Shoals of blue and pink maumau numbering thousands frequent the shallows along with snapper, parore, blue cod and travellay to name a few. The marine reserve generally features clear, sheltered water which makes swimming and snorkelling safe and enjoyable. There is a dive shop on Goat Island Rd, Leigh, if you wish to hire snorkelling equipment, you can also hire wetsuits as well as complete dive sets for certified divers.
From Goat Island head through to Mangawhai via Tomarata, you'll pass the vast expanse of Pakiri beach, a great place to stop & throw around a frisbee, kick a footy, or just go for a walk. There's also some excellent horse riding at Pakiri, they offer everything from an hour, to over night rides. You will need to book, you can call Pakiri Beach Horse Rides on 09 422 6275.
The Road from Mangawhai to Waipu cove skirts around the side of the Brynderwyn hills, through the Robert Hastie Scenic Reserve. While only a short drive, the reserve features some great 'bush' including regenerating stands of Kauri. After winding your way around the reserve you'll find yourself at Langs Beach, a fairly sheltered, safe, sandy swimming beach much like Waipu Cove around the corner. On a sunny summers afternoon, there are few places in the country that epitomize the Kiwi summer holiday better than this.
If you're planning on going to the Poor Knights Islands we recommend staying in Whangarei, it's a comfortable 20 min drive in the morning. Give yourself an extra 15 minutes and stop off at the 26m Whangarei Falls on the way. They are said to be one of the most photogenic in the country!
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My favourite Spot in NZ is Taupo Bay (Far North). I learnt to surf there. A beautiful beach.
Kaiiwi Lakes (North of Dargaville): Beautiful fresh water lake, great swimming and camping. Also Goat Island (Marine Reserve) & Parkiri. Somewhere to eat: Kens Yakitori Bar & Grill, cheap and cheerful!� Dive Goat Island
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