The Goat Island Marine Reserve .. paradise for fish.
The Goat Island Marine Reserve .. paradise for fish.

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  Chris Kitson
Saturday, January 23, 2021
We came as strangers. We look to the sea as the sun goes down over the water. A lazy boat sails behind the island. Barbeques are busy as the kitchen comes to life with campers. Soon the camp fire will fly into the night. A guitar and drinks appear as the kids play spotlight. A long slow sigh as we remember this is what happiness tasts like.
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
We had a nice time staying in the A-frame cabin which has an extra sleeping area upstairs. The atmosphere was really enjoyable but did feel the place needed a bit of maintenance work to be done. The toilet and shower facilities could have been cleaner but there was plenty of hot water. 
Sunday, March 8, 2020
 Enjoyed the privilege of spending a year living in this campground. Fantastic location next to a protected reef full of fish to snorkel in and the friendly little town of leigh to grab supplies from and bite to eat at a highly recommendable eatery aptly named, Leigh Eats. The campground itself is in it's 3rd generation of family ownership and is well settled in with an atmosphere of appreciation for the land and wilderness it occupies.  It's charming, appropriately colorful, community inspiring with its large mess hall furnished with a loaded kitchen, lounging area, pool table, ping pong, board games and books. A large fire pit and barbeques are just outside.The premises is lovingly maintained and looked after by a combination of the family that lives there and any willing travellers looking for free or discounted accommodations.  Hope things are going good out there Tim and family! Living there was part of the one of a kind experience I had for my stay in new Zealand.
  Jane Smith
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
First we were greeted by a lovely lady who showed us our cabin. The kids and I went for a great snorkle then back to camp ground for lovely hot showers. I was able to sit down with a refreshing drink or 2 while the kids played in the fantastic play area for hours. Talk about relaxing. To top it off, the camp fire at night was amazing. I will be back and ill tell my friends too.
  Lucia Devoy
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Visited many camp sites but this one "takes the cake"!  Incredible views, relaxed owners Tim and Fi - so friendly and easy to deal with and extremely helpful - facilities very clean, real family atmosphere and take your pick on any site which has a magical view.  Peaceful and genuine campers out for a fun and happy time with/without family.  Also took our Golden Retriever - yes, they take dogs with responsible owners - he had a ball!  Highly recommended, will definitely be back for some chill time and a real country feel in the air.  10/10  - Hot water fab! Toilets Clean
  Megan J
Sunday, August 18, 2013
I have stayed here several times over the last 5 years and has always been an amazing experience. Magical spot, great facilities and love the nightly campfires.
  Karen and Glen Dravitzk and family
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
WOW!! What a great time we had staying for a weekend earlier this year. We booked 3 cabins and a caravan for our family of 7 Adults and 6  children. We packed all our snorkelling gear but never used it as the water was choppy and weedy without much vision that weekend. It didn't really matter. We had so much food, good wine and beer and marshmallows for the campfire at night. The place was packed with kids but never seemed crowded. I love that there weren't signs all over the place telling you the rules and what not to do. The place was very clean. We have booked 4 cabins again for next year and can't wait to go back. This time we have invited the rest of the family to come.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
WOW is all I can say- How camping used to be, and still should be, The camp ground was very "kiwi" and is located on the hill over looking Goat Island- and all of 5mins walk to the waters edge, What I LOVED was we where told to "pitch the tent where ever we wanted" which was fantastic- no being locked in to a certain little area., The factitlties were basic, but more than fine, it was part of the whole "humbleness", Snorkling equipment availble for hire...and the best thing, at nite a big fire pit is lit for people to sit around, and people just simply mingled, it was truely an amazing place!!!, Posted by Abs on Feb 9th, 2010 at 6:59 pm., Login or register to post comments, user login, Username or e-mail: *
  Camp News Gatherer
Sunday, August 21, 2011


Goat island

Avenue of pinesroosterGoat Island camp groundGoat Island Goat Island marine reserveCamp site receptionPakari BeachMatakana Farmers MarketView from our tentGoat Island rocksReflections in the streamPakari Beach

Goat Island BeachDAY ONE - Auckland to Goat Island
January 15, 2009

We try to reserve a campsite at Tawharanui, but it's fully booked. Pakari is our plan B. We know the campground and we're sure they'll manage to squeeze us in somewhere, but we want to be a little more adventurous. We want to try somewhere new.

Goat Island Camping looks promising from the outset. A tunnel of pines winds up from the entrance and opens out onto a terraced, grassy hillside surrounded by cow-dotted paddocks. Brightly coloured pennants flutter in the breeze. There are views in the dips of the hills that reach all the way to the Hen and Chicken Islands. A central communal kitchen/dining/children's playground area is demarkated by a pirates flag and edged by a wooden fence decorated with an array of snorkelling gear for hire. It's quirky in a hippyish sort of way. By the time we've found the reception and read the hand-painted notice about not letting Cyril the cattle dog follow us down to the beach, we've made up our minds. This is where we're going to stay.

There are no allocated, marked-out, numbered sites here. We're free to choose a quiet corner that backs onto the neighbouring farm to pitch our tent. Small trees provide light shade and the view is a delight. Having brushed up on our camping skills during our recent foray into the Kauaeranga Valley, we're happily set-up within half an hour.

Goat Island marine reserve is a leisurely ten-minute walk from our tent. Day visitors are having to park almost this far away. It's amazing how busy it gets in the middle of nowhere.

And paradoxically, the middle of nowhere is in the middle of everything. Pakari Beach is about 10 kms to the north by road and it's long white, sands stretching up the coast are clearly visible from Goat Island. The Sawmill Cafe and the picturesque village of Leigh are just a couple of kilometres in the opposite direction. A little further afield you find Omaha Beach and Tawharanui Regional Park dominated by the mysterious presence of the Little Barrier Island. Then there's Matakana and the surrounding vineyards if you're into wine, and Sandspit with it's access to Kawau Island if you're keen on history, and still there's more to discover. It's the perfect place to base yourself.

  Camp News Gatherer
Sunday, August 21, 2011
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At the Goat Island Camping

onsdag 9 februari 2011 Leigh, Nya Zeeland

The owners (Fiona and Tim) had told me that Fiona would drive their kids to their school in town in the morning and that I could go with them to get the lost bag. After a well needed good nights rest in a comfortable bed I went up early and left Steph sleeping. As it happened I couldn't go with them, but they said I could go in later at about lunch with Tim who had some business in town. I was happy as long as I didn't have to bike there and back on my partially recuperated but still pretty destroyed legs. I spent the morning walking around the beautiful site, talking to the people staying there and relaxing. Steph got up after a while, we had something to eat and did some more intense relaxing.

At around 1 pm Tim came by and picked me and Steph up and we headed to Leigh to the house from which we had received a call. No one was there so we went to check with the neighbours. After some confused conversation we understood that the bag and the passports were probably at the police station in Warkworth. Since Tim was going there he offered us to go with him. So we did.

When we got to Warkworth Tim was going to check out a motorbike for his eldest son so we agreed to meet at a restaurant at about 2 pm. We needed to go to the Police and also to get some cash out and buy some groceries. When we got to the tiny police station the one officer there recognized us immediately from our passports. He was very friendly and talkative. He gave us some good advice and no scolding as I had sort of expected. He had even emailed the Swedish consulate and informed them about the passports and promised to contact them and tell them everything had worked out fine. After the police we went to find an ATM since in NZ paying with credit cards seems to me a bit of an exception at smaller businesses. When we had the money we went to spend some of it at a supermarket. We got the usual tin cans, soda, chocolate, nachos and dip. We were running a bit late so we hurried to the rendezvous location. Tim was sitting there and was having a coffee and a cigarette - he smokes a lot. We sat down too and had a drink, he said we were in no hurry. Actually his kids would be finishing school soon so he asked if we wanted to check out the surroundings before we picked them up, That was a really nice offer so of course we agreed!

Tim showed us around Warkworth and then he drove us to see some huge old trees. They were tremendous and around 600 years old. Thats about three times longer than European trees had been present in New Zealand. There was also a small showcase of old "machinery" used to cut, traffic and process the timer of these huge trees. Apparently these trees were used to make boats and other things that need sturdy and high quality timber. Today the trees are protected and are only used if the trees are killed in a natural way. We saw one such tree that had fallen on the road because of erosion and Tim told us that everyone were watching it and wondering who would get to use the timber - the owner of the land where the tree grew or on the land of the owner where it had fallen. Drama! We took some nice pictures there and relaxed on a bench listening to the many different kinds of for us unknown birds.

After killing some time we went to get Tims kids. They were very cute with their bare feet and long hair, although a bit shy. While at the supermarket we had bought some huge bars of chocolate, wine and beer to give to Tim and Fiona and the guys who saved our bag. We had already given Tim three bars of chocolate and the 12 pack of beer (his own choice) and now we stopped by to hand over the wine and three more bars of chocolate to the others. Again they were not there, so we left them with the neighbours and headed back to the camping.

There we met Damiano who had been exploring the vicinity with his new Latvian friends - a young couple with an analog camera. We discussed with Damiano whether we should continue because he had some 80 kilometers left to reach the farm where he was going to stay and work. Me and Steph were leaning heavily into staying - the location was beautiful, Tim and Fiona were wonderful hosts and our bodies had taken lots of punishment. He decided to stay one more day and was going to leave after that. We continued with our busy schedule of relaxing, taking photos, talking to interesting people, eating and recovering.

When Damiano left we were very sad but also happy to have met yet one more wonderful person with whom we are sure we'll stay in touch and meet again. We are planing to introducing him to Davina and watch sparkles fly.. :D .. We stayed a few more days and had an excellent time. We talked a lot to a danish couple called Lone and Lars. She was allergic and very sensitive to lots of smells and things and still they managed to have a wonderful active traveling life. They were doing snorkeling and walking and biking and looked very happy and healthy. We also met a couple of moto-bikers from whom i got to borrow some tools with which I did some modding on my bikes seat and steering wheel. I also tried to fix Stephs breaks - wow, I've never seen breaks so worn out! You could literally see the shining metal sticking out of the rubber. One of the biker dudes had done a lot of mountain biking so he helped me turn the breaks around so she could use the other side. We decided to stop at the first bike repair shop and buy a new set of breaks.

In all we had a really nice and relaxing time. We went to the beach but didn't swim because the water was very cold. But we saw lots of birds and even fish. We saw lots of other animals like cows, sheep and donkeys. We had a cozy trailer and had met lots of nice people. We were very happy with our stay and were ready to get back to Auckland.


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Uppdaterad fredag 18 mars 2011