Kayaking & Surfing

Kayaking around the Leigh Coast and surrounding area gives you a different view and always the chance to see dolphins, orca, whales or seals. There are plenty of routes you could take and here we list a few options.

Matheson Bay

Exploring Whangateau Harbour

You can park close to the beach and it is just a short walk with your kayak. You can do a short paddle around the island or along the coast towards Ti Point or Leigh Harbour.

Whangateau Harbour

Best to kayak here around high tide. There are several places to launch your kayak such as the Whangateau Camping Ground, the Whangateau Domain, Omaha, Ti Point, Big Omaha or Pt Wells. Paddle to the northern end to see the old boat shed, check out Ti Point, or paddle past Pt Wells and through the mangrove forest. You could also paddle to the Omaha Causeway, go under the bridge and explore the southern end of the harbour. Check tides before you go or you might end up with very little water as the tide goes out.

Leigh Harbour

This pretty harbour has a rocky coastline you can paddle around and there are several small beaches to land on.

(c) Jenny Enderby

Kayaking alongside Goat Island

Goat Island Beach

From the main beach access you can follow the coastline to Pakiri or travel the other way towards Cape Rodney. An experienced kayaker will enjoy the views of the seaward side of Goat (Hawere) Island, but don’t paddle into the caves if there is any swell. Look for fur seals that sometimes bask in the sun on the rocks.

Pakiri Beach

It’s further to carry your kayak at Pakiri but if nice and calm this is a good place to paddle alongside a long, white, sandy beach to either the northern or southern end.

Omaha Bay

This large bay is bordered by Tawharanui, Omaha, Ti Point, Matheson Bay and Leigh giving you plenty of options of places to launch your kayak. You just need to decide what direction you’ll take. Kayaks are also available to hire from near Goat Island Beach.


When Pacific storms to the north or east of the Leigh coast generate large ocean swells the local coast has fantastic surfing. While Anchor Bay at Tawharanui and Omaha Beach are well known there are other less well-known spots. These breaks are good for both board surfers and bodyboarders.

Daniel’s Reef at the end of Wonderview Rd, Leigh produces some massive waves and if the wind is from the sou-west they have great shape and long rides.

Goat Island, although better known for snorkelling and diving, has good waves when the swells keep the snorkellers out of the water. At mid tide around 400 metres west of the beach entrance surfers may enjoy a really good break. With a big swell, surfers can sometimes go straight off the beach.

Further west the long expanse of Pakiri Beach also offers good surfing. With some 14 km of beach there’s not usually a crowd.

Link to activities page