school is based in Matheson Bay using Daniells Reef as a safe marine environment to practice newly acquired diving skills.
Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve (Goat Island)
Perhaps the most popular dive sight in the Auckland region due to its accessibility. The marine reserve is a playground for kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving and glass bottom boat trips.
From a mere 100 metres from the beach protecting the island from the Pacific Ocean swells. The island is part of a marine reserve and no landing is permitted.
- Discover marine science at Goat Island Marine Discovery Centre
- Snorkel, kayak or take a glass bottom boat trip around the island
- Diverse range of sea creatures, including snapper, kingfish, red moki, banded wrasse, rays and rock lobsters
For more information about islands in the Hauraki Gulf check Hauraki Gulf Islands, public spaces for boat trips, guide: NZ Jane.
WHERE TO EAT
- Leigh Bar and Eatery, Imaginative New Zealand cafe fare combined with watching some sport
- Leigh Eats, 18 Cumberland Street,, fish n Chips whereby the fish is fresh from Leigh Fisheries fleet.
- Weekend markets in Matakana and Warkworth
- Leigh midwinter swim festival is held in Matheson Bay
- Leigh by the Sea
WHAT TO DO WITH THE KIDS
- Spoiled for choice
WHERE TO TAKE THE BEST SELFIE
- Leigh coastal walk views of Omaha Bay, Little Barrier Island
- Ti Point Reptile Park, a crocodile and stunning views with you in the foreground
WHO TURNED UP AND NAMED THE PLACE?
- Leigh was named in 1858 after Rev. Samuel Leigh, a missionary who visited the area
WHAT KEEPS THE PLACE TICKING?
- Local fishery companies and tourism
- Pretty village with key attractions at its doorstep creating a great hub for a summer beach holiday