Experience Leigh Village…
You’ll Love Leigh! It’s the classic kiwi fishing village on the North Island’s East Coast.
Leigh is a small coastal village with a population of around 450 that includes farmers, divers, marine scientists, retired folks and fishermen, making it an interesting community. The population doubles in the summer months as holiday homes and accommodation fill up.
In Leigh there is a community hall, church, school, preschool, fisheries, general store, post centre, garage, bowling club, tennis club, volunteer fire brigade and community library. See Visitors Information for more details.
There are many accommodation options that include bed & breakfasts, lodges, motel rooms and lodges – many with great sea views and almost all are within walking distance of the local eateries.
Great walks include the harbour walkway, the coast and the township. See more on the walks page. Leigh is well known for having New Zealand’s first marine reserve, but it is also known for great fishing in the surrounding waters. Leigh’s close proximity to Little Barrier Island (see below), means the village is frequented by kaka (native parrots), native pigeons, tui and other native species. See the Wildlife page for more information.
Stop in town for all your needs for your day out!
Leigh Fisheries / Lee Fish
The small village of Leigh has become one of the most productive fishing villages in New Zealand thanks to its abundance of snapper and dedicated fishermen.
Even though the village and parent company is spelt “Leigh”, it was Leigh Fisheries’ Asian clientele that adopted the “LEE” spelling because it was most familiar to them. Leigh Fisheries decided to adopt this spelling and keep it as the brand. It’s now the accepted spelling for all Lee Fish subsidiaries while the parent company remains ‘Leigh Fisheries’ located right here in Leigh.
The factory is not open to the public and there are no fresh fish outlets in the village but many local restaurants serve fish caught right here. Leigh fish is also enjoyed in top restaurants all over the world.
Leigh Harbour, also known as Omaha Cove, is a small inlet within Omaha Bay to the south of Cape Rodney. The harbour provides a sheltered anchorage for fishing boats and a wharf where fish is regularly unloaded to be processed at Leigh Fisheries.
The wharf is frequently used by recreation fisherman and families trying their luck. The boat ramp provides easy access for launching trailer boats between mid and high tides, as low tide is more difficult.
You can get to the harbour by walking or driving down the hill on Hauraki Road. There is no footpath and the road is narrow so watch out for people and vehicles. There is also limited parking when you get to the bottom especially in the summer months. The harbour can also be reached from the walking track off Ferndale Avenue next to No. 17.
There are lovely views onto Leigh Harbour from vantage points on the Leigh Harbour walkway (more details on the Walking page) and from the Leigh Cemetery at the end of Harbour View Rd.
Kayaks are a great way to explore the harbour. Look out for wildlife including gannets, leopard seal, dolphins, orcas, shags, gulls, kingfishers and herons.
At the head of the harbour is the historic Jolly Fisherman’s Lodge which was built in the early 1900s and has since been restored.
Hauturu – Little Barrier Island
Hauturu or Little Barrier Island, dominates the view out to sea from many vantage points around Leigh. On a clear day, it is one of the first things you see as you drive down Hauraki Road into Leigh. With local street names such as Barrier View, Wonderview and Grand View, many houses have made the most of the stunning views out to the Hauraki Gulf, the islands and Coromandel Peninsula.
Te Hauturu-o-Toi – the resting place of the wind – is New Zealand’s first nature reserve, established in 1896 and a safe haven for a multitude of critically endangered species. Approximately 40 species of rare or endangered birds, 14 reptile and 2 bat species, and more than 400 native plants flourish in this pest-free sanctuary.
As Little Barrier Island is a Nature Reserve, no unauthorised landing is permitted. Some local boat operators can take groups with permits to the island if organised in advance.
For more information about Little Barrier / Hauturu, visit the Hauturu Supporters website.
For more information about the Hauraki Gulf pest free island visit the Department of Conservation Treasure Islands page.