The Leigh coast, part of the Hauraki Gulf, is arguably one of the best places in New Zealand for boating. Many islands of the gulf can be destinations for fishing and landing if permitted, and wildlife abounds.
Must dos while
• Hop onboard the glass bottom boat and see the marine life
• Take a boat trip out to one of the Hauraki Gulf islands
• Find a great reef, outside the marine reserve, and catch a fish
Glass Bottom Boat
The boat mainly runs over the summer months and infrequently over winter. Check the website for days it is operating. The tour covers some of the reefs including the famed North Reef with its masses of fish. Visitors can see snapper, silver drummer, red moki and schools of trevally and kahawai while staying dry. Other highlights are the caves on the seaward side of the island, gannets, penguins and the occasional dolphin or whale.
Boat Ramps & Wharves
Leigh Harbour has a concrete boat ramp for launching trailer boats up to 6m (except at low tide).
At Omaha there is a larger concrete boat ramp suitable for launching on all but the smallest spring low tides. Boats are launched into the sheltered Whangateau Harbour before motoring at 5 knots to the harbour entrance and out into Omaha Bay.
Whangateau has small boat ramps at Point Wells, Big Omaha next to the wharf (both all but low spring tides) and Whangateau Domain, near the Rodney Rams (top of tide).
Check the signs for the no-take marine reserves at Goat Island and Tawharanui by all boat ramps. Heavy fines can be handed out to anyone caught fishing in a marine reserve. Make sure you are aware of the fishing regulations that set limits for the numbers of fish you can take and the size limits. Dolphins and whales are common in the Hauraki Gulf but be aware of the regulations and don’t hassle them, sit back and enjoy them.
Matakana River Tours
The boat leaves from the Matakana Wharf on the opposite side of the Matakana roundabout to the township. It is dependent on the tide so check dates and times. A good commentary covers the history of the Matakana River as it cruises through the mangroves and farmland to the Sandspit basin. During the one-hour round trip many of the native trees and birds are seen with a highlight being the white spoonbills that nest near Sandspit.
Gulf Eco Adventures
Unforgettable Boat Trips To The Most Pristine & Remote Islands Of Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf.
Gulf Eco Adventures has been established to share a love of the Hauraki Gulf and its amazing scenery and ecology, and to educate people about conservation issues, threats to our environment, and how we can all live more environmentally responsibly. For more information and trip availability, check their website.
Boating Safety Tips
- Charts are a necessity to find the best fishing spots.
- Always check the weather before going out.
- Make sure your radio or cellphone is charged up and working.
- Check you have life jackets for all on your boat and use them if necessary.
- If travelling through one of the marine reserves remember there are large numbers of snorkellers and divers and slow speeds and extreme care are necessary.
- Tell someone where you are going.